A lot of the talk recently has been about how bad the middle of the Browns’ defensive line has been. I’d agree with this as it appears 2nd-year man Larry Ogunjobi is out in front in the race for a starting spot there. After him, we have Trevon Coley and Jamie Meder who are, well, average. I’ve been championing the other 2nd-year man Caleb Brantley in the hope that he’ll step up with Ogunjobi, but that really doesn’t appear to be happening right now.
Many people have been calling for the Browns to bring in probably the best/most well-known DT still available in the free agency market, Johnathan Hankins. Hankins is rated as a run-stuffer who plays best lined up straight over the centre or from the 1-tech. As far as I was aware, the run-stopping role is also what Larry is renowned for but he would also appear to be the Browns’ best 3-tech player and so lines up there. It looks like he’s set to play there and Coley and/or Meder eat the blocks and stuff the centre running lanes.
That is my understanding of the interior of the 4-man defensive line these days so I’m not sure why Hankins has left Cleveland after his workout without a contract. There are two things I can guess at and they are, money and Greg Williams. I get the impression Hankins wants paying a lot of dollar to play again and maybe the Browns either genuinely don’t want to pay him what he wants or are playing the long game. Since his release from the Indianapolis Colts following the 2017 season, I haven’t heard much about him getting lots of calls to go try out for teams.
I also feel that DC Greg Williams rather likes his DL to get after the QB. I’ve noticed that on obvious passing downs, the Browns have been playing Carl Nassib inside of Ogbah as he’s good at getting his hands up and blocking passes at the line, but maybe he also wants a more athletic big guy in the middle like Ogunjobi on 1st and 2nd down as well?
Whatever the reason for Hankins not getting a contract after his workout, I trust Dorsey and co. As usual, those of us on the outside looking in don’t see the whole picture but I imagine money and scheme were the reasons.
At the same workout as the one Hankins was at was an undrafted free agent called Blaine Woodson, and this is the guy the Cleveland Browns decided to sign instead of the veteran Hankins.
A quick search about the guy shows that he’s athletic and doesn’t stop chasing players down until the play is done. He’s recorded at around 6’2″, 290lbs and went to Delaware University. He’s also down as both a DE and DT and a watch of some tape shows that he’s good at all positions along the DL. He’s also been on the San Francisco 49ers roster before now after signing there as an undrafted free agent. They waived him on July 26th, 2018.
I like the look of his play but is he a little undersized to play in the middle of the DL at the next level? Just from watching that YouTube film, I like his moves to get into the backfield and his motor and willingness to keep pursuing the ball carrier to make the play.
I also like his confidence in himself as he likens himself to the great Aaron Donald of the LA Rams. If he can become part of what Donald is, I’d like to keep him around in Cleveland.
I hope we get to see this guy play for the Browns during the preseason but I also would like to see a little more of Zaycoven Henderson in the middle of the line. He’s touted as being a decent 3-tech guy with off-the-field issues. This is what preseason is all about, and with the current woes in the middle of that DL, I look forward to seeing more of these young guys play in the next few games.