Cleveland Browns have options at right guard
The Cleveland Browns have problems on the offensive line, but there are candidates on the roster who could start at right guard
The Cleveland Browns need to acquire some new talent for the offensive line this season, but not necessarily at right guard. That spot was troublesome last year after the Browns parted ways with Kevin Zeitler and failed to develop Austin Corbett to take his place.
Eric Kush had a shot early but struggled, and was ultimately being replaced by Wyatt Teller. The Browns do have options at the right guard position. Not Hall of Famers necessarily, but realistic starting options.
Teller is thought to be a stopgap solution, and obviously there are better players available but maybe we are underselling Teller’s ability. John Dorsey gave up two draft picks (2020 fifth and sixth-round picks) to acquire Teller’s services. He might have been worth it.
Pro Football Focus graded him 55th among NFL guards, meaning he is a borderline starter. Logically he should improve in his second year with the team. It would not be horrible if he were the starter again in 2020 if things do not work out with free agency or the draft.
The second string is currently occupied by Drew Forbes from Southeast Missouri State. Forbes was drafted in the sixth round last year. The Browns spend some time trying him out at tackle, but the general feeling is that he will be better off at guard. He might have started last year, but he was injured and missed a lot of time last year. He will get a shot to knock Teller off his perch.
Also potentially available is Chris Hubbard if he is not cut. Probably he will be cut as a salary cap casualty, but if not then he should get a shot at right guard. He was known as a proverbial “coach on the field” for the Steelers, but Cleveland tried to restrict him to being a right tackle even though he weighs only 295 lbs. He was just overmatched there, but might be better at guard.
The main issue is the finances because the Browns could recover some $4.8 million by cutting him. That is a big temptation for the Browns to cut a player who is only a candidate for a starting job and not a lock.
Kendall Lamm played well when called upon last year but could not stay healthy. He could be the starting right tackle, except that most observers expect the Browns to sign or draft new talent at the tackle positions this year. But if Lamm is displaced at tackle, guard could open up for him.
Justin McCray is also on the roster. Like many other Browns linemen in recent years, he is probably a guard who has been assigned by play tackle. He has started 17 times in his NFL career, though he was not impressive in his time with the Browns. Pro Football Focus grades him as the 75th highest tackle in the NFL, which is equivalent to a decent backup player. But at guard, he might be better off.
The holes at tackle are serious enough that major surgery may be required to fix them. Those positions will get higher priority than upgrading the guard position. The Browns might have enough talent to get by, allowing them to focus on getting the tackle positions right assuming that that is their goal. Wyatt Teller, Drew Forbes and (maybe) Chris Hubbard are all potential NFL starters at right guard.