2014 NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns Should Consider RB Isaiah Crowell in Middle of Draft

Updated: April 8, 2014

With 10 picks in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns are one of the teams being talked about the most. However, people are mostly concerned with their two first round picks and their second round pick and not focusing on the damage they can do in the mid-to-late rounds with the depth of this class.

Running back for the Browns will be addressed in the draft, but with the signing of Ben Tate the need to draft one in the early rounds will not be necessary. Mid-to-late round running backs have seemed to make names for themselves over the past few years, and it just so happens that is when the Browns could be looking to add another back to their stable.

Names like Zac Stacey (5th Round), Alfred Morris (6th Round), Jamaal Charles (3rd Round) and Ahmad Bradshaw (7th Round) were taken outside of the first two rounds. Obviously these are just a few, but there have been plenty of impactful running backs taken outside of the first two rounds.

This draft there is one name that has the potential to be a great flier pick for the Browns. Isaiah Crowell, the running back from Alabama State, is a name to remember. Crowell was considered the top running back recruit in the country out of high school and made his selection to attend the University of Georgia by bringing out a Bulldog puppy at his press conference.

Seeing some action his freshman season, he played very well by seizing every opportunity given to him. Unfortunately, in June of 2012 Crowell was arrested on a felony weapons charge. The charges were later dropped, but not before he was dismissed from Georgia. Crowell ended up at Alabama State where he rushed for 15 touchdowns in 11 games in 2012. He then played well again in 2013 rushing for 15 touchdowns again.

He was a two-time First-Team ALL-SWAC selection during his time at Alabama State. The rundown on Crowell is that he is a strong back at 5’11” and 224 pounds. He has a nice burst to the edge, but overall his speed is not too impressive with a 4.57 40-yard dash.

Crowell has good vision, and likes to hit the hole hard. An issue with Crowell is clearly his attitude, with his past legal troubles. His immaturity will be a concern to teams, and questions on how coachable he is will be raised as well.

So far after getting caught up in trouble during his earlier years of college, he has cleaned up his act. Crowell stayed out of the spotlight, which might have been the best thing for him. Hopefully for him, he had his growing up moment, where something clicked for him to push himself to make the best of his future in football.

Crowell is graded as a 6th or 7th-round pick, but he is definitely the type of player that can be taken in the 4th or 5th round depending on where the team has him ranked.

Dion Lewis, Fozzy Whittaker and Edwin Baker will compete to be Tate’s primary backup as current in-house options. New offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, could get creative with Lewis with his shiftiness and receiving skills. Not to mention, Baker came on strong at the end of the season to give the running game some life.

Even with both of these things in mind, Shanahan did wonders with Morris who was a 6th-round pick, and he also had Steve Slaton rush for over 1,000 yards under him. Crowell could end up being Shanahan’s next “project running back” to catch his eye in the draft and do big things.

With Tate’s history of injury, the Browns will need to have depth at running back and Crowell could provide just that with a very small price tag.

If Crowell can commit to himself and his future, he can definitely make an impact for a team. The Browns are almost certain to draft another running back to come in and compete, and Crowell is a guy that Shanahan can put in a position to have an impact on the running game behind Tate.

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