Q: What is Tyrod Taylor’s ceiling as a passer, and is this Browns receiving corps better than any he had in Buffalo?
A: An interesting question about Taylor’s ceiling. I don’t believe he’ll ever be considered an elite quarterback, so I think his ceiling is about top 15 among NFL passers. That doesn’t mean he can’t be extremely successful. He led the Bills to the playoffs last year and threw only 16 interceptions in three years as their starter.
From a numbers standpoint, I think Taylor would peak at 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns. His career bests are 3,035 and 20, so that’s leaving a lot of room for improvement from experience and being surrounded by better talent.
I certainly do believe Cleveland’s wideouts surpass anything he had with the Bills. Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods were his best receivers in Buffalo, and I’d take Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry over both.
Q: When are draft picks Denzel Ward and Baker Mayfield going to sign?
A: I know awhile back I told you to stop worrying. You can start.
But only a little.
The clock is ticking for the first-round picks to sign before the first practice of training camp Thursday. Obviously the negotiations are going down to the wire, but I still expect Ward and Mayfield to be on the field when scheduled.
Under the latest collective bargaining agreement, rookie contracts are slotted, so there isn’t too much for the team and agent to fight over. The sticking point is usually an offset clause, which shouldn’t keep either side from compromising.
Denver’s Bradley Chubb, the No. 5 pick, signed last month, which should clear the way for the top four to reach agreements, as the Browns’ pair, Giants running back Saquon Barkley (No. 2) and Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (No. 3) remain unsigned.
Q: I’ve been a fan of the Browns since back in the early ’50s and remember watching on Channel 4 Buffalo all the Browns games in those days. Going to Sunday Mass and rushing home to eat dinner and sit down and watch my team do nothing but win football games thanks to Paul Brown and a great crew of coaches and talent scouts.
I don’t think Hue Jackson is going to survive the year if he makes any really stupid moves. I think he’s on a tight leash and as I like what I read about the man … I hope he proves me wrong. What are your true feelings?
— Neil Savoy
A: I know a lot of fans long for the glory days of Paul Brown, who would probably cringe at being mentioned in the same couple of paragraphs as Jackson.
Jackson has undergone the worst stretch for a coach in NFL history, going 1-31 in his two years. If that doesn’t earn him a spot on the hot seat, I don’t know what would. So Jackson must avoid a few things to remain employed, beginning with a stupid mistake and including another terrible start.
If the Browns go 0-4, 1-5 or something similar, the drumbeat for Jackson’s dismissal will reach deafening levels and I doubt owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam would be able to ignore it. I remain surprised he wasn’t fired after the Haslams made the move to replace Sashi Brown with general manager John Dorsey.
Jackson has been fine to deal with despite the losing and I admire his foundation’s work to fight human trafficking.
Q: Eli Rogers will have a visit with the Browns. Any chance he signs with the Browns?
@MarkCor28 also wanted to know if Cleveland’s interest in Rogers had anything to do with Josh Gordon’s future.
— Justin Nalley
A: According to reports, the Browns are one of the teams scheduled to work out Rogers, who’s recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He had 66 catches in two years with the Steelers.
If a workout is scheduled, then a deal shouldn’t be ruled out. Obviously both sides have some level of interest. But the Browns need to be convinced the knee is healing properly, and Rogers must believe he has a chance to stick on the roster.
As for the Gordon connection, I wouldn’t read too much into it. Relying on Gordon’s eligibility and availability is always dangerous, and the organization should have a contingency plan, but Rogers doesn’t qualify as a replacement. Rogers would be a depth signing, because even with Gordon, the bottom of the receivers group is unsettled.
Q: Will RB Matthew Dayes have eligibility for the practice squad?
— Ken Douglas
A: Yes. Teams are now permitted to keep a limited number of players with NFL experience, so Dayes can be placed on the practice squad despite appearing in all 16 games last year as a rookie.
The question is relevant because it looks like there will be no room for him on the 53-man active roster. Duke Johnson, rookie Nick Chubb and Carlos Hyde are locks for the three running backs usually kept.
In order for Dayes to be placed on the practice squad, he would have to clear waivers after being cut.
Q: Do you imagine there may ever come the day when the NFL and NCAA conspire with agencies such as the American Medical Association to impose weight limits on participating players, in the interest of both safety and long-term health? Imagine the millions of erstwhile interior lineman who’ve battled health issues stemming largely from the insistence of former coaches who encouraged them to become far heavier than they should’ve become, merely because it was thought advisable. Needless to say, most of these never saw a minute of major college football, much less pro. What is more, the modern game is more about speed, quickness, space, passing and lateral agility — qualities which do not sync with artificially inflated weights. Moreover, when the sport exploded in popularity, guys were rarely more than 270, which is about as huge as any human should need to become. What is suggested here is long overdue and unconscionably so, further evidence the athletes are merely used so long as they have function, cast aside without regard to how they will cope from that moment forward.
— Mark Leonard
A: You’re always making me think.
The quick answer is no, because if that change was coming, it would’ve happened by now.
However, I get your point and think any possibility for such a drastic change is the recent focus on player safety. If the pro and college games change significantly in an attempt to reduce concussions and injuries overall, you could see the size of linemen included.
I agree with your overall point about the weight but think each player generally finds the one that’s best for his performance — at least at the NFL level. Joe Thomas did it the right way. He played slimmer than most linemen, then dropped a ton of weight as soon as he was done playing. Unfortunately, a lot of the linemen can’t lose the weight they’ve carried around for years.
And I do agree at the youth and high school levels coaches should not ask the kids to add unnecessary weight.