Browns uncover 3 surprise O-Line prospects early in preseason

Browns, Deshaun Watson. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]
Browns, Deshaun Watson. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union] /
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Browns, Hjalte Froholdt. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2: Scandinavian Strongman Hjalte Froholdt has a shot

Hjalte Froholdt had a very good game versus the Jags, playing in 33 offensive snaps (60 percent of the total). Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 58.5, which is good enough for a middle-tier starter. He also took seven snaps at center, so it is not crazy to think that he might make a bid to back up Pocic at that position as well. In short, he was very good, though not necessarily dominant.

It’s safe to say that Froholdt is the only NFL player to get his start playing for the Svendborg Admirals in a youth league in Denmark. But he’s actually one of us, having come to Warren, Ohio as an exchange student as a high school sophomore. He excelled in football and eventually obtained a full ride at Arkansas.

The Razorbacks played him mainly at guard, but he did play a few games at center, too. That experience probably contributed to the Browns’ decision to cross-train him as a center this summer.

Froholdt was a fourth-round draft pick of the New England Patriots, meaning he probably has talent. The Patriots are a talent-rich organization, however, so the fact that he wound up getting cut does not necessarily mean that he is a permanent draft bust. If he played well in the exhibition game versus the Jaguars there is no reason to disbelieve the eyeball test.

One thing to like about him is that he had 31 bench reps at the Combine, which compares favorably to Myles Garrett at 33. Interior linemen should have outstanding upper body strength to earn a living in the NFL. Still, he has not done anything to displace Wyatt Teller, but he could potentially replace Teller if he has to miss time for some reason.

Based on one game, they probably like him well enough to be interested in him as a backup. The real question is whether Froholdt can clear waivers so that the Browns can keep him on the practice squad for a while, or whether he needs to be on the 53-player roster to start the season in order to be retained.