Cleveland Browns Skipping Receiver for Cameron Erving a Disappointment


With the 19th pick in the 2015 draft the Cleveland Browns selected … Breshad Perriman? Dorial Green-Beckham? Any wide receiver, or maybe a tight end? Any offensive weapon that could replace Josh Gordon or Jordan Cameron?

Not so fast.

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With the 19th pick, the Browns selected Cameron Erving, a center who can play all five offensive line positions. This is something of a confusing selection since the Browns already have an excellent center in Alex Mack and no clear number one receiver.

The Browns are making a statement that they might be following the Dallas Cowboys 2014 recipe for success – build up your offensive line and don’t care about who is going to run behind it. And with so many questions at quarterback, the Browns will be relying on a good o-line and strong, pounding running game for success this year.

These strike me as calculated moves for long-term investment. Mack is in the last year of his contract and Erving is good insurance to learn his craft for a year and be ready to plug in if Mack doesn’t return. His flexibility makes him useful now – the Browns could use some help at right tackle.

But, as much as I can extrapolate where this pick fits into the larger plan, I can’t help but be disappointed.

The pick of Danny Shelton at 12 overall was a great need fit. The Browns were literally the worst team in the league at stopping the run in 2014. But the offensive line wasn’t a glaring need. A long term answer at wide receiver is.

Nov 29, 2014; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles offensive tackle Cameron Erving (75) holds a gator head in the air after defeating against the Florida Gators 24-19 at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Focusing on the positive, Erving was a top performer in multiple categories – bench press, broad jump and the cone drills. He has extensive experience at left tackle which is also great insurance if something were to happen to Joe Thomas, although he’s not a standout at the position like Joe is. He has great hands for both the snap and on the defender, a very important quality for a center.

But Erving is also a play who wasn’t predicted in most mock drafts to hit the stage until the second round. With Breshad Perriman still in the green room this feels like a stretch. It’s entirely likely Erving would have been available on Friday.

So what is the plan with wide receiver? A repeat of 2014 where Andrew Hawkins tried to overcome motley quarterback play and Miles Austin-type replacements Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline fend off age and injury risk to the tune of 2 touchdowns between them?

All the while hoping that Josh Gordon gets off suspension early and can do better than he did last year when he reappeared in game 10 and was out of shape and unfocused? The accumulated time off isn’t doing anything to help Gordon stay in his 2013 yards leader mentality.

And between the “new” logo and uniforms it seems like the organization is trying to inject some excitement into a fan base left flat by the failures of Johnny Manziel. A wide receiver would have been far more exciting and invigorating than Erving. There’s still time to grab someone in later rounds but it won’t be as sure as the top four receiver options in the first round were.

At least Erving shouldn’t be a Trent Richardson-esque bust.

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