CLEVELAND (AP) — Cade York has already kicked out his competition with the Browns.
Cleveland released kickers Chase McLaughlin and Chris Blewitt on Monday, two days after selecting York, one of college football’s best kickers, in the fourth round of the NFL draft to upgrade its wayward kicking game.
York, who made 15 of 19 field-goal tries beyond 50 yards at LSU, was the highest kicker drafted since 2016.
The Browns have been plagued by poor placekicking in recent years. McLaughlin started well last season, making his first nine field-goal tries before struggling and finishing 15 of 21. He went 36 of 37 on extra points.
Blewitt was signed to Cleveland’s practice squad late last season.
York’s addition gives the Browns a kicker they hope can match up with the others in the AFC North: Baltimore All-Pro Justin Tucker, Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell and Cincinnati’s Evan McPherson, whose stellar rookie season was a key to the Bengals making it to the Super Bowl.
York made 54 of 68 field-goal tries and 164 of 168 extra points over three years at LSU. His career-best 57-yarder beat Florida in 2020 when McPherson kicked for the Gators.
The Browns nabbed him in the fourth round with the 124th overall pick.
“Realized that is a little high for where kickers typically go,” general manager Andrew Berry said. “But we do think that he is an excellent prospect and has a good chance to be a good kicker for a long time.”