At the National Football League (NFL) Draft a week ago in Memphis, Tennessee, Bahamian tight end Mavin Saunders was not one of the players selected, but less than a week later, he received a rookie minicamp invitation with the up-and-coming Cleveland Browns. The camp will get underway today in Cleveland, Ohio, and run through Sunday, so Saunders’ dream of playing in the NFL lives on.
After not being drafted, he said he was not disappointed. He has been training hard in Houston, Texas, and Tallahassee, Florida, over the last few months.
Saunders said that the Browns are familiar with his style of play based on what he did in college.
“The Browns know about me from my film in college and the few all-star games I went to. They invited me to camp to get an opportunity to make a roster spot. Immediately after the draft, the Browns called my agent Jimmy Gould and offered the invite,” Saunders said.
The camp will include drafted and undrafted rookies, as well as players invited to camp on a trial basis. He knows that it will be tough but he is willing to do whatever they need him to do to make the team.
“I am willing to do whatever the Browns need me to do to help them reach their goals,” Saunders said.
The 24-year-old added that if he is not signed by the Browns he will have another opportunity with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of realizing his dream. The Bucs have expressed interest as well.
The former Florida State University (FSU) Seminoles player and University of Kansas Jayhawks player said that his support system has helped him to stay motivated.
“I have a lot of support and they send prayers my way daily,” said Saunders.
The Browns are one of the teams that have garnered a lot of attention in the offseason, particularly because of the trade for standout wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. They also have quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Jarvis Landry at key skilled positions. They are expected to make a splash in the league this year after having losing seasons dating back to the 2008-2009 season. They were winless in the 2017-2018 season, sporting a 0-16 win-loss record. Last year they went 7-8-1. The last time the Browns made the playoffs was in the 2002-2003 season when they lost in the wildcard round to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
For the Jayhawks, the 6’ 5” 225-pound player scored his only touchdown of the season against the West Virginia Mountaineers back on October 6, 2018. He caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Peyton Bender at the end of the first quarter in that game.
On the season, Saunders had just four receptions for 32 yards. His longest reception of the season was that 18-yard touchdown catch against the Mountaineers.
Saunders played for the Seminoles from 2014-2017. As a Seminoles player, he had a career day in 2016 against the North Carolina Tar Heels, finishing with three catches for 74 yards, including a 33-yard reception.
Saunders started playing football in his junior year at Kincaid School in Houston, Texas. He was a four-star football recruit coming out of high school, and also played basketball there.