What we learned at Browns minicamp this week

Improved roster sets up several training camp competitions

Daryl Ruiter
June 15, 2018 - 12:13 am
Cleveland Browns linebacker Genard Avery (55) and defensive back Jabrill Peppers (22) and defensive back Damarious Randall (23) leave the field after minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports


Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – School’s out for summer.

The Cleveland Browns are officially on vacation.

Here’s a look at what we learned during the abbreviated minicamp this week.

Hallelujah! There will be no quarterback competition.

Tyrod Taylor will be the starter on Sept. 9 against Pittsburgh. Never have we heard as much praise from teammates, coaches and even offensive coordinator Todd Haley about a quarterback in recent memory that transcended lip service than we’ve heard the last few days about Taylor. It’s clear Taylor, who has seen the following words used to describe him this week: “fantastic, professional, leader,” has quickly earned the respect of everyone in the building.

Baker Mayfield isn’t ready.

It’s been obvious on the practice field that Mayfield isn’t ready to supplant Taylor as the No. 1 QB, but Mayfield has made enough progress to move up to the No. 2 slot which is a good sign. Not rushing the first overall pick and putting him on the field before he is ready is a luxury that is afforded the Browns thanks to having Taylor on the roster.

The Browns have turned the page on the last 3 years.

After putting together a parade-worthy worst 3-year stretch in NFL history, the Browns really have turned the page on their historically awful history that has them losers of 36 of their last 37 games played. Thanks to the infusion of 9 draft picks, at least 9 starters and potentially 8 more reserves this offseason, the burden of 0-16, 1-31 and 4-44 does not need to be carried by this year's squad. Hue Jackson has been seeking a clean slate for him and his staff while many of his players are enjoying a change of scenery and a fresh start of their own in Cleveland.

The only job up for grabs on the offensive line is left tackle.

Good luck trying to replace Joe Thomas and to whoever actually earns that right. Shon Coleman will enter training camp as the leader in the clubhouse, but Jackson has been shuffling the offensive line like a deck of cards to find his fifth man up front. Austin Corbett, the No. 33 pick in the draft, is a man without a position. Corbett, like many other reserves has been bounced around throughout OTAs and the minicamp on the line. Even Joel Bitonio has taken a few snaps over there but it doesn’t seem likely Jackson, who made it clear the other 4 positions up front are set, will create 2 holes just to fill 1.  

A lot of receiver jobs are up for grabs.

While Josh Gordon might feel the Browns have the best receiver corps in the NFL, it is very top heavy. After Gordon and Jarvis Landry, they have a lot of sorting out to do for the third through sixth roster spots in training camp. Draft picks Antonio Callaway, assuming he can stay healthy after dealing with toe and groin injuries already this offseason, and Damian Ratley will likely make the 53 meaning 2 spots remain. The most complimentary thing we’ve heard about 2016 No. 15 overall pick Corey Coleman so far is that he’s working hard. Coleman will come to camp with his career – at least in Cleveland – on the line. Ricardo Louis and Rashard Higgins – also members of the draft class of 2016 – are also fighting for a job.

Todd Haley has some juggling to do in the backfield.

Haley has 3 weapons to use at running back with the additions of Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb to go with the newly extended Duke Johnson. Hyde and Chubb will likely handle the bulk of their work on the ground while Johnson catches out of the backfield or from the slot. We also learned that Hyde’s ability to catch is something that has intrigued the Browns. If there’s anyone who can balance the backfield it’s Haley and that should be fun to watch this season.

Jabrill Peppers is not guaranteed the starting strong safety job.

While it’s been assumed that Peppers, a first round pick from 2017, would take over the starting strong safety job, hold the phone. Peppers has been sharing time with Derrick Kindred as the 2 alternated between the first- and second-team defenses this week. The goal this offseason has been to create competition throughout the roster and this will be one of the more interesting competitions to watch come camp time.

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will finally get to play his style of defense.

True story. Why you might ask? The Browns finally have players now capable of executing it. With the secondary completely rebuilt through trades, free agency and the draft combined with a healthy Emmanuel Ogbah and Myles Garrett, Williams is chomping at the bit to turn his guys loose this fall.