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Rookie Reflection: Browns RB Matt Dayes running with chip on his shoulder

Posted Jul 17, 2017

Dayes totaled almost 2,600 yards rushing at N.C. State

Over the next two weeks, we’re breaking down the Browns’ 2017 NFL Draft class — from DE Myles Garrett to RB Matt Dayes — and how they might contribute next fall.

How was his spring?

Browns running back Matt Dayes, who totaled 2,586 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns in four seasons at N.C. State, spoke of having a chip on his shoulder right from the start of rookie minicamp.

When head coach Hue Jackson was asked if he'd seen that approach from the youngster, he nodded and smiled. “Hopefully, he keeps that chip on all season and he will show us why we drafted him,” he said. “That’s what this is all about. Hopefully, a lot of our guys have chips on their shoulders.”

Projected by NFL.com to be a third- or fourth-round pick, Dayes slipped to the seventh round before the Browns scooped him up because of his ability to play in both the run and pass games. Like his fellow rookies, Dayes took reps with the third-team offense and showed promise while doing so.  

“He’s done a good job of picking up the offense, it’s high volume, we do a lot of things … the good thing with Matt is when he does have a problem he fixes it,” running backs coach and run game coordinator Kirby Wilson said. “I like where he’s at.”

They said it:

“I catch the ball really well. I don't think any running back in the draft class can catch the ball as well as I do. I run really good routes at receiver, I can pass protect, I run the ball hard. I’m a four-down back.” — Dayes on his versatility as a RB

What to expect in the fall?

Dayes should compete for a spot behind Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr., who were Cleveland’s featured running backs last season. Dayes will also have the opportunity to show off that versatility that drew the Browns to him in the pre-Draft process.

“We actually thought he was one of the better pass protectors in the class,” vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry said. “He catches the ball real well out of the backfield, and he is a solid ball carrier. We think he has a very well-rounded skill set, but certainly, the pass-pro ability drew us to him.”

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