BEREA — No one was as excited for the Cleveland Browns selecting kicker Cade York in the fourth round of the NFL Draft in April as the team’s special teams coordinator Mike Priefer.
Excited enough that tears fell from his eyes. Literal.
Priefer gave an insight into trading up for York and the process behind it during media availability on Wednesday.
“We had talked about if there is an opportunity in the fourth round if we traded — I knew Andrew (Berry) does a great job with all of the trades and everything — but once we made that trade, I am like, ‘OK, game on,'” Priefer said. “The problem is I had to wait until Saturday. It was a tough two days, but I am not going to confirm nor deny that I shed tears of joy and then even more tears of joy when we did pick him.”
York is no stranger to kicking on the big stage. He was an LSU standout who was part of the 2019 College Football National Championship team. During his college career, he was 15-of-19 on 50-plus-yard field goal attempts. The Browns were in desperate need of a kicker after finishing last in the league in field goal percentage at .727. The Browns were high on York right from the beginning. Prior stayed on his trail throughout the draft process.
“Just by watching him kick field goals, you knew that he had a big leg,” Priefer said. “He confirmed that for us at the Combine. He confirmed it for us at his workout that I had with him, the pro day workout, and then the work we have had here. He will be fine on kickoffs. He has a big leg. He does not try to over-kick it and overdo it. He trusts his technique.”
Adding another kicker is still up in the air for the Browns as York is the lone kicker on the roster. If so, he could be on the practice squad as Priefer confirms York is his guy and he will continue to work on his consistency.
Cleveland Browns News:With new lawsuit filed, Kevin Stefanski points to research Browns did on Deshaun Watson
“I think we just have to limit his kicks,” Priefer said. “Because he is young, he wants to kick off all of the time, which is good that he wants to compete and get better, so I will make sure that I rein him back a little bit.”
Priefer is also excited about the addition of Jakeem Grant as his return specialist. Priefer, who has coached all-pro returners such as Percy Harvin and Cordarrelle Patterson in the past, says Grant is the missing piece the Browns need in the return game. Grant made the Pro Bowl for the Chicago Bears last season after he was traded from the Miami Dolphins.
“We are playing in what in my opinion is the best division in football when it comes to special teams,” Priefer said. “Every team is really good. In order to keep up with those guys, we needed to sign a good returner, and I think we did that so I am excited about Jakeem.”
Cleveland Browns News:‘Everything comes full circle’: David Njoku, Cleveland Browns happy to have future settled
Priefer also wants to see consistency at the punter spot, which is an open competition between Corey Bojorquez and Joseph Charlton. This coming after the departure of Dustin Colquitt. Priefer has spoken highly of both Bojorquez and Charlton and looks forward to seeing who will win the starting job.
“They bring a different element,” Priefer said. “They both are very, very strong. Very good directionally, which we need to do a better job with. I am excited about them.”