The Cleveland Browns came into training camp with a crowded backfield, and they trimmed off the fat earlier today by releasing Dion Lewis. It was a tough cut, but the Browns had to make a tough decision at the running back position, as they were four-deep with Ben Tate, Terrance West, Isaiah Crowell, and Lewis competing for spots (Tate and West were locks in competition for the feature back role, which Tate unsurprisingly won). Now, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer confirms that the Browns have kept undrafted free agent RB Isaiah Crowell on their 53-man roster.
Crowell’s spot became a lock when Lewis was released, because he was competing with the former Pittsburgh Panthers star for a roster spot. While Lewis is talented and is a nice change-of-pace back, Crowell likely sealed his roster spot when he went off for 102 yards and a touchdown on just 13 carries in the team’s final preseason game. There’s no denying the former blue-chip recruit’s talent, as he could have been a superstar for the Georgia Bulldogs had he not been arrested before the 2012 college football season.
We’ll see how many carries Crowell gets for the Browns, and it’s safe to say that he wouldn’t have made it to the practice squad if the Browns decided to keep Lewis and waive Crowell. He’s a superior pure rusher to Lewis, and he has a massive amount of talent. The fact that Tate and West can catch passes diminished the need for a pass-catching back, so Crowell got the nod after that huge performance.