The Cleveland Browns released their first unofficial depth chart. The ordering of players raises more questions than it answers.
The Cleveland Browns released their first unofficial depth chart. The order at certain positions are curious and some even raise eyebrows. But this is the first unofficial depth chart and there are four preseason games to go. So, this chart should be taken as an indicator of where things currently stand with the Browns at camp.
Or does it? Fans may recall that during former head coach Mike Pettine’s regime the depth charts were created not by the coaches but by the media department. This led to reporters asking questions about the depth chart and coaches having no idea what was going on.
Here is the depth chart as it was released.
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Cornerback has one surprise. Terrance Mitchell is listed as the starter opposite Denzel Ward. Mitchell has had a good camp and deserves the spot. Hopefully this will light some fire under E.J. Gaines and T.J. Carrie. But the cornerback room looks to have a lot of depth at this point, which is a delightful change from the past.
One person not listed on the cornerback depth chart was Briean Boddy-Calhoun. Despite playing well in the slot last season, Boddy-Calhoun has been splitting time between the slot cornerback position and free safety. He is listed as a free safety behind Damarious Randall. Fans should not be concerned about this. The Browns are cross training Boddy-Calhoun to play a hybrid free safety/slot corner role. A hybrid role like this is becoming a defense’s answer to the hybrid running back/slot receiver teams like to employ.
Staying at safety, Jabrill Peppers is listed as the starting strong safety. Peppers has been injured and missed the first week of camp. He recently made it back in time for one practice and the Orange and Brown scrimmage. It is hard to believe that after a scrimmage and one practice that Peppers has supplanted incumbent strong safety Derrick Kindred. This may be a sign to not take this depth chart too seriously.
Defensive tackle is another surprise. Fan favorite Jamie Meder, who blocked the field goal that secured the only Browns win over the past two seasons, is listed ahead of Larry Ogunjobi on the depth chart. Given the level of play and versatility demonstrated by Ogunjobi, it is hard to fathom Meder getting the nod over him. But one must see how this plays out.
On the offensive side of the ball, the injury to Kevin Zeitler pushes Spencer Drango to the top of the depth chart at right guard. Drango will need to improve vastly over last year’s performance at guard (not to mention left tackle) to be a viable backup at the position. Zeitler’s injury is an example of the lack of depth on the interior offensive line.
Lastly, Peppers is listed ahead of Antonio Callaway as the kick and punt returner. If Peppers does earn the starting strong safety position, it may be in the Browns best interest to put Callaway out there to return kicks. Callaway is a young and exciting player, returning kicks may be the best way to get the ball in his hands early in the season. Expect this to change.
Depth charts are fun to look over and ask questions. But in the end, this is an unofficial depth chart. It is bound to change as the preseason progresses. Sadly, it may not even be representative of the coaches’ rankings anyway. But have fun with it! This is what being a fan is all about. Go Browns!