The Cleveland Browns did something different on Saturday.
Something similar to a move by the Buccaneers in 2016.
Spoiler alert: that “something” by the 2016 Bucs failed spectacularly.
Even still, the Browns spent a fourth-round pick to address one of the team’s biggest needs heading into draft weekend.
With No. 124, the Browns selected Cade York out of LSU.
But don’t expect him to line up on the line next to Myles Garrett anytime soon.
That’s because Cade York is a kicker.
York’s take in the fourth round is the highest any kicker has gone since Roberto Aguayo went in the second round to the aforementioned Tampa Bay in 2016.
Why take a kicker?
In short, the team needed it.
In the offseason, the Browns managed to re-sign Chase McLaughlin, but thankfully, GM Andrew Berry’s search for an answer didn’t end there.
Last season, McLaughlin converted less than 72% of kicks last season, 23rd in the league among kickers who played at least 16 games.
As a team, the Browns had the league’s worst kicking unit.
In today’s game, that’s simply not going to cut it.
We’re coming off a season in which kicking played a major part in one team’s ascension to the Super Bowl.
On more than one occasion, the Bengals’ Super Bowl run hung by a thread.
A shoelace, if you will.
Evan McPherson proved that not only does a solid kicker provide relief, but they can provide real wins.
The Browns are hoping Cade York can provide the same.
He was ESPN’s top-rated kicker coming out of college this year.
The All-American crushed it at LSU, going six-of-seven from fifty-plus last season.
He also should poise when it mattered most.
Two years ago, York drilled a 57-yarder to send the Florida Gators packing.
Oh yeah, he made the kick through the fog.
And the Gators?
No. 6 in the nation at that time.
Cade York's 57-yarder in the fog to upset Florida was AWESOME.
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) April 30, 2022
The Browns need that level of mental fortitude, composure, and consistency on special teams.
Oh, and his foot strength?
Not much a question, frankly.
Interesting nugget on new Browns kicker Cade York. LSU had someone else handle kickoff duties for some reason. When I inquired about it inside their building, I was told that he regularly kicked the ball into the stands when practicing. Powerful leg to say the least.
— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) April 30, 2022
Considering that over 25% of the time last season, the Browns’ kicking unit left points on the field, spending such a high pick on a kicker is probably warranted.
Plus, the other options available didn’t immediately address a need like York.
The only other player the Browns might have looked at in that spot was Calvin Austin III, a wide receiver from Memphis.
Perhaps it is a little concerning that the Browns are using yet another draft pick on a kicker.
In 2017, the team took Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez in the seventh round.
Two years later, Oklahoma’s Austin Seibert heard his name called by the Browns in the fifth round.
Neither one is still rostered on the Browns.
Nonetheless, the team did well to address a clear need.
Let’s just hope York’s NFL career is a little better than Aguayo’s.