Browns rookie RB Matthew Dayes motivated by NFL Draft experience

Matthew Dayes couldn't watch it any longer. It was the third day of the 2017 NFL Draft, and the former N.C. State running back thought he would've heard his name called by then.

"After the fourth round I just stopped watching," said Dayes, who was ultimately scooped up by the Browns with the second-to-last pick in the draft.

"I was so upset. I mean, it's a feeling I don't want anyone to ever have. It was so bad. But I have the opportunity now so I'm ready to show what I've got."

It's an approach that could serve Dayes well following the Browns' rookie minicamp this past weekend, where he spoke of balancing a chip on his shoulder with a deep sense gratitude toward the team for extending the opportunity to make good on a longtime dream.

Asked of that dynamic, head coach Hue Jackson nodded his head and smiled. "He wanted to go earlier. Those things happen," he said. "Hopefully, he keeps that chip on all season and he'll show us why we drafted him. That's what this is all about."

Dayes was a four-year player at N.C. State, totaling 2,856 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns. He had his most productive season in 2016, running for 1,166 yards and 10 touchdowns while catching 32 passes for 267 yards.

Dayes, who grew familiar with the Browns' coaching staff at the Senior Bowl in January, said he'll do whatever Jackson asks of him. "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," he said. "I run really good routes at receiver, I can pass protect, I run the ball hard. I'm a four-down back."

Long before he became a standout at N.C. State, Dayes moved with his mother to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from Jamaica when he 5 years old. He started playing football in the city's streets with his friends when he realized he might have a future in the sport. His mother, concerned about the environment of the schools in the area, sent him across the county in hopes her son would fully realize his potential in a more conducive setting.

"I hated it there but as it kept going, if felt more comfortable out there," Dayes said. "Being out there changed my life, it gave me so many opportunities."

Dayes shined, becoming a three-star recruit at Cypress Bay High School and the Broward County High School Football Player of the Year.

Now, he's set to make the most of this chance in Cleveland -- regardless of how he got here.

"I'm just ready to get out there and show the coaches and everyone that I'm a really good player," he said.

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