Depth at Tight End

This is the fourth part in a series by Fred Greetham previewing the Browns as they enter training camp

Jordan Cameron had his coming out party in 2013 that ended in a trip to the Pro Bowl. He is in the final year of his rookie contract and wants to put up big numbers and keep him among the NFL’s elite tight ends.

Gary Barnidge and Jim Dray give the Browns good depth at blocking and both can catch the ball, as well. MarQueis Gray is a very athletic player, who is learning to block and catch the ball. He was the Browns ‘wildcat’ quarterback in 2013 and could be a factor in the offense in 2014.

Tight Ends: (MarQueis Gray, Jim Dray, Gary Barnidge, Jordan Cameron, James Oboh)

#47 MarQueis Gray (6-4, 242, 24, 2nd year, Minnesota) – A gifted athlete who the Browns picked up after final cuts in 2013. The former college quarterback has been tried at fullback/H-back, as well as tight end. Last year, Gray was used out of the ‘wildcat’ where he carried the ball six times for 43 yards. He also caught one pass for 15 yards.

#81 Jim Dray (6-5, 255, 27, 5th year, Stanford) – Signed as an unrestricted free agent, Dray had a productive year with the Cardinals in 2013 with 26 receptions for 215 yards and two touchdowns. He figures to be used in two and three tight end sets and is a solid blocker.

#82 Gary Barnidge (6-6, 250, 28, 7th year, Louisville) – Barnidge caught 13 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns in his first season with the Browns, including a 40-yard score against the Patriots.

#84 Jordan Cameron (6-5, 249, 25, 4th year, USC) – Cameron is coming off a Pro Bowl season where he caught 80 passes for 917 yards, including seven touchdowns. He is expected to be a key cog in the passing game, which likely will be missing last year’s leading receiver Josh Gordon. Cameron has improved in blocking but is primarily a receiver.

#88 James Oboh (6-4, 250, 22, Rookie, Towson St.) – Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent from the same school as third round draft choice Terrance West. He will try to impress and find a spot on the roster or practice squad.

Summary: Cameron is in the final year of his contract and hopes to put together another big year like he did in 2013. Barnidge was solid in a backup role, but the Browns chose to go after Dray early in free agency to provide more depth and to allow them to line up with three tight ends on occasion. Barnidge and Dray are more adept at blocking and can be used in place of a fullback, as can Gray.

(Next: Offensive Line)

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