The Wildcard: Dontrell Hilliard
The third back behind Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson in 2018 was undrafted free agent Dontrell Hilliard out of Tulane. Originally a member of the practice squad, Hilliard was called up in October and appeared in 11 games. He never received a carry but did have 105 yards off nine receptions. He was also used in a wishbone formation where he threw a pass, but that was an ugly play that ended up being an interception.
While that play blew up, it showed that the Browns trust Hilliard in their offense. He could end up being a factor this season should he make any big jump. Not only does he offer a solid receiving threat as a running back, but he was decent on special teams as a kick returner.
Hilliard ended up with 264 yards on 11 returns, good for an average of 24 yards per run back. With Jabrill Peppers now in New York with the Giants, Hilliard could push for that role full time. The question then becomes what happens when Hunt returns. Can Hilliard stay on the team, and potentially force Duke out down the road? Or will they keep all four on the team?
They haven’t done that in the past, but this is easily the most talented running back corps the Browns have had since they returned to the league in 1999. What really helps Hilliard is his versatility as he can help in a multitude of ways, including lining up as a receiver, which is something he has done early on in OTAs. He’s also getting plenty of snaps at running back as Duke Johnson has elected to stay away from the voluntary workouts during OTAs.