Spotlight - RB Reuben Droughns, Cleveland Browns
Posted 8/25 by Jason Wood and Maurile Tremblay,
Exclusive to Footballguys.com
Jason Wood's Thoughts
I want no part of Reuben Droughns this year. People tend to romanticize guys who were surprisingly effective the prior year and I'm seeing too much of that with Droughns. Yes, he came out of nowhere to lead the Broncos in rushing (1,240 yards) on route to a shocking RB14 finish among fantasy backs.
But THIS year he's in an entirely different situation. In Denver, running backs are always productive. In Cleveland? Not so much (try to remember the last time a Browns RB ran for 1,000 yards in a season...good luck with that).
In Denver, he had an offensive line that was cohesive and the league's best zone blocking unit. In Cleveland, the team is rebuilding around a Arizona Cardinals cast off, a Patriots lunch pail guard, a Bucs cast off, and spare parts.
In Denver, Droughns ended up the main ball carrier because of injuries. In Cleveland, he will split carries (if not be second fiddle) to Lee Suggs and also contend with William Green who has hung in the mix surprisingly.
In Denver, Droughns benefited from a passing offense that set Denver records with 4,089 yards and 27 TDs; defenses couldn't key on him. In Cleveland, Trent Dilfer starts (who has NEVER thrown for 3,000 yards much less 4,000 yards); defenses will be stopping the run until given a reason not to.
- Droughns ran for 1,240 yards last year and finished as the 14th best fantasy back
- The Browns appear intent on running a conservative, ball control offense
- Lee Suggs is injury prone and far from proven
- The Browns supporting cast & system is far less appetizing than the Broncos
- Suggs appears the favorite to start
- The Browns put the "offensive" in offensive line
AVOID REUBEN DROUGHNS...I have that pinned to my computer screen on a Post-It note just to remind myself not to reach for the guy thinking I might have gotten a steal in the middle part of my draft. Honestly, Suggs isn't durable enough to think Droughns couldn't start for part of the season. But I just don't believe he's talented enough to overcome the far-from-appealing circumstances in Cleveland.
Maurile Tremblay's Thoughts
Reuben Droughns joins the Browns via offseason trade after he rushed for 1,240 yards and six touchdowns last year in Denver. That was a breakout season for Droughns, who had never had more than 30 carries in his five seasons in the league before that.
A converted fullback, Droughns is a tough inside runner with good vision and balance who can get yards after contact. The fact that his success came in a Denver offense that seems to churn out 1,000-yard running back seasons at will, however, means that Droughns will have to prove himself all over again in Cleveland to show that he wasn’t just a product of the Broncos’ system.
Droughns is not the kind of RB who can create space on his own with nifty moves; he needs a hole to run through. And holes to run through seem to be in shorter supply in Cleveland than in Denver. Moreover, after Droughns held out during the Browns’ offseason mini-camps, Lee Suggs got the early upper hand in the battle for the starting job, and entered training camp atop the depth chart. While Droughns is expected to get carries, it will likely be in a RBBC role rather than in a featured role, at least as long as Suggs stays healthy.
On the positive side, Droughns may get the majority of the goal line carries even if he gets a minority between the twenties.
- Tough inside runner who will break arm tackles and gain yards after contact.
- Showed vision and patience as a runner last year; did a good job of finding the hole and getting through it efficiently.
- Lee Suggs has never stayed healthy for a full season, so Droughns may get the chance to carry the load for the Browns at some point this season.
- Is a one-hit wonder so far, and must show that he was not simply a product of the Broncos’ system.
- Is listed behind Lee Suggs on the Browns’ depth chart; his carries will come, at least initially, in a backup role or as part of a RBBC.
- The Browns’ will probably not have a high-powered offense that will present its running backs with constant scoring opportunities.
Droughns will not contribute much to your fantasy team as long as he plays second fiddle to Suggs in the Browns’ offensive backfield. If you draft Droughns, you are hoping that he will supplant Suggs as the starter and assume the featured role. Given Suggs’ injury history, there’s a decent chance that Droughns will get that opportunity at some point this season. But even if that happens, he will be running behind an offensive line that is not known for opening the kind of holes he saw regularly in Denver. If you draft both Suggs and Droughns, you should be locking up the Browns’ starter at RB relatively cheaply (unless William Green surprises in a big way), but you also may be devoting two roster spots to RBBC members on a bad team. Whether to consider this strategy depends on what players you draft in the early rounds. If you draft three solid RBs in the first five rounds, a Suggs-Droughns combo may not add much value. But if you end up taking Manning and Gonzalez or some other combination of non-RBs early in the draft, a Suggs-Droughns combo in the middle rounds could make sense.
Quotations from the Message Board Thread
To view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there),
Reuben Droughns is a NON-FACTOR! He was brought in only because they were going to get rid og W. Green. But now, Green is back in favor with Savage/Crennel. So, he'll be the #2 RB, MARK THAT DOWN!
RBBC written all over this situation. I like Suggs as a player much more than I like Droughns and he will win that job flat out at some point. the question is if his health will allow him to keep it.
While the Browns added some pieces to the OL, they lost starting LT Ross Verba as well. I see no reason to be optimistic about the running game. And who will get the majority of the carries? To me Reuben Droughns appears to be the guy out of the gate, but of course that can change after a few losses.
Reuben Droughns Projections
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