|rst impressions were
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Call him mobile Minkah Fitzpatrick Youth Jersey , dynamic, proven or Buffalo's former quarterback. Don't dare label Tyrod Taylor anything else.
In his first official appearance since coming to Cleveland, Taylor, who ended the Bills' long playoff drought last season, was asked if he could be a one-year stopgap or "bridge" quarterback while the Browns develop a young QB.
"I don't necessarily view myself as a bridge quarterback," he said. "I'm a quarterback. As far as a bridge, hopefully I'm helping bridge this team to a Super Bowl. And that's the plan."
Taylor was introduced along with Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry and cornerback Damarious Randall as the Browns rolled out new faces on their roster following a whirlwind of trades and free-agent signings. It was another significant day in a recent string of them lately for a team trying to crawl out from the rubble of a historic 0-16 season and projecting a positive image.
As for the Browns' plans with the 28-year-old Taylor, who went 22-21 as a starter in three seasons with Buffalo, coach Hue Jackson made it clear that even if Cleveland selects a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft that the depth chart is already set.
"He is going to be the starting quarterback," Jackson said. "There is no competition."
With their overhaul in full swing under new general manager John Dorsey, the Browns officially signed seven free agents, including running back Carlos Hyde and Chris Hubbard and Donald Stephenson, a pair of tackles who can help the club's transition after star left tackle Joe Thomas retired on Wednesday to end a Hall of Fame career.
The Browns also finalized deals with cornerback T.J. Carrie Marcus Davenport Jersey Saints , tight end Darren Fells, defensive back Terrance Mitchell and defensive end Chris Smith.
Dorsey also made another trade 鈥?his fifth in less than a week 鈥?by sending cornerback Jason McCourty and a 2018 seventh-round pick (No. 219 overall) to the New England Patriots for a 2018 sixth-round pick (No. 205 overall). McCourty started 14 games in one season with Cleveland.
Dorsey called the recent wave of activity "just the first phase" in rebuilding the Browns, who have gone 4-44 over the past three seasons. Talent has been brought in to Cleveland, and like so many GMs and coaches before him, Dorsey said there is a feeling of renewal.
"You can feel a certain energy in the building," he said. "That is what I always like about this period when new guys come in here and guys are really excited to be here and I really appreciate that.
"Until those guys come together in training camp and the OTA sessions because every team's identity is different year in and year out. Just meeting those guys today, I can understand that they are going to help us and help us achieve our ultimate goals."
Jackson has been invigorated by the infusion of talent, especially by the additions of Taylor and Landry, a combo that could transform the Browns.
"It gives me back my swag," joked Jackson, who is 1-31 in two seasons. "His nickname is Juice Landry. He does have juice. He is a tremendous football player. Obviously, his stats speak for themselves. He is a proven football player in the building who has a lot of intensity and a lot of pride about what he does. You look at Tyrod and the way he carries himself, you can tell he is very proud of is accomplishments.
"I know everybody is talking about the past and what has gone on here. I don't think that is what fazes him. He has been in tough situations before. We all understand the situation we are in. We have a lot of work to do. Those are two guys that you start to turn and change the narrative with and change the culture with."
NOTES: One day after retiring Youth Ronnie Harrison Jersey , Thomas was at the team's facility working with T Shon Coleman, who could switch to left tackle after starting 16 games on the right side last season. Jackson said he's told Thomas to hang around as much as he wants. "This is still his football team," Jackson said. "His locker will stay the same. His place on the plane will be the same if he wants to go. That is how much I think of Joe Thomas. He will be missed." ... Dorsey sidestepped a few questions about upcoming workouts for college QBs. Because he was focused on free agency, he did not attend sessions for Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield or UCLA's Josh Rosen, two of the top four prospects. "There are also private workouts, too," he said.
While John Elway and his staff wrap up preparations for next week's NFL draft, it's the Denver Broncos' 2017 draft class that's really on the clock.
"Well, we're hoping they can help us this year," Elway said Thursday.
A half dozen of Elway's 2017 draft picks either missed their entire rookie season or played so sparingly that they remain virtual unknowns.
Only first-round pick Garrett Bolles had much of an impact, but he was one of the most penalized players in the league and was openly mocked in the locker room by several veterans after the tough-talking left tackle was bowled over by Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan on Christmas Eve, which they had warned him would happen if he didn't fix his poor technique.
Aside from Bolles, who started all 16 games Keon Broxton Milwaukee Brewers Jersey , the 2017 draft class couldn't get onto the field, combining for zero starts and missing a combined 75 games while playing sparingly in 37.
A year after an offensive-defensive rift opened in the Broncos locker room, there was a simmering generational gap in 2017. Several veterans including Chris Harris Jr. and Todd Davis said the rookie class just didn't grasp the NFL leap until the season was already a lost cause thanks to an eight-game skid, their longest in 50 years.
Three of last year's picks didn't play at all 鈥?third-round wide receiver Carlos Henderson (hand), fifth-round tight end Jake Butt (knee) and seventh-round quarterback Chad Kelly (knee, wrist).
Three others hardly played.
Defensive end DeMarcus Walker, Denver's second-round pick, managed a single sack in 10 games after losing weight to move outside. Third-round cornerback Brendan Langley had one punt return for 6 yards. And sixth-round running back De'Angelo Henderson carried the ball just seven times for 13 yards after a terrific training camp.
Meanwhile, fifth-rounder Isaiah McKenzie played much more than expected.
Coach Vance Joseph raised eyebrows by handing the rookie from the University of Georgia the starting punt returner's job early in training camp even as other position battles raged on, most notably at quarterback between Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch.
Joseph also stuck with McKenzie through a half dozen fumbles that left players privately fuming that the coaches were rewarding the rookie for his persistent gaffes.
McKenzie's mistakes weren't limited to special teams. He cost Denver a chance at points just before halftime in Week 16 when he forgot the Broncos didn't have any more timeouts, caught a pass and instead of stepping out of bounds spun back to the middle of the field and was tackled at the 20 as time expired.
If the Broncos are to rebound in 2018, a big bounce-back from their entire 2017 draft class would surely help.
"Yeah, our expectations are that that class participates a lot more this year than it did last year Cheap Jason McCourty Jersey ," Elway said. "At least that's the hope."
Butt was a projected first-rounder last year before he blew out a knee in his bowl game and slipped to the fifth round. If healthy, he could provide a big boost to an offense that was anemic last season.
"Jake seems to be running around in good shape," Elway said.
Kelly also was considered a steal as the final player selected in Round 7 because he was recovering from multiple injuries.
He could be the wild card in the quarterback room this summer because he has the chops to beat out Lynch as Case Keenum's backup, which could prompt Elway to finally move on from Lynch, whom he moved up to select in the first round two years ago only to see him languish on the bench for two years.
Somebody else who needs to shake off a shaky rookie season is Joseph. He inherited a 9-7 team that was one year removed from a Super Bowl triumph and went 5-11 with eight double-digit losses last year.
Joseph kept his job but brought in several new assistants as he tries to become the first head coach in the Super Bowl era to reach the playoffs after winning four fewer games than the one he inherited.
It would help if the 2017 class proves first impressions were wrong and if the upcoming draft class has more of an immediate impact.
The Broncos own the fifth overall pick, their highest since Elway chose superstar Von Miller with the second selection in 2011.
After publicly lobbying Elway to sign free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, Miller isn't offering his GM any advice in advance of the draft.
"I'm cool with whatever he does with that pick," Miller said.
NOTES: Elway said he was glad to be able to trade CB Aqib Talib to the Rams, one of his desired destinations. "I know that he'll feel comfortable playing for Wade (Phillips) out there. He knows that system very well," Elway said.
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