The signing of Jordan Akins by the Cleveland Browns is more important than people think
The Cleveland Browns signed Jordan Akins, signaling a change to the team.
The Cleveland Browns have signed former Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins, a former teammate of the Browns’ starting quarterback Deshaun Watson. It’s entirely possible the two former Houston players are best friends and that his arrival was orchestrated by Watson. We’ve seen that a lot, especially with the New York Jets’ attempt to trade for Aaron Rodgers.
But even if that is the reason Akins came in, that’s not why his signing is important. The Browns’ front office has made plenty of mistakes since they came into power in 2020, but the signing of Akins wouldn’t have happened, at least in my opinion, if he didn’t fit what the team is trying to do.
Things are changing for the squad for 2023 and the way they’ve run their offense will change dramatically from the past three years. Since Kevin Stefanski took the team over, the team has been a run-first squad, running 30+ times a game, with most of the carries going to Nick Chubb.
Yet, the signing of Akins seems to further cement the idea that Chubb will see a dramatically less involved role in the offense going forward. Why would we suggest such an idea? Well, the team needs better run blockers up front, and the Browns intentionally went out and signed a very poor run-blocker to play tight end for the squad.
Why do that?
Well, because he’s actually got a solid pair of hands on him. See, Akins isn’t a blocking tight end, nor is he an all-around guy. He’s someone who does a lot of work as a receiver in the passing game.
His arrival in Cleveland will further push the Browns to be more of a throw-first, second, and third type of offense.
The Cleveland Browns have three tight ends who struggle at blocking
The Browns have three guys at tight end who can all do some damage in the passing game, with Akins, David Njoku, and Harrison Bryant all being decent athletes at least. That isn’t the only thing they share in common; they’re also all three very below-average run-blockers.
In 2022, Akisn posted a run-blocking score of 51.6 according to PFF, while Njoku and Bryant had 52.4 and 62.1 respectively. Bryant’s clearly the most consistent blocker of the three, but even then he isn’t a great blocker.
The three tight ends will more than likely be used for passing scenarios now, which may see each guy put up some career highs across the board. This may end up working out for the Browns, or it may not, but only time will tell if focusing more on a pass-first offense will produce results.