The Cleveland Browns have elevated running back Dontrell Hilliard from the team’s practice squad. To make room on the roster, the team waived cornerback Jeremiah McKinnon.
McKinnon was promoted to the active roster last week when cornerback Terrence Mitchell was placed on injured reserve. If he clears waivers, the Browns will likely put him back on the practice squad.
The move was made to help the special teams unit which has been one of, if not the worst special teams unit in the National Football League through five games this season.
Hilliard spent training camp/preseason with Cleveland as an undrafted rookie out of Tulane.
In the preseason, Hilliard had 30 carries for 82 yards (2.73 yards per carry) with his longest run going for 13 yards. He also had two catches for 28 yards and three kick returns for 69 yards.
In his four years at Tulane, Hilliard rushed for 2,948 yards and 30 touchdowns. He also had 70 catches for 740 yards and four touchdowns. He did some kick returning during his freshman year at Tulane
Cleveland has been trying to find a solution in the return game as Jabrill Peppers has been struggling and the team not wanting to put rookie Antonio Callaway back there full-time with his inconsistent hands and the uncertainty at the wide receiver position.
Peppers is averaging 21.25 yards per kick return and 5.44 yards per punt return with eleven fair catches so far this season.
Hilliard was clocked at a 4.42 at his pro day but if you watch his highlight tape, he has the ability to make guys miss and it seems like he plays a lot faster than that 4.42 speed.
The Browns are sitting at 2-2-1 currently and I bet there is a belief inside the organization that if the special teams unit was just a tad better, their record would be better then it is currently. Hopefully Hilliard can provide a spark in the return game because it couldn’t be much worse.