Browns Offensive Rookie of the First Half: Dawand Jones
Everyone around Cleveland knew almost instantly the Browns got a steal in offensive tackle Dawand Jones. The training camp buzz was deafening, and his preseason performance showed glimpses of a potential future star.
What most didn't expect, however, was for Jones to be leaned upon right away. A season-opening (and -ending) injury to right tackle Jack Conklin opened up a huge hole on the O-line, with the rookie suddenly the next man up.
Some might have folded under the pressure -- but not Jones. He's provided surprisingly dependable play on the right side since taking over the starting job in Week 2, holding his own against some top-flight pass rushers despite being new to this level.
Jones' 59.7 overall grade from ProFootballFocus isn't star material yet, but it's far from being abysmal, either. Plus, he's only been called for two penalties and given up two sacks over eight games, keeping the rookie mistakes to a minimum.
Losing veterans like Conklin, Drew Forbes and Michael Dunn could've derailed the Browns' offense, but getting unexpectedly great play from Jones has helped fortify this unit. He'll continue to be needed to step up with left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. now expected to miss at least four games.