Ben Tate: The Good, The Bad, and The Unknown

It appears the Browns finally got their guy. Ben Tate has signed with the Cleveland Browns pending a physical according to Fox Sports Ohio. Tate is a big strong down hill runner who the Browns hope will bring some stability to the backfield that the team has been searching for since their return in 1999. The running back position has almost been as much of an enigma for the Browns as their continuous search for a franchise QB. Can Tate stop the revolving door at Running Back? Welcome to the Good the Bad and the Unknown of Ben Tate.

The Good:
Tate is a tough, down hill runner who does not shy away from contact. Tate’s style of running is perfect for the type of play and weather he will meet in Cleveland. Tate had a career high in receptions this past year and though he has not shown to be much of a pass catching back in his career, he seems to be adequate enough to become a nice check down option for whoever is manning the Browns QB position in 2014. Tate had a career high in touches in 2013, and performed well averaging over four yards per carry (avg. 4.7 YPC in his career). Tate, at only 25, has much less tread on his tires than most backs at his age, due to his time served as Arian Fosters’ primary backup the last three seasons. Ben Tate has a lot of upside and could be the Browns big get this off season.

The Bad.
Tate has not been able to stay on the field throughout his NFL career. The injury bug always seems to bite him never allowing Tate to display his full array of talents to the NFL. There is no question in terms of talent Tate is by far and away the best Running Back in this free agency class, but his durability has raised much deserved questions. Chris Wells comes to mind when thinking of Bent Tate.Tate and Wells have similar running styles, maybe Wells wasn’t as talented as Tate is, but Wells definitely had some potential and flashed it whenever he could stay healthy. We will never fully know what Chris Wells could have done in this league if it weren’t for injuries, and that may be a legitimate worry with Tate as well.

The Unknown:
Ben Tate will bring as many questions as answers when he arrives in Cleveland. His durability will be the biggest unknown. Tate will be expected to handle the lions share of the load as the primary back in Cleveland, something he has never done before in the NFL, will he be able to handle that kind workload? The last unknown that Tate brings is how his arrival will affect the draft. I see a lot of Ben Tate in Carlos Hyde, the only difference is is that Hyde has better hands than Tate. Will the Browns miss out on a opportunity to draft a younger version of Ben Tate without the injury history?

Conclusion:
Tate is the crown jewel of the Cleveland Browns off season so far. Tate’s injuries are a concern moving forward but the payoff could be huge for the Browns. Tate is a proven commodity in the NFL, in his limited time, which makes him a safer bet than Carlos Hyde. Tate’s signing would mark the first time that the Browns have picked up a starting Running Back in the prime of his career since their return. This is a very solid signing for the Cleveland Browns and shows the teams commitment to winning now. Ben Tate is worth the risk.

By
Matthew Suhadolnik

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