Cameron Erving is proof that the NFL draft is one big crapshoot.
The former first-round pick out of Florida State was taken at No. 19 overall in 2015 by a Cleveland Browns team hoping to strengthen its offensive front. He checked all the boxes as a pro-ready center, and he was versatile enough to move up and down the line.
Moving up and down the line is exactly what he’s been doing over the last two years with the Browns, as he’s struggled to settle into the offense. The Browns literally did everything they could to keep him relevant in the offense enough to maintain a spot on the roster. He has played guard, tackle and center. Despite his valiant efforts as a versatile Swiss army knife, he was beaten out for a job at every turn.
No one said being an offensive lineman was easy, especially for a team that had six different quarterbacks in the first seven weeks of the 2016 season, but it is obvious Erving is struggling to live up to his first-round draft status. The Browns had obviously seen enough. They shipped him to Kansas City on Wednesday in a trade for a fifth-round draft pick.
In early August, Browns head coach Hue Jackson actually commended Erving for being one of the few players who stood out in the early practices. Then came the bad slate of preseason games with multiple penalties and missed blocks that obviously changed Jackson’s mind.
“(Offensive tackle) Shon Coleman has had a really good camp, not that I didn’t know about him, but he was coming off of a knee injury and improving, and [offensive tackle] Cam (Erving),” Jackson told Cleveland’s 247 Sports. “Cam has done a great job at tackle. Both of those guys have really jumped out to me because we needed to see him go from center to tackle. I think he has proven that he is worthy of playing out there.”
Now, Erving will have to prove he’s worthy of playing somewhere else.
He joins a Chiefs team that is already set along the offensive front, with the exception of left guard, which could potentially be open if Parker Ehinger isn’t back by the start of the season. Ehinger is still working his way back into the offense after recovering from a torn ACL.
There could be a chance for Erving to step in as a starter and prove the old Swiss army knife has some use after all.