AFC North: Fred Davis

Ben Watson, the Cleveland Browns' starting tight end for the past three seasons, signed a three-year deal with the New Orleans Saints on Monday. While the Browns weren't expected to re-sign Watson, this officially means they'll need to find a new starting tight end.

Cleveland was supposed to address this position in free agency because the team isn't ready to turn to unproven Jordan Cameron. The options in free agency are now very limited at tight end.

The Browns were reportedly looking at Redskins free-agent tight end Fred Davis, but nothing has materialized yet. Davis' focus these days is more on a court case than free-agency. Cleveland was also interested in Brandon Myers before he signed with the Giants on Sunday. Another potential target, Dustin Keller, signed with the Dolphins on Friday. The Browns have looked at Kellen Davis, but he has a total of 37 catches the past two seasons. Watson had 37 catches in his worst season for the Browns.

Other than Fred Davis, the rest of the top 10 free-agent tight ends are gone. The remaining tight ends are the likes of Dallas Clark (47 catches last year), David Thomas (11 catches last year) and Kevin Boss (three catches last season).

I'm not sure what the Browns' plan is for the tight end position, but they'll have to act soon. If not, they'll either have to address this position early in the draft or hope Cameron develops faster than last season.
It's been a few hours since the Browns signed someone, so you know there has to be another deal brewing. Next up is apparently Redskins free-agent tight end Fred Davis.

A source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that the Browns "are serious about signing him." Davis, 27, is an athletic tight end whose playing time has been limited by injury and suspension.

This would be a strong move for the busy Browns, who have signed linebacker Paul Kruger, defensive lineman Desmond Bryant, linebacker Quentin Groves and backup tight end Gary Barnidge in the first two days of free agency. When healthy, Davis has the potential to be a playmaker. He caught only 24 passes last season before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 7.

The Cleveland media had speculated that the Browns were targeting Oakland's Brandon Myers after missing out on Tennessee's Jared Cook. The Browns are looking to upgrade from last year's starter, Ben Watson, who isn't expected to be re-signed.
Continuing a series of looking into the future, Matt Williamson of Scouts. Inc. projected the top 10 tight ends in 2015 and only one from the AFC North made the list.

The Bengals' Jermaine Gresham was ranked No. 7, which seems a little low for a tight end who made his first Pro Bowl last season. Gresham was placed behind the likes of the Vikings' Kyle Rudolph and the Redskins' Fred Davis.

You'll need an Insider subscription to view the entire piece, but here's a portion of what Williamson has to say about Gresham:
Gresham will only be 24 years old when the 2012 season begins. The best is in front of Gresham, and I expect a breakout season this year. In fact, behind A.J. Green, I expect Gresham to be the second targeted receiver in Cincinnati's passing attack.

Gresham became the first Bengals tight end since Dan Ross from the early 1980s to post two seasons of 50 receptions or more. Still, I think he was underused last season. Gresham led AFC North tight ends in receptions (56), but that number is low when you consider five tight ends caught at least 79 passes last season.



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