Browns Eyeing Former Chiefs RB Ahead of Opener

Free agent RB Darwin Thompson worked out for the Browns.

Getty Images Free agent RB Darwin Thompson worked out for the Browns.

The Cleveland Browns brought in a handful of players for workouts ahead of their Week 1 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, including former Kansas City Chiefs running back Darwin Thompson.

Thompson was a sixth-round pick of the Chiefs in 2019, appearing in 26 games in Kansas City with one start. He’s notched 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground in his career, also adding 16 catches for 108 yards and another score.

Thompson has bounced around various practice squads in recent years, including stops with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks, and, most recently, the Las Vegas Raiders. Thompson was let go during final roster cuts by the Raiders.

Thompson would likely be a practice squad addition, with the Browns having three backs they like in Pro Bowler Nick Chubb, second-year backup Jerome Ford and Pierre Strong Jr., who Cleveland recently traded for.

There is a potential worry that Ford could miss some time due to injury during the season. He injured his hip during training camp and missed the entirety of the preseason. Ford is set to go for Week 1 and the Browns are banking on him staying healthy the rest of the year.

The Browns also worked out another running back in Jaret Patterson. He the last two seasons with the Washington Commanders, appearing in 20 games with one start. He rushed for 344 yards and a pair of touchdowns during his time in Washington.

Browns Also Work Out Group of Linebackers

The Browns are also looking at their options at linebacker — another position of need. Cleveland wanted a closer look at Mykal Walker, Travin Howard and Davion Taylor.

Taylor is the most notable name of the group, mostly due to his link to Browns defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Taylor was a third-round pick of the Eagles in 2020, back when Schwart was calling the defense in Philadelphia.

The Browns have assembled an interesting group at linebacker, bringing back starters Sione Takitaki and Anthony Walker Jr. However, both are coming off season-ending injuries. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is slated to be the other starter at linebacker. Keeping the crew together is something Walker believes will help the team.

“We know how each other needs to be talked to on the field, off the field. We have that camaraderie together,” Walker told reporters on September 6.

Nick Chubb’s Role to Remain Unchanged With Browns

The Browns are fortunate at the running back position that they have a reliable, explosive weapon in Chubb, who has been tremendous since arriving as a second-round pick in 2018. Looking at any free agent running backs is simply a matter of due diligence and perhaps the Browns are looking to bolster their special teams depth.

Chubb rushed for 1,525 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. It was his fourth consecutive season rushing for over 1,000 yards and his career 5.2 per carry average is among the league’s elite.

The Browns may be more pass-heavy next season but head coach Kevin Stefanski — also the Browns play-caller — doesn’t expect Chubb to play less of a role within the offense.

“I don’t think you change Nick Chubb’s role. Obviously, there are things that we’ll do as an offense that are different this year, and that’s no different than every season you go into,” Stefanski said. “You have adjustments and you evolve a little bit in your run and pass game. So, I think that may take place. But Nick is certainly still a very big part of our offense.”

The Browns open the season on Sunday against the Bengals as a 2.5-point home underdog.

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