Guys to Keep an Eye on Next Month
Well, the Cleveland Browns are not full of Joe Thomases and Joel Bitionios – therefore several positions are up for grabs as the team gets back on the field in Berea in July. Outside of the obvious (and annual) quarterback derby that has already been underway, there are a few key spots where one guy who can separate himself from the rest of the pack. Let’s look further into those position groups.
It appears that Shon Coleman will have the first crack at the starting lineup for the orange and brown. He is big, mean, and has a solid track record in college; however the second-year athlete has yet to prove he can make it work (consistently) in the NFL. I have faith that coach Bob Wylie will work his “magic” (pun intended) with the former Auburn star. Meanwhile Spencer Drango and Cameron Erving are waiting in the wings for their opportunity. I have mixed feelings about Erving, who has been rather underwhelming since joining the team. Drango had an up-and-down rookie campaign, but getting another training camp under his belt should help his progress.
The release of veteran Gary Barnidge opens the door completely for a guy or two to secure the starting position. The frontrunners are rookie David Njoku and Seth DeValve, who have been impressing the coaching staff up to this point. Both are receiving threats but could use some work attempting to develop as a run blocker. Randall Telfair and maybe a wildcard could earn some playing time; however, I would be surprised if the aforementioned duo does not get the lion’s share of snaps. The question might be, can DeValve hold off the first round rookie?
Under the assumption that Corey Coleman and Kenny Britt remain healthy and play up to their capabilities, the Browns will have their top two wide out options. That still leaves another athlete or two who the team will be counting on to haul in passes for the franchise. Rashard Higgins, Ricardo Louis, and Rannell Hall are three options to fill a void that was missing in 2016. Like some of the tight ends, a young athlete (Louis) has been garnering solid reviews from his supervisors. However, I am intrigued to see how Hall bounces back from a promising 2016 exhibition season prior to missing the entire year due to a broken leg.
Conclusion: There is a long way to go until the regular season kicks off in just over two months. However, the roster must be settled prior to that point in time. This would include several competitions at position groups, hopefully with the best man winning the gig. I would like to believe that these include guys who can play in the NFL and not roles just needing to be filled.