The Cleveland Browns’ signing of superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson is indicative of the fact that the franchise is seeking a franchise quarterback, a quality that failed to make itself known with Baker Mayfield at the helm. The Browns’ failure to make the postseason last year, boasting a record of 8-9, was a season plagued by injury and the most notable name is Baker himself.
While this is no disrespect to Baker Mayfield, his desire to play through injury and show some competitive fire ultimately couldn’t galvanize the team. Furthermore, while Baker has shown flashes of being a great quarterback, his injury status along with the acquisition of Deshaun Watson and the upcoming draft, his future with the Browns remains in question. Furthermore, the Browns also acquired wide receiver Amari Cooper in a deal with the Dallas Cowboys.
That said, the wide receiver core remains a necessary place of improvement for the Browns organization, especially when a QB like Deshaun Watson is slinging it to you. The most significant way the Browns stand to improve their squad is through the approaching NFL draft. The Browns have one pick in the 6th round and two in the 7th. What’s really going to matter with these late picks, is if the Browns front office can essentially find a diamond in the rough so to speak. Ideally a good receiver or back that has fallen to the later rounds but showed promise and good fundamentals on the field in college. Zaquandre White is just who the Browns should utilize with their 202nd pick. He had a breakout season in 2021 at South Carolina and is an outstanding running back as well as a receiving one. In 2021, White had 583 yards on just 88 attempts which earned him two rushing touchdowns. To go along with that, White had 19 receptions for 202 yards and three receiving touchdowns in his final year at South Carolina.
While Nick Chubb is a great starting back, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Browns replace backup Kareem Hunt if they end up drafting Zaquandre White. Not only does this give the offense a youthful injection, but White also provides a safety valve as a receiving back if Amari Cooper is in a slump. At his pro-day workouts, White posted a 4.6 40 [yard dash] as well as a 36-inch vertical. While he’s an explosive running back, known for sharp jukes and an electrifying style, he’s been prone to criticism surrounding his ball security due to the fact that he can often get off the run track and won’t follow running lanes all the way through. While the running back spot isn’t necessarily a focal point of the Browns’ needs going into the first day of the draft, they may find themselves drafting a great player that has fallen to the 6th round. After all, Tom Brady was drafted number 199 in the 6th round and look how that turned out. While I’m not guaranteeing that level of success with a possible 6th-round running back pick, Browns fans can hope that he turns out to be the next Emmitt Smith or Barry Sanders.