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The Browns' Tight Ends: Royal Makes it Interesting


The Cleveland Browns' acquisition of free agent tight end Robert Royal from the Buffalo Bills in the off-season should help the Team this year.

Royal's experience and his level of play over the years have earned him at least as much playing time if not more than Steve Heiden.

Heiden is 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 270 pounds, while Royal is one inch shorter and 15 pounds lighter. Heiden has 11 years of pro experience while Royal has 8. Heiden, 32 years old, is two years older than Royal. Heiden played his college football at South Dakota State while Royal played his at Louisiana State.

In 2008, NFL Network ranked Royal 25th overall among tight ends in the league, while Heiden was ranked 33rd. Royal had 33 receptions to Heiden's 23. Royal had more than 100 extra yards over Heiden. Royal scored one touchdown to nil for Heiden. Royal fumbled twice, however, while Heiden had zero fumbles. In fact, the primary concern about Royal throughout his career has been his tendency to fumble the football; he has had 5 fumbles over his career compared to just one for Heiden.

To put these statistics in some perspective, neither Royal nor Heiden is anywhere close to the premiere tight ends in the NFL. For example, the top three TEs in the NFL in 2008 (Gonzalez for the Chiefs, Cooley for the Redskins and Witten for the Cowboys) each had more than 80 catches for more than 950 yards.

But the fact remains that Royal is a more potent weapon than Heiden. In a career that has been 3 years shorter than Heiden's, Royal has scored almost as many touchdowns (12 for Royal and 13 for Heiden). And Royal is a little more versatile and agile than Heiden.

With the loss of Kellen Winslow, the Browns desperately needed another tight end. Royal should be able to fit the "Bill".

Go Browns!

-Clayton

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