5 Things to watch in Cleveland Browns first preseason game
3. Can Dontrell Hilliard steal the show?
One of the biggest stars in the Browns training camp so far has been running back Dontrell Hilliard. He’s shown effectiveness as both a runner and receiver and even caught the attention of everyone in attendance one day as he ripped off a 51-yard touchdown recently.
Heading into camp, it was Duke Johnson who was supposed to be the change of pace back out there making these plays, but he started out the workouts by skipping voluntary OTAs as he’s been seeking a trade. Then when he did start practicing at training camp, a hamstring injury sidelined him — which also opened the door for Hilliard to shine.
Still listed as third on the unofficial depth chart, Hilliard should get plenty of snaps on Thursday, especially with Johnson not suiting up. Hilliard will have an opportunity to prove he can handle Johnson’s role full time should he be able to go out there and make plays against Washington.
Not only is he worth watching at running back, but Hilliard is listed as the primary kick returner and secondary option as the kick returner. He should get his hands on the ball a lot, which could be a great thing for him as he looks to make an impact.
Not only could this have an impact on the second-year back, but it could help Duke get what he wants. Should the front office feel better about starting Hilliard, they may be more inclined to give in to Johnson’s demands to be traded.