Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Jamal Lewis

As Corso would say to Herbstreit, "not so fast, my friend! " I disagree with Vinny when he says that this move means the Browns aren't going to draft Adrian Peterson. In fact, I think this move makes it even more likely that they will draft Peterson.

Jamal Lewis has had some amazing seasons, but he's also got a lot of mileage on him for a guy who is only 27 years old. He's had an injury history that goes back to his college days at Tennessee and includes blown ACLs in both knees, and his productivity has been off for the last two seasons. Reuben Droughns outperformed him by quite a bit in 2005 and averaged 3.4 yards per carry to Lewis's 3.6 yards per carry last season.

There are some off the field issues with Lewis. If they do get rid of Droughns, the Browns will be swapping a guy whose troubles with the law consist of a relatively boring DUI arrest and weak domestic violence charges for a guy with a much sexier rap sheet. Don't forget that Lewis also has failed two drug tests, which puts him on the short list to join Ricky Williams in the Cannabis Football League next season.

So, with his injuries, declining performance and off the field issues, I can't see the Browns looking solely to Lewis to carry the load for them next season. All that being said, I think Droughns is a goner. A healthy Jamal Lewis is an upgrade over Droughns. Even last season, the number crunchers over at Football Outsiders ranked Lewis 40th among NFL backs, while Droughns came in at53rd, which placed him dead last among rushers with more than 75 carries. Also, as Rich Swerbinsky pointed out, if the Browns want to keep Droughns, they'll need to pay him a $1.75 million roster bonus next week. I can't see them paying that kind of money to Droughns with Lewis in hand and Adrian Peterson on the board.

We'll see how things unfold over the course of the next several weeks, but I think this signing practically guarantees that they will draft Adrian Peterson.

No comments: