When it comes to reliable hands at the tight end position, the Cleveland Browns need not look further than TE Gary Barnidge. In a nugget published by Pro Football Focus today, Barnidge currently holds the streak for the most consecutive passes caught by a tight end without a drop.
Over the past 3 seasons, no tight end has caught more consecutive passes without a drop than Gary Barnidge with 32. pic.twitter.com/jMDslVhn4T— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 8, 2015
I'm sure a lot of fans would look at the statistic and instantly think, "32 catches over three seasons? That's nothing!" Yes, it shows that Barnidge was not the team's go-to-receiver with TE Jordan Cameron ahead of him in the lineup, but it's still a credit to post that type of streak. An optimist could argue that it's actually more impressive that he's done it over a longer stretch; I'd expect players who are seldom on the receiving end of passes to press a little, leading to a couple drops. That hasn't been the case with Barnidge.
If we go by OTAs, though, don't count on Barnidge's number of catches to increase in 2015. New addition Rob Housler has reportedly been getting the bulk of the first-team reps and is the early favorite to be the team's primary receiving tight end. Barnidge and Jim Dray are expected to rotate in as blockers like they did last year, but it's good that QB Josh McCown should be able to feel comfortable throwing the ball to any of them.