Cleveland Browns Undrafted Free Agents: Need-to-Know Info for Every Signee
Though the draft part of the 2014 NFL draft may be over, the Cleveland Browns still have work to do. That is because every year, as soon as the final pick is made (actually before) every team starts calling up undrafted free agents, hoping to sign them.
Cleveland has already had an exciting weekend, of course. The team made five trades in total, drafting six players and acquiring three 2015 draft picks, including a first-round selection courtesy of the Buffalo Bills.
The main highlight was obviously Johnny Manziel. The Browns traded up for the former Heisman winner in the first round, adding one of the world's most famous football players. Manziel has stolen plenty of headlines already, and that won't change any time soon.
There was scarcely a position the Browns didn't address with a pick. They drafted a quarterback, running back, offensive lineman, linebacker and cornerback. One of the spots Cleveland did not upgrade upon, however, was wide receiver, one of the team's biggest needs, especially in light of a reported upcoming Josh Gordon suspension.
This was already a big weekend for the Browns. But it isn't over yet, as the team now looks to those who weren't picked.
Willie Snead, WR, Ball State
Per reports including The Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot, the Browns have signed Ball State wide receiver Willie Snead. At 5’11”, 195 pounds, Snead is undersized.
However, the junior is a smooth route-runner with consistent, natural hands. Unfortunately, Snead isn’t especially fast or explosive and could struggle to get open in the NFL. Small and slow is a bad combination.
Anthony Dima, OL, Massachusetts
Cleveland has signed Massachusetts offensive lineman Anthony Dima, according to Bob McGovern of the Boston Herald. The 6’6”, 290-pounder has a big frame but isn’t overly athletic.
Dima struggles to play in space and has a tendency to lean, resulting in him playing from the ground too often. Dima is a strong player, however, and could kick inside to guard, where his struggles in space aren’t as important.
Ray Agnew, FB, Southern Illinois
Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun reported that the Browns signed fullback Ray Agnew.
Weighing in at 5’10”, 247 pounds, Agnew is short and stout. However, he is also a decent athlete for a fullback. The Southern Illinois product ran a 4.75-second 40-yard dash at his pro day, also recording a 32.5” vertical leap.
He is the son of Ray Agnew, who played 11 seasons in the NFL as a defensive tackle.
Chandler Jones, WR, San Jose State
The Browns reportedly signed another wide receiver, according to Cabot. Chandler Jones projects as a slot receiver, as he measures in at just 5’9”, 183 pounds. However, he is fast and quick, evidenced by his 4.34 40-yard dash at his pro day.
Jones has good, soft hands and excellent concentration. With time, he could develop into a capable target underneath, though he will probably never be much of a deep threat.
Regardless, this is a signing that has some potential at a position of need for Cleveland.
Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
Apparently, Cleveland wanted another undersized mobile quarterback because the team signed Connor Shaw, according to Cabot. The South Carolina product weighs in at 6’0”, 206 pounds and ran a 4.66 in the 40-yard dash.
Shaw doesn’t have a rocket arm, and he played in a one-read offense. However, he is a great athlete by quarterback standards and can throw well enough on short and intermediate routes.
Shaw could develop into a possible backup for Johnny Manziel, as he fits the same profile.
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama State
The 5'11", 225-pounder is surprisingly fast and agile for his size. He is as powerful as his size would suggest, and his vision is excellent. Josh Norris ranked Crowell as the 70th player in the draft, just behind Carlos Hyde.
Crowell isn't much of a receiver, and he's had injury problems to go with his off-the-field issues, but this is a high-upside signing for Cleveland. Don't be surprised if he makes the team and plays as a rookie.
Calvin Barnett, DT, Oklahoma State
According to DraftBrowns.com, the Browns have also added defensive lineman Calvin Barnett. The 6’2”, 317-pounder would probably play defensive end in Cleveland’s 3-4 scheme, though his size suggests nose tackle.
A penetrating defensive tackle, Barnett had 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks in 2013. Cleveland already has great depth along the defensive line, so Barnett is a long shot to make the team.
Carlo Calabrese, LB, Notre Dame
Cleveland reportedly signed Notre Dame linebacker Carlo Calabrese, also according to DraftBrowns.com. At 6’1”, 236 pounds, Calabrese has decent size but is athletically limited. He ran just a 4.91 40-yard dash at Notre Dame’s pro day.
It is difficult to imagine a linebacker this slow making the team, especially given Mike Pettine’s demand for coverage linebackers. However, it is always possible that Calbrese impresses on special teams or other aspects of the game.
Blake Jackson, TE, Oklahoma State
Jackson is capable of moving around the field, even splitting out wide. He isn’t a strong enough blocker to play in line, however, and he may not be athletic enough to pose a real mismatch problem.
Jacques Washington, S, Iowa State
Washington had 119 tackles, including five for a loss, and two interceptions in 2013, demonstrating his impact for the Iowa State defense.
Alex Bazzie, LB, Marshall
The Browns invited Alex Bazzie to rookie camp, according to his representation. The 6’1”, 244-pounder has 66 tackles and two sacks in 2013 after recording 80 tackles the year before.
Bazzie clearly has good size for an inside linebacker, but the Marshall product is nothing special athletically. He ran a 4.87 40-yard dash at his pro day.
Christo Lisika, LB, Southern Nazarene University
Cleveland has also reportedly signed Christo Lisika, according to NEPatriotsDraft.com. The 6’1”, 235-pound linebacker is a decent athlete, as his 4.73 40-yard-dash time suggests. Clearly, Lisika comes from a small school, so it is possible that he simply flew under the radar.
With good size and athleticism, Lisika could have some potential. Lisika was productive in 2013, putting up 62 tackles and 18 tackles for loss.
Robert Nelson, DB, Arizona State
Per reports including a tweet from Doug Haller of AZCentral.com, the Browns signed defensive back Robert Nelson. At just 5’10”, 175 pounds, Nelson is undersized but athletic. The Arizona State product ran a 4.46 in the 40 at his pro day and jumped 36” in the vertical leap.
The clear issue with Nelson is his size, and it is difficult for anyone that small to see playing time. It is possible, though, that Nelson could find a niche and become a situational player.
Nickoe Whitley, FS, Mississippi State
Cleveland reached an agreement with Nickoe Whitley, according to Bill Martin, the assistant athletic director for media relations at Mississippi State. The 6’0”, 205-pound safety tore his ACL in September, so he missed out on much of the draft process.
Whitley has good size and terrific ball skills to go with it. He is excellent at reading the quarterback’s eyes as well, and all of this led to 15 career interceptions.
However, Whitley isn’t a great athlete, and he has just okay speed. Whitley isn’t a consistent tackler either, and he’s probably limited to playing back in coverage, where his lack of athleticism will hurt him.
Jason Hendricks, SS, Pittsburgh
Per his agent, Jason Hendricks has reached an agreement with the Browns. A 5’11”, 182-pound safety, Hendricks is quite small and athletically limited. At his pro day, Hendricks ran a 4.81 in the 40-yard dash.
That is a horrible time for a safety, especially one so small. It is difficult to imagine much of a future here.
Greg Blair, LB, Cincinati
Cincinnati Enquirer sports reporter Tom Groeschen reported that Greg Blair has agreed to terms with Cleveland. The 6’1”, 244-pounder is a big linebacker with limited athletic ability. The Cincinnati product ran just a 4.85 at his pro day.
Blair racked up 106 tackles in 2013, seven of them for loss. Additionally, he broke up three passes and had one sack on the year.
Corey Robinson, QB, Troy
Corey Robinson agreed to a contract with the Browns, according to multiple reports including WPSD TV. The 6’0”, 208-pound quarterback isn’t as athletic as many of the passers Cleveland has brought in, which is clearly shown by his minus-111 rushing yards in 2013.
Robinson did pass for over 3,000 yards, though, completing 67.7 percent of his passes. He threw for 81 touchdowns during his career at Troy compared to 48 interceptions, though the ratio improved to 20 and nine as a senior.
Gerald Ford, WR, Valdosta State
Gerald Ford (no, not the president) and the Browns reached an agreement after the draft, according to alma mater Valdosta State. At 6’3”, 223 pounds, Ford is a big wide receiver with decent athletic ability.
At his pro day, Ford ran the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds while also putting up 22 reps of 225 pounds. Clearly, Ford isn't just a big wide receiver—he can move a little bit too. In 2012, Ford caught 69 passes for 1026 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Taylor Gabriel, WR, Abilene Christian
Taylor Gabriel is heading to Cleveland, according to Abilene Christian head coach Ken Collums. The 5’8”, 167-pound wide receiver is tiny but fast. At his pro day, Gabriel ran a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash while also recording a 40” vertical leap.
In 2013, Gabriel caught 73 passes for 1060 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Abilene Christian product was obviously productive in his final college season, but his size might hold him back in the NFL.
Antonio Gillespie, DT, Troy
Antonio Gillespie's alma mater, Troy, announced he's heading to the Browns. The defensive tackle measures in at 6’1”, 297 pounds. In 2013, Gillespie picked up 20 tackles, four sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss.
Gillespie has shown some ability to penetrate and would likely play defensive end in the Browns’ 3-4 scheme. It will be difficult to crack the roster, though, as Cleveland has a talented defensive line.
Michael Philipp, OT, Oregon State
The Browns agreed to terms with Michael Philipp, according to his agent. The 6’4”, 316-pounder started 48 games at left tackle for Oregon State, including 26 in a row.
At his pro day, Philipp ran an unimpressive 5.34 in the 40-yard dash while also putting up just 19 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press.
Jonathan Krause, WR, Vanderbilt
Jonathan Krause signed with Cleveland, according to Anchor of Gold. The 5’11”, 187-pounder is small but fast, and he ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at Vanderbilt’s pro day. Additionally, Krause jumped 37.5” in the vertical leap.
Krause’s production playing opposite Jordan Matthews in 2013 was solid, catching 42 passes for 714 yards. This type of size, speed and production is appealing in an undrafted free agent, and Krause could be someone to watch.
K'Waun Williams, CB, Pittsburgh
K’Waun Williams agreed to a deal with the Browns, according to his alma mater, Pitt. The 5’9”, 183-pounder started every game at cornerback in 2013, leading the team with seven passes broken up. Williams also had two interceptions.
At his pro day, Williams performed well, turning in a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash and a 36” vertical leap. He is undersized, but Williams is an athletic player.
Randall Harris, OT, Towson
According to Jason La Canfora, Cleveland invited Randall Harris to camp. Weighing in at just 6'3", 296 pounds, Harris is likely a guard at the next level.
At his pro day, Harris ran a 5.24 in the 40-yard dash and put up 25 reps of 225 pounds. Clearly, Harris is coming from a small school, and the odds will be stacked against him making the team.
Darwin Cook, S, West Virginia
According to the Cleveland Browns' Twitter account, Cleveland signed safety Darwin Cook to a contract. The 5'11", 194-pounder is a good athlete, evidenced by his 4.49 40-yard dash time and 35.5" vertical leap.
In 2013, Cook put up strong numbers, recording 74 tackles while also grabbing four interceptions. Cook had an impressive 243 tackles throughout his career, as he was a three-year starter.