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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Browns add some more depth with signings of Owens, Davis

2013_03_browns_chris_owensThe Cleveland Browns added two players in free agency on Friday, signing tight end Kellen Davis and cornerback Chris Owens.

Both players reportedly signed one-year deals and both add depth at areas where the Browns can use it.

Davis, who is 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds, started for Chicago the past two years and has spent his entire NFL career with the Bears after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 draft out of Michigan State. He was released after the Bears signed Martellus Bennett.

He had career “highs” in 2012 with 19 catches for 229 yards and two touchdowns. He had eight drops on just 44 attempts – or one fewer than wide receiver Greg Little, who was targeted 87 times.

Pro Football Focus ranked Davis 58th (out of 62 tight ends) in all-around performance in 2012, but he did rank higher as a pass blocker, coming in at No. 26, which is higher than the rankings for Ben Watson, Alex Smith and Jordon Cameron, the Browns tight ends from last season. Davis also gave up just two sacks.

Davis certainly doesn’t look to be a player that can replace Watson’s production – the former starter who averaged 51 receptions a year in his three years in Cleveland – but he should be a decent replacement as a blocker for Alex Smith, who the Browns don’t seem interested in bringing back.

“Kellen has played a lot in this league and has starting experience,” coach Rob Chudzinski said on the team’s website. “His size and strength give him the ability to be a good blocker. He is a big guy who can run and provides a big target. We feel like he has a chance to help us at the tight end position.”

As for Owens, a third-round pick out of San Jose State in 2009, he opened the 2012 season as Atlanta’s nickel back but was eventually dropped to the team’s dime back role. He played 176 snaps for the Falcons last season and Pro Football Focus gave him a rating of +4.9 (by comparison, Sheldon Brown earned a +7.5 rating on 903 snaps).

Owens played in 13 games in 2012, registering 17 tackles and four passes defensed for an Atlanta team that gave up the fewest touchdown passes – 14 – in the NFL.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, while Owens is not a “barnstorming All-Pro, (he is an) excellent role player that adds depth and versatility to a team.”

And the Grits Blitz blog writes that 2012 was Owens best year and targeted him as a player the team should keep. So he has that going for him, which is nice.

Owens, who is 5-foot-9, gives the Browns three cornerbacks under six-feet-tall, as he joins Joe Haden (5-foot-11) and Buster Skrine (5-foot-9). Make of that what you will.

“Chris is an experienced cornerback who has played both inside and outside,” Chudzinski said. “He is very athletic with good movement skills. He is a tough, hard-nosed competitor – attributes which we are looking for in all of our players.”

It’s hard to get worked up either way about these signings. Davis and Owens are depth signings and, as they are working on one-year deals, if things don’t work out the Browns haven’t lost much in the deal.

Plus their signings don’t mean the Browns won’t still look to the draft to help fill out the corner back and tight end positions.

(Photo courtesy of The Times-Picayune)

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3 thoughts on “Browns add some more depth with signings of Owens, Davis

  1. is not crap depth still crap?

    • that reads more terse than i intended because sent from mobile. but if we’re not upgrading over alex smith and sheldon brown; why not re-sign these vets who have been good soldiers last couple years.

      i tire of the ‘it’s a business’ routine. there’s room in business for some decency, some reward for past good service. i think that sort of treatment of employees always has a beneficial effect on the organization.

  2. tmoore94 on said:

    I don’t disagree, necessarily, although I suppose the argument could be made that both Davis and Owens are younger than the players they are replacing. Smith and Brown were not going to be getting any better and, in Brown’s case, his decline may accelerate now that he is 35.

    The new model seems to be, unless you are really good, once you hit the other side of 30 you better start looking out. Banner also got rid of Brown in Philly so it was probably only a matter of time until he did the same here.

    It will be interesting to see how the new regime rewards loyalty. Smith and Brown gave good service to the old regime; we’ll see if things change for the guys that the new regime brings in.

    I could probably get more worked up if these guys were brought in for more than one year.

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