Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Browns trade backup linebacker for backup running back

browns dion lewisThe Cleveland Browns were up to business again on Thursday, trading second-year linebacker Emmanuel Acho to Philadelphia for third-year running back Dion Lewis.

Funny, we thought that Browns CEO Joe Banner was the “arch-nemesis” of the Eagles. Interesting that they would be willing trading partners if that were true.

It’s not hard to figure out why Philadelphia would be a landing spot for Acho, a sixth-round pick in 2012 from the University of Texas. Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis was Acho’s position coach last year in Cleveland, while offensive coordinator Pat Shumur was Acho’s head coach for the Browns.

Acho will reportedly compete for a backup inside linebacker job with the Eagles after missing all of last season with a meniscus tear that landed him on injured reserve.

It’s less clear why the Browns were willing to trade for Lewis, who the Eagles reportedly were planning to release as he sat fourth on coach Chip Kelly’s depth chart.

Lewis, a fifth-round selection in 2011 out of Pittsburgh, will likely occupy the same spot on the Browns depth chart, with Trent Richardson, Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya ahead of him.

Lewis played 24 games with the Eagles, rushing 36 times for 171 yards and two touchdowns. He doesn’t seem to be much of a pass catcher, as he only has three career receptions for 21 yards.

He also returned kicks for the Eagles as a rookie, but was just OK at that as he averaged just 21.6 yards per return. By comparison, Josh Cribbs averaged 27.4 yards last season for the Browns.

Coming out of Pitt, Lewis’ strengths were that he “possesses great feet and quickness. Makes defenders miss behind the line and in the hole. Displays outstanding elusiveness in the open field. Has enough speed to get the edge. Does a good job setting up his blockers. Breaks some tackles despite lack of size. Durable.

On the downside, he is a player who “Lacks power and bulk. Won’t push the pile. Will dance too much in space at times. Quicker than fast and lacks true home run speed for the next level. Puts the football on the ground a little too often. Struggles in pass protection where technique and effort are inconsistent.”

“Dion is a back who runs with very good quickness and vision,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said (he must have read the same draft profile). “He is a promising young player who will add depth, which is extremely important at that position.”

It’s hard to get worked up either way about this trade. The Browns traded Acho – a special teams player who would have been one of the last players on the roster – for a Lewis – a special teams player who will be one of the last players on the roster.

Thank goodness the draft is just two weeks away.

(Photo by USA Today)

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