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.
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. depth chart
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.