There is no other way to put it, LSU players that the Cleveland Browns have drafted have not worked out as of yet. Cleveland has drafted three players from Louisiana State University over the last few years and each has been riddled by injuries early on in their careers.
That is not to add Odell Beckham Jr. coming off of an ACL tear. Beckham was obviously traded for, but another former Tiger for example. LSU players just haven’t been able to stay healthy for the Browns, with wide receiver Jarvis Landry being the outlier here.
There is a trend here and that is a fact. It likely is because of a simple coincidence, but it is an interesting one to say the least. A couple of them have been freak injuries. Though, you just have to wonder why it seems to be LSU players in specific. LSU is a premier SEC school most of the time. They have a large budget for football and that would include their nutrition program and physical development. So, that certainly should not be the issue.
Greedy Williams was drafted in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Williams played in 12 games as a rookie, battled through some minor injuries and that’s fine. Come 2020 the cornerback misses the entire year with nerve damage in the shoulder. This is simply something that can’t be tied to LSU, or the Browns. It is a freak injury of sorts, nerve damage is a touchy thing and something that really can’t be projected.
The hope now is that Williams is past that. He played in the preseason opener and has practiced besides some minimal missed time. Heading into his third year, Williams is in for a battle and that’s no secret. Cleveland drafted Greg Newsome ll, who can work as a security blanket in case Williams does not pan out. Williams was the first of the LSU bunch to start the injury streak.
With talented players coming out of college, you sometimes look past their injury history and take a chance. Grant Delpit is an example of that. Delpit never had a chance his rookie year after a ruptured achilles’ tendon. An injury that sometimes is a nail in the coffin for professional athletes. Delpit is in a unique spot since he is quite young for the injury. There is the chance of returning and being a very good player still.
Delpit’s injury prior to last season was a rough break for the Browns. The secondary was going to heavily lean on him and the injury put any chance of that to bed. Instead the team played Andrew Sendejo far to much out of pure necessity. Sendejo often was selected as the scapegoat, though he was bad at times as well. Delpit’s injury may be the most impactful of the players we talked about.
Such move forced the team to upgrade with Ronnie Harrison during last season. Then, the team decided to grab John Johnson lll. Moves you make either way, but they were made into musts. Now that Delpit is trending upward, the hope is at least, this injury could be put to rest. With the safeties currently on the roster, there is no necessity to rush Delpit into a large role. Such a move is best for everyone involved.
Bad news hit the Browns on Friday with another former Tiger going down. The team very well could be without linebacker Jacob Phillips for the entirety of 2021. A torn biceps tendon is the unfortunate culprit for the second year backer. Phillips battled injury his rookie year as well and couldn’t stay on the field. Something you couldn’t really predict as it happens to be another fluke injury. Phillips simply reached for a Giants player and the grab did the trick.
It puts Cleveland in a spot for needed depth. The team quickly added a linebacker to the mix that can play behind Anthony Walker.
The hope is for Phillips to have a successful rehab and come back stronger. For the time being this just goes down as another injury on the Browns, that just happens to have played his college ball at LSU. Until one of these players perform up to their level, the stigma of drafting LSU players will stick around for Cleveland.