The Brown bolstered their roster this evening as reports of the signings of
FB Terrelle Smith and DE Ebenezer Ekuban appeared in
a story by the Associated Press.
Both players had toured Berea last week and were believed to be of high
interest to the Browns, as both fit specific team needs.
FINALLY, A FULLBACK: Terrelle Smith only does one thing, but he does
it very, very well: block.
In college and in the pros, Smith has blocked for a string of successful
runners. He blocked for J.R. Redmond at Arizona State after converting from
linebacker, and helped Redmond to some very good seasons in the Pac-10. At New
Orleans, Smith has been a criticial component of a Saints running attack that
has had four consecutive 1,000 yard seasons.
Prior to Smith arriving in New Orleans, the Saints had not had a 1,000 yard
rushing season since 1987. Since taking over the starting fullback role as a
rookie, the Saints have become a power running team with Smith leading the way
for Ricky Williams and Deuce McAllister. Last year, McAllister ran for 1,641
yards, the second-most in team history.
Terrelle Smith may be a key acquisition for the Browns. In several losses,
most notably close home games to Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, the Browns failed
to score in multiple goal line situations. Against Pittsburgh, the Browns twice
took the ball inside the Steeler ten and were able to score only three points.
Smith's acquisition is just another indicator of the plans that Butch Davis
and Terry Robiskie have to convert the Browns to a power running offense. The
team was very public about their desire to add a capable fullback, and has also
made upgrades to the team's offensive line a priority, as indicated by their
pursuit of OG Ron Stone, who later signed with Oakland.
Don't expect Smith to roll up gaudy statistics while wearing a Browns
uniform. He rarely rushed the football in New Orleans and has never caught more
than ten passes in a season. Attempts to integrate him further into the Saints
offense were never very successful.
Smith may not be the dominant left tackle the Browns would like to have, but
he will give them a power element that will help the team convert third downs
and goal-line situations.
DOG HOUSE TO DAWG POUND: Ebenezer Ekuban re-joins his old coach Dave Campo in Cleveland, and will likely be very happy to have a coach be happy to
see him. Ekuban played his way into Bill Parcell's dog house with the Cowboys,
who never attempted to bring Ekuban back.
Ekuban also joins Gerard Warren and Courtney Brown as defensive line draft
picks who have never played up to their potential. Ekuban was drafted in the
first round by the Cowboys in 1999.
After a modestly successful first season, Ekuban has failed to emerge as the
key pass-rushing threat that the Cowboys thought he would be coming out of North Carolina. His best season was probably 2002, when he had 43 tackles in and 20
quarterback pressures. This as a season after spending 2001 on the IR due to a
herniated disc. In 2000, Ekuban had 6.5 sacks despite missing four games.
Parcells made Ekuban a pet project at the start of the 2003 season, but was
disappointed with the results. Eventually, Parcells made Ekuban inactive for one
contest, leading to brief a war of words between the two in the Dallas press.
With the Browns, Ekuban will help to bolster the Browns rotation on the
defensive line, which may be weakened if Tyrone Rogers leaves through free
agency. He may also be able to compete with Mark Word as a situational pass
rusher for the Browns, since Word did not produce at the same high level in 2003
after a stellar year in 2002.
SITE UPDATES: Updated the
2004 roster, removing unrestricted free agents not
signed yet and adding a page for new QB Jeff Garcia. Also, the depth chart has
been updated through yesterday's transactions. A lot of this depth chart is my
speculation, so feel free to email me if you've got thoughts about improving it.
Finally, a large update was made to
the free agent
database, bringing it up-to-date with all free agent transactions up through
the early evening on Wednesday.