The Browns last weekend hauled in a new draft class of 14 new members that includes four wide receivers, three linebackers, two offensive linemen and…
No running backs.
Trust that last part wasn't an oversight, as Cleveland coach Hue Jackson said Tuesday he's been impressed so far with the current group of ball-carriers.
"I think it's amazing I get so much mail or phone calls of people saying, 'Wait a minute! Why don't you guys have a running back?,'" Jackson said on the Browns' Post-Draft Special, adding, "I'm very comfortable with our group — not just those two — but our group as a whole. I think we have some really good players there."
Jackson heaped praise on a group that includes Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson Jr., Raheem Mostert, Glenn Winston and Terrell Watson. And in particular, he laid out big expectations for Crowell and Johnson, who combined for 1,085 yards rushing and 716 yards receiving last season.
"Those two guys are as good as I've seen in a while," Jackson said. "Their talent is extreme."
Jackson said he thinks Crowell — who led the Browns in rushing with 706 yards and four touchdowns in 2015 — could be "sensational" next season.
"Obviously Isaiah is very explosive, he's got quick feet, he's fast in the hole, he runs with good pad level," Jackson said of the third-year back out of Alabama State and Georgia who had, perhaps, his best game as a Brown in a win over the 49ers last year, running for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
"The guy played big time," Jackson said in January of that game. "What I want him to understand, he's got to do that all the time. We're not looking for it some of the time. The big time backs in this league, they're able to produce all of the time. That's what my challenge would be to him. Let's take it to the next level and be that player week in and week out."
He also added Johnson — who was a key cog in Cleveland's pass game with 61 catches for 534 yards and two scores — has also shown he can be a playmaker for a team looking for offensive weapons.
"Duke has suddenness and quickness," Jackson said, "and he can go catch the ball with anybody and he does so many different things that give your offense a boost."
The second-year player out of Miami sometimes provided a spark for a Browns offense that struggled last year.
"My whole role was when I was coming out of college and being drafted was creating mismatches out of the backfield and at wide receiver," Johnson said last month. "I think we're going to do more things like that."
Of course, Jackson said the team's running backs will have to prove it on the field this offseason and when training camp rolls around in the summer.
"Now, they haven't put on the pads yet and they haven't done it," Jackson said, "but I truly believe we have the potential there to be really good at the position."