When thinking about the Cleveland Browns, one thinks of Johnny Football and his endless late night partying. Or maybe you think about troubled Josh Gordon and his looming suspension for substance abuse. Perhaps you think about Jordan Cameron as a fairly safe TE option in a sea of unpredictability. Maybe you even think of Lebron James donning the orange and brown! Despite all of this, I think more attention should be paid to Ben Tate.
Ben Tate is just not receiving enough attention as we head into the 2014 football season. Let's look at the numbers:
Cleveland was 28th in rushing yards per game last year (86.4). In addition, Willis McGahee was the leading rusher with 377 yards. Considering Knowhson Moreno rushed for 224 yards last November against the Patriots in a single game this is horrific leading rusher over a full season. Even more lost in the shuffle is even with Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weedon, and Jason Campbell throwing the football, the Cleveland Browns attempted 681 passes last year--the most in the NFL. Wow! I will listen to Iggy Azelia's Fancy on a repeat loop 24 hours a day if this happens again!
Enter Ben Tate. 25 year old Ben Tate. 25 year old Ben Tate with a career 4.7 yards per carry average. True, Tate has missed 9 games in the past 3 seasons but he finally has the clearest path to carries in Cleveland. After signing for a modest 2 year, $7 million contract in the offseason, Tate will be looking to inject some life in the anemic run game of the Browns. Tate has shown plenty of smoke in his career, I suspect now is time the smoke turns into fire
Additionally, new coach Mike Pettine and OC Kyle Shannahan (who coached Tate in Houston), are reportedly going to feature the run game more promininetly than Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner. I am not advocating for Tate to be your RB1. However, if he is your RB2 I think he will be serviceable and potentially a steal if you get him in round 5 (ADP is 56 per FantasyPros).