Five Under the Radar
RB James Davis
FoxSportsOhio.com
Posted May 29, 2010


FSN's Zac Jackson looks at five unheralded Browns who could make an impact...

 

Here's a list of five young, under-the-radar players whose contributions could go a long way towards pushing the Browns to some level of success this season...

1. James Davis -- It's hard to believe he's under the radar, but it's been a long time since his injury last fall (and the ensuing speculation) that ended his promising rookie season. Jerome Harrison went on to blow up, and second-rounder Montario Hardesty has been the subject of much hype and hope this spring. But Davis is a guy who knows how to find daylight and yards, and coming back a year stronger and smarter should only help him pick up where he left off. The one thing the Browns backfield has is a bunch of uncertainty, and I've seen nothing to indicate that Davis is too far behind anyone in the chase for carries as business picks up over the next couple months.

2. Coye Francies -- How and why he didn't get more playing time last year was a decision that was above my pay grade then and isn't worth rehashing now. Here's why he can help this year: Because he's big, fast, presumably learned from whatever was keeping him sidelined on Sunday last year and should have an added comfort level and confidence. You need more corners than the Browns probably have to win over the course of a long season, and this is a guy that certainly won't be physically overwhelmed by anybody on the practice field. I'm not saying he'll be a starter, but he could be a big part of a big upgrade at the cornerback position.

3. Larry Asante -- One of my favorites in this draft class (like Davis was last year), Asante slipped to the back end of the draft because he's an inch too short and a half-step too slow when timed (like Davis was last year). But he is a football player, he comes from a big-time program in Nebraska and one of college football's best-coached defenses, and to me he's as NFL ready as Joe Haden or T.J. Ward. He doesn't exactly have Ronnie Lott and Eric Turner in front of him on the depth chart, either, so he's one to watch this summer.

4. Kaluka Maiava -- He's still a guy that's probably too small to be an every-down linebacker and probably was drafted a round or two early last spring. But he has the smarts, toughness and instincts to be a contributor and a tone-setter, and Maiava has come back noticeably bigger and stronger than he was a year ago. He's always been an outstanding special teamer and now that he has a year of NFL special teams work under his belt, it's hard to see Maiava not winning a spot on the roster and making plays when the games count. Remember: The guy hunts wild boar with his bare hands. When it comes time to scrap, you want him on your side.

5. Evan Moore -- Because Brian Robiskie doesn't qualify as off the radar we go to Moore, a 6-foot-8ish target who caught a bunch of passes at the end of last season in what was essentially a tryout he made the most of. He's still learning the game and the position, and whenever he was on the field last year the Browns certainly weren't running the ball behind him. But a spring's worth of work on his blocking and strength should serve him well, and though he's behind Ben Watson and Alex Smith now those guys probably can't be counted on to be healthy for 16 games. He'll get extended chances and another shot to make the most of them.


Follow Zac Jackson on Twitter @FSOhioZJackson, and check out his reports on all of Cleveland's sports teams on http://www.foxsportsohio.com!


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RB James Davis (profile)
CB Coye Francies (profile)
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