Browns Urged to Pursue Versatile Ex-Commanders RB

Free agent running back J.D. McKissic

Getty Free agent running back J.D. McKissic.

The Cleveland Browns are continuing to investigate all their option to improve the roster and former Washington Commanders running back J.D. McKissic has been dubbed as a player they should pursue.

McKissic would give the Browns a proven receiving threat out of the backfield. He’s spent the last three seasons in Washington, catching 150 passes for 1,159 yards and four touchdowns over that span. He also ran the ball 150 times for 672 yards with three more scores.

In the Browns’ new-look running back room, McKissic would be valued for his pass-catching ability and Bleacher Report listed him among three players Cleveland should pursue.

“Cleveland hasn’t brought back running back Kareem Hunt (who remains a free agent), so it doesn’t have as much depth in its backfield behind starter Nick Chubb. It may not be a bad idea for the team to add a low-cost veteran back to provide another option beyond Chubb,” B/R’s Jake Rill wrote. “If the Browns signed McKissic, they’d have another versatile running back in the mix, as Demetric Felton Jr. is also a two-way threat. The offense would likely benefit from that, and it would give Cleveland added insurance in case anything happens to Chubb at any point.”

The other players on the list included edge rusher Frank Clark and linebacker Anthony Barr.

Browns Confident in Chubb-led RB Room

The Browns running back depth took a hit with the departures of Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson, who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency. However, the team has expressed confidence in the unit, which is led by Chubb.

“We like the room that we have, obviously, Nick leads it. Pleased with Jerome’s (Ford) progress over the last year,” Browns GM Andrew Berry said prior to the draft. “John Kelly, [Nate] McCreary, Demetric (Felton), taking reps there.”

There has been talk about the Browns going more pass-heavy next season in Year 2 of Deshaun Watson but head coach Kevin Stefanski assured Chubb will still have a large role going forward.

“Nick’s a major part of our offense, always will be,” Stefanski said at the NFL Owner’s Meeting. “He was I thought very productive last season and had a good amount of attempts. You’re always trying to get the best version of Nick. So that’s always part of our plan, to make sure he’s fresh for a 17-game season plus. Nick will always be a big part of our offense.”

Browns Open to Making More Moves Before Camp

The Browns are set to kick off rookie minicamp on May 13 and have already made a few moves to potentially add some new faces. The Browns waived defensive tackle Ben Stille and wide receiver Marquez Stevenson on May 9, signaling that they could be in the market for some additional free agent pieces. Berry hinted that they’d be exploring all their options during an appearance on ESPN Cleveland.

“There may be some other things that we’re looking to do, either on the veteran market or trade market over the next several weeks,” Berry said.

The Browns’ focus has been on building competition on the roster and landing someone like McKissic to compete with Jerome Ford for reps would do exactly that.

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