The Cleveland Browns have a pretty stacked roster and while most starting positions are set, there are still a few camp battles to check on
The Cleveland Browns are fully entrenched in training camp mode over these last couple of weeks. While many positions are set in stone there are some interesting battles going on for certain spots that have many of us intrigued and trying to figure things out because we are fans and that’s what we like to do, right?
The nice caveat to all this though is that, unlike Browns training camps of yesteryear, the Browns have more than enough talent across most positions.
We know our offensive players are pretty much coming back completely, barring any major injuries. That concept in Cleveland is extraordinary in itself. Our defense and its starting 11 will be very different from a year ago. We know we have DE Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward in the mix, but with the addition of several defensive free agents including Jadeveon Clowney, John Johnson III, and Troy Hill, and also drafting players like Greg Newsome II, the defense will look different but much improved.
Let’s take a look at a few battles that are jumping off the page for many fans.
3. Wide receiver battles
The talk of the camp in the last couple of days has been all about Donovan-Peoples-Jones, the second-year, 6th round pick out of Michigan. DPJ will definitely be making the Browns team as that’s not the question.
The question is more is DPD or wide receiver Rashard “Hollywood” Higgins going to get that starting role with the offense alongside Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.?
Higgins has been with the Browns since the 2016 season. His relative breakout season was in 2018 when it seemed like he developed uncanny chemistry with then-rookie QB Baker Mayfield.
He grabbed four touchdowns and 572 reception yards on 39 catches. Then 2019 happened and he disappeared, apparently into then Brown’s coach Freddie Kitchen’s doghouse. He only had four receptions all season.
Fast forward to this training camp, Higgins tweaked his ankle a few practices ago, giving DPJ more reps with the offense and QB Mayfield. DPJ snagged a nice throw from Mayfield down the right sideline in practice the other day and Brown’s fans are going nuts more now than ever over DPJ progress. Keep in mind, this is a training camp and a scrimmage, not week one in Kansas City.
While I’m impressed the DPJ is making big strides to help the Browns, Higgins has an established connection with Mayfield already and I look for Higgins to still have that slight edge when it comes to that week one matchup in KC.
The other question is how many wide receivers will the Browns keep on their roster, especially with three or four tight ends probably securing spots in the 53 man roster?
Wide receivers Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr, Higgins, DPJ, and rookie speedster from Auburn, Anthony Swartz are all set to make the final roster but what about that 6th spot? Do the Browns keep KhaDarel Hodge, the 4th year receiver who caught eleven balls a year ago for 180 yards?
To complicate the matter, newly drafted UCLA product Demetric Felton is listed as a running back, which could doom D’Ernest Johnson and Andy Janovich in their running back roles, or could it oust Hodge from the wide receiver spot as Felton is seen at this point as doing a variety of things including kick and punt returns.