Two Browns Selected to PFWA All-Rookie Team
The Pro Fastball Writers of America came out with their All-Rookie team for 2019 and a pair of Cleveland Browns made the cut. While the Browns didn't see any of their position players make it in part because they didn't have a first round pick this year, they did have both the team's kicker and punter with fifth round pick Austin Seibert and undrafted rookie Jamie Gillan. It's a little concerning that the Browns didn't see position players really make an argument to receive consideration despite how many snaps they played this season, but Seibert and Gillan qualifying could suggest a continuing trend of productive special teams units for the foreseeable future.
The Browns moved on from Greg Joseph, currently kicking for the Tennessee Titans, who are headed for the AFC Championship after losing kickers a few due to injury and a veteran punter in Britton Colquitt, who signed with the Minnesota Vikings, in order to keep Seibert and Gillan. Seibert's status seemed relatively safe given the fact he was a draft pick but he did struggle in camp before having a productive rookie season. Gillan clearly had talent, but Colquitt was an excellent player, so it was a little risky, some projection to see Gillan succeed this season.
Seibert was 30 of 35 on extra points, which isn't great, but he was far more consistent on field goals. He connected on 25 of 29 field goals and missed three from the 40-49 range and one from over 50. The other area where he was extremely effective was putting kickoffs inside the 10 and even the 5-yard line, forcing teams to return the kicks and having the coverage units that were able to keep them from crossing the 25.
Gillan's leg strength was apparent immediately. It was more of a question of whether Gillan could handle the finer arts of punting in terms of being able to place them and avoid making costly mistakes. It wasn't perfect, but he was impressive as a rookie, including a 71-yard punt. There were multiple contests where Gillan was able to keep the Browns in games with his ability to flip field position.