The “Undrafted” Title Hasn’t Defined Taylor Gabriel


Every successful team has a few players that make a huge difference without the national spotlight or recognition. On the Cavaliers, it’s scrappy point guard Matthew Dellavedova who is a lock down defender off the bench.  The Indians feature a boatload of young players such as Lonnie Chisenhall and Luis Ramirez that are definitely not household names but make an impact on a small-market baseball team. For the Browns, a standout this year has been undrafted wide receiver Taylor Gabriel out of Abilene Christian University.

Going into the season, most didn’t even know who Gabriel was. Moreover, that this no-name player would even make the team let alone end up making such a giant impact on a franchise so desperate for play makers, especially at the wide receiver position.

Back at ACU, Gabriel finished second in school history with 215 receptions, 3,027 yards and 27 touchdowns. Contrary to the popular belief held on draft night, he was a talent worth picking.

Luckily, the Browns snagged him via free agency.

In the preseason, Gabriel finished with 10 receptions for 128. The rookie (when he got his opportunity) always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Never trying to do too much or too little, but just doing his job like he’s supposed to.

His solid play earned him a spot on the roster.

Throughout the regular season Gabriel has continued to do much of the same.

In week three against Baltimore, he had a massive 70 yard catch that changed the entire game. The next week in Tennessee Gabriel was a part of the huge comeback on the road in Tennessee with 4 catches for 95 yards.

These past two weeks he’s had a combined 7 catches for 147 yards. This included an amazing play to score the go-ahead touchdown against the Tampa Bay Bucs en route to a 22-17 victory. Quarterback Brian Hoyer avoided pressure and rolled out to his left, he then lofted one somewhat across his body to the wide-open Gabriel waltzing to the end zone for the touchdown. Gabriel had the awareness to streak to the end zone, knowing that Hoyer would be able to get him the ball.

In total, he has 16 catches for 317 yards on the entire season.

No, his numbers aren’t mind-blowing. No, the plays he’s made aren’t superhuman. And no, he’s not the next Jerry Rice. However, there’s something special about a player like the undrafted Taylor Gabriel. He’s a part of the glue that binds a playoff-caliber football together, poised for success.

When he’s expected to make a play, you can count on my favorite player, Taylor Gabriel.

Go Browns!

-Zach Shafron

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