This year’s NFL draft was very successful for those associated with Auburn. Three players were lucky enough to be selected by a number of franchises whilst five Tigers also signed deals via free agency. While Ricardo Louis wasn’t the first Auburn star to be selected in the draft, he could well go on to achieve the most – both on an individual and team level.
Louis was exceptional for Auburn during his college days and the Cleveland Browns opted to take a punt on him despite already drafting Baylor’s Corey Coleman in the second round. In the end, Cleveland took five wide receivers and it is now up to Louis to prove that he deserves his spot on the final 53-man roster.
— TheScout!! (@1stDown_Scout) July 20, 2016
At the time of writing, the Browns are priced at 66/1 with 32Red Canada to win the AFC Championship next season – an objective that is probably a little beyond their reach right now. But with a plethora of young talented receivers, you should never say never. With Coleman and Louis both looking to impress and Robert Griffin III at quarterback, Cleveland’s offense is going to be very entertaining if nothing else.
But just how good was Louis at college level? Well, he recorded 46 catches for 716 yards and 3 touchdowns in just 13 matches. Those numbers don’t immediately jump off the page but his overall game is outstanding. As shown in the video below, the former Auburn star’s game tape shows that he is actually much better than statistics suggest.
Perhaps his greatest asset – and one that might have convinced the Browns to select him – is his ability to run the football. In 2015, he rushed 29 times for 158 yards; an average of 5.4 yards per carry. While he only scored one touchdown, this shows that Louis has the ability to run reverses and that kind of talent can keep opposing defences guessing.
And the more you watch and follow his game tape, the more you like the scheme and skillset fit at Cleveland. With RGIII, the rushing game is going to become much more prominent for the Browns and Louis could profit from this – whether that’s in the backfield or going long. Remember: Robert Griffin III’s arms are amongst the longest in professional football and Louis’s raw speed could be used to great effect.
Fortunately, Louis will have a familiar face in Cleveland. Offensive tackle Shon Coleman was also drafted by the Browns and the two Auburn men are likely to bring plenty of rapport to a franchise that has struggled in recent times. The best way to take Cleveland out of the doldrums is by introducing togetherness and forming a bond throughout the team – and this is perhaps the best way to do just that.
But he will face stiff competition from former Baylor star Coleman for the title of Cleveland’s top wideout. Both men are capable of producing great things but neither are perfect; and it will all come down to one key question: who is the most NFL-ready? And right now, you’d have to go with Louis. He’s certainly more Cleveland Browns-ready. Their scheme is likely to be very similar to that at Auburn and it shouldn’t take much for him to adapt to Hue Jackson’s offense.
Browns fans have had to sit and watch Jackson destroy their franchise during his days with the Cincinnati Bengals but it could be payback time. He is widely regarded as one of the most astute coaches in the National Football League and Cleveland’s flair players will benefit from his inventiveness on offense. As of July 21, Cleveland are an incredible 150/1 to win the Super Bowl with 32Red and NetBet – and many Browns fans will take a punt due to Jackson’s arrival.
If truth be told, the Super Bowl is probably a little far-fetched. They are probably still the worst team in the AFC North. However, their spirit is strong. And while the Browns might not reach the Super Bowl, they will be much improved and Ricardo Louis could be their main man in 2016. Watch this space…