Cameron Ready to Answer Call

OBR's Brent Sobleski catches up with the Browns newest tight end.

The tight end position in Cleveland has become crowded.

Last season, Benjamin Watson contributed a career year for the Browns leading the team with 68 receptions for 763 yards. His counterpart, Evan Moore, made multiple impressive catches when allotted the opportunity prior to suffering a season-ending injury.

In the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Cleveland added the services of USC product, Jordan Cameron to the position - a position now filled with talent for the team's young quarterback, Colt McCoy, to exploit.

With players like Watson and Moore already on the roster, it surprised Cameron when he was drafted.

"I didn't talk to them," Jordan said in an exclusive interview with The Orange and Brown Report. "They didn't call me or work me out. I didn't even feel they were interested.

"At the combine I talked to their tight end coach (Steven Hagen). The conversation was literally all of three or four minutes. I didn't get too much interest from the Browns. When we prepared for the draft, I didn't have them on the list of interested or possibilities. They definitely weren't on it."

Clearly, the Browns and their general manager, Tom Heckert, were interested in the 6-foot-5 254-pound former basketball player.

"We like this kid," Heckert said during last Saturday's press conference. " We think he's talented and there's been some receivers or tight ends in the past that have come out that have been basketball players or that didn't have as much. This kid's got a feel. This kid, he plays. I mean he's been on the field. It's not like he's a one-year player. This guy has played football. I don't think we're looking at it as, ‘He's going to help us four years from now.' We hope he helps us this year."

Last season Cameron tallied 126 yards and a single touchdown along with the aforementioned 16 catches.

"My production was limited because USC has so many great players and athletes," Cameron said. "It's hard to find your niche and role, but I was able to stretch the field with my athleticism. I want to learn to block with better technique. I'm still pretty raw at the position, becoming a professional will help me get into this and be completely focused.

"Once I get the coaching, and I will be solely focused on playing every day and won't have school to distract me. It's big that is the only thing I am focused on, but added coaching will be the biggest thing."

The first opportunity for the tight end to receive NFL-caliber coaching came in the Shrine Game, an all-star gathering of some of the nation's top football talent. He stood out during the week's festivities.

"He has been sensational during practice, and few defenders have been able to stay with him down the field," NFL Network's Bucky Brooks, a former scout, wrote in January while attending the event. "His combination of size, speed and athleticism are exceptional for the position, and he looks like a polished product in the passing game."

The performance was duly noted by the prospect.

"It was a big week for me," Cameron said. "I was put on a pedestal with NFL coaches. I was playing against good competition, and it showed me I could play with anyone in the country. I wanted to show I was a great player. Plus, I also wanted to show my athleticism, how I can get down field and make some catches. All coaches could see what I can do."

The week in Orlando practicing in front of many NFL scouts and talent evaluators was a far cry from his unheralded roots playing basketball at Brigham Young.

"At BYU, I realized I missed the game of football, but the basketball coach wouldn't allow anyone to play both sports. I missed playing football. Then, I had the opportunity to play for coach (Pete) Carroll (at USC).

"I had to make a decision, either go on my mission or play football. I am an active participant in the LDS church. It was a big decision for our family, a hard decision. My love for football made me choose."

His difficult choice has landed him in Cleveland as he continues to evolve as a football player.

"Awesome," was the only word Cameron used to explain how he felt upon being drafted. "There is no better feeling. I'm really looking forward to it. I just want to play football and make an impact in this city.

"I really was a relief. It's such a long process. I know I can play next level. The numbers don't say it, but I'm athletic.

"I'm happy to be in this situation. It's going to be great playing in NFL with these great coaches in the west coach offense. Actually, it's a great situation for me."

The situation has been postponed due to the league's current labor situation. A situation that affects each and every draft selection who want to talk and work with their new coaches.

"I only talked with the staff for 45 minutes," Cameron said after being drafted. "I talked to the tight end coach. They plan on splitting me out and moving me around to fit in the offense. Mainly it was just small talk with coach Shurmur. He gave me Colt's (McCoy) number. I hear good things about him and Holmgren and whole staff. I'm really looking forward to meeting with them more."

Meanwhile, Cameron can simply look to his teammates for help particularly Watson and Moore.

"I can learn a lot from both," Jordan said. "They have been in the league a while. They are veterans who can show me how to be professional, how to be in meetings, and competition makes you better.

"Plus, I've been told he (Moore) moves around a bit in the offense, I may make my name a little bit with that."

Next on the docket for Jordan?

"I gotta call Colt today or tomorrow," he said, laughing.


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