As the Cleveland Browns were on their way to their 12th straight loss on Sunday, the person who runs the Atlanta Falcons’ Twitter feed was thanking the organization for letting WR Taylor Gabriel fall right into their lap for free just before the start of the regular season. They did so by sharing a snippet of Gabriel’s NFL career with the Browns from his Wikipedia page:
Thanks! @Browns pic.twitter.com/uyn0nwCN7f— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) November 27, 2016
Why were the accolades warranted today? Because Gabriel was responsible for two shifty touchdowns for the Falcons today, leading many people to ask, “why did the Browns let him go again?” Here are the scores:
CATCH HIM IF YOU CAN! (you can't)— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) November 27, 2016
WR @TGdadon1 shows off the moves on his 4th TD of the year#AZvsATL https://t.co/r68PSAtG8x
⚡️News Flash⚡️ @TGdadon1 is really, really fast. #AZvsATL https://t.co/7yIPcFVUMN— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) November 27, 2016
Gabriel now has 21 catches for 378 yards and 4 touchdowns, but has taken on a much bigger role in the offense over the team's past five games.
So, why didn’t the Browns hang on to Gabriel? In 2014, the undrafted free agent had a respectable rookie season under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Last year, though, Gabriel really struggled with dropped passes, lowering his stock significantly. The Browns’ new regime drafted four receivers in this year’s draft, which made Gabriel a long shot to make the roster.
Gabriel had a very solid camp for head coach Hue Jackson, but in the numbers game, they didn’t want to cut one of their rookie draft picks and preferred Andrew Hawkins as their shifty slot receiver. The Falcons were the beneficiaries of the situation, where Gabriel is back with Shanahan and doing very well.