In an interview last week with Cleveland Browns Daily, offensive coordinator John DeFilippo laid out what he's looking for from a tight end within his offense.
"We have two types of tight ends which is a Y, which is, 'hey, I'm going to block a seven-technique on power, I'm going to reach a nine-technique on outside zone. That's a true Y and I feel like we have two of those guys in the building right now in Jim Dray and Gary Barnidge," DeFilippo said. "The thing we are in the constant market for, and everybody is in the market for, is that F position – that guy that can move around, be a mismatch on a linebacker, can run a choice route, get in and out of breaks on third and fourth down, can win against man-to-man coverage. That's what I think we are in the market for.
"Everybody is looking for that personnel mismatch to be able to go out and do all those things. It just totally broadens the field for you and widens and makes you much more diverse."
His thoughts on the players blocking for the quarterback and paving the way for the Browns' ground game have been well-documented. He cited the team's cornerstones up front, Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas, center Alex Mack and rising star Joel Bitonio as some of the things that excite him most about the Browns' offense in 2015.
"The offensive line is really, really impressive just from a physical standpoint," DeFilippo said shortly after he was hired. "The thing you notice about the Cleveland Browns offensive line is how athletic they are. The way they can change the line of scrimmage, they have a great mixture of strength and athleticism, which is hard to find on the offensive line."
There's room to improve and some potential holes to fill in both areas as the Browns embark on free agency. Here's a look at the landscape just a few hours before it officially gets started.
Who's coming back?
TE Jim Dray - 16 games, 17 receptions, 242 yards, TD
TE Gary Barnidge - 13 games, 13 receptions, 156 yards
LT Joe Thomas - 16 starts, Pro Bowl nominee (8th of career), 1st-team All-Pro (5th of career)
LG Joel Bitonio - 16 starts
C Alex Mack - 5 starts
RG John Greco - 15 starts at RG, 1 at C
RT Mitchell Schwartz - 16 starts
C Nick McDonald - 7 starts
OL Ryan Seymour - 3 starts
OL Karim Barton
OL Michael Bowie
OL Andrew McDonald
OL Vinston Painter
Who's on the market?
TE Jordan Cameron - 10 games, 24 receptions, 424 yards, 2 TDs
Rankings of note
Receiving yards by tight ends - 822 - 15th
Receiving touchdowns by tight ends - 3 - T-25th
Rushing offense - 108 yards per game - 17th
Sacks allowed - 31 - 13th fewest
QB hits - 79 - 14th fewest
Rushes of 10 yards to left - 18 - 16th
Rushes of 10 yards to center - 5 - 29th
Rushes of 10 yards to right - 19 - 12th
Top TEs/OL available(Rankings from NFL.com's Top 101 NFL Free Agents for 2015)
- TE Julius Thomas (Denver)
- OG Mike Iupati (San Francisco)
- OT Bryan Bulaga (Green Bay)
- C Rodney Hudson (Kansas City)
- TE Charles Clay (Miami)
- OL Orlando Franklin (Denver)
- C Stefan Wisniewski (Oakland)
- OG Clint Boling (Cincinnati)
- OT Joe Barksdale (St. Louis)
- OG James Carpenter (Seattle)
- OG Justin Blalock (Atlanta)
- TE Jermaine Gresham (Cincinnati)
- C Chris Myers (Houston)
- TE Rob Housler (Arizona)