Are the Cleveland Browns happy with their tight end group? Certainly, they are with David Njoku, who finally had that breakout year everyone was waiting for, and was selected to his first Pro Bowl. But what about after him?
Both Harrison Bryant and Jordan Akins had horrible years with minimal production. Are the Browns paying these two players to be blockers and once in a blue moon catch a smidgen of balls? Seems more likely that Cleveland will draft a new guy instead.
Our interviews with players focus on who should be available when the Browns draft in certain rounds.
TE Jared Wiley – TCU
6’-7”, 260 pounds
Projected round: 4
DBN: You have very good blocking abilities. How does help out your game?
Wiley: I am not a situational type player who needs to come in only on running plays. I feel I can be on the field for every down. I can be assigned blocking or catching a pass and fill in both of those areas. You have to be a complete tight end and never expect to be off the field.
DBN: How does your versatility help you?
Wiley: That is just another part of being a complete tight end. I am willing to try and do the best I can and learn. Whatever these coaches ask me to do it will only help me as a player and help the team. If I am not great at something I am going to work on it until I get great. It’s just part of it.
DBN: In college, you had several huge gains which is not usual for the tight end position. How does that part of your game help you?
Wiley: That definitely gives me the confidence I need to know that there are times I am able to stretch the field and be successful after the catch. I don’t want to go down on every catch I make. I know that big plays are within me and make it count when my number is called. Now I have shown I am capable of doing that.
DBN: After going to the National Championship Game last year, TCU lost a lot of players. How were you able to become that leadership role?
Wiley: It was up to me and some other guys to step into those roles and be big for us on the field as well as off the field. We certainly had big shoes to fill with guys going to the NFL.
DBN: Was there any hangover from losing in the title game?
Wiley: No, no hangover from it. We looked at it as more of a positive thing and a learning experience. There were only two teams in that game for a reason. We earned our way there and beat a very good Michigan team. We just couldn’t get it done against Georgia. You learn from the mistakes we had in that game and not allow it to be a distraction going forward.
DBN: Is culture important?
Wiley: Part of that is how the coaches treat the players. Especially with respect. Having a laid-back environment is something that benefits everyone. That can be different than other places where there is something going on all the time. You have to teach the young guys that winning is not a one-hit wonder and we want to build this program for the long haul. We weren’t going to settle for mediocre football. Our culture and our actions have to resemble that. Looking back it was a great season for us obviously, but you can’t look back and not think you can’t have another winning season again.
DBN: In your final season in college, what was your biggest improvement?
Wiley: Just getting more comfortable on the field in a full-time role. The game slowed down for me a lot from the previous season.
DBN: You played quarterback in high school. What changed?
Wiley: There came a time when I just outgrew the position. Maybe some of that Texas food adds more height and weight. I did play some tight end in high school early on, but it took some time for me mentally to transition from quarterback to tight end full-time. In my second or third year in college, I finally got the mindset to be physical and an issue in the run game. Now I feel like I am pretty smooth.
DBN: You had the opportunity to come out last year and go into the NFL draft. Why did you stay another year in college?
Wiley: The big thing was I was finally having fun playing the game. Who doesn’t want to do that again? So, I asked myself what was the rush? I was having a good time in Ft. Worth making great friends and teammates. I didn’t see the point of rushing into the next chapter of my life.
DBN: How do you envision the next level?
Wiley: There is always stuff that I will need to improve upon. No football player has ever had a perfect season. There is always learning new stuff about the position or for me to reach the goals I have set for myself this season.