The Browns released their first depth chart of training camp, which means the organization filled their league obligation.
Head coach Mike Pettine pretty much discarded the release as being something they had to do and the depth chart could change at any moment. For the time being, the third preseason game has been targeted as the point when the depth chart should be meaningful.
With that, theOBR has learned the Browns based on early camp evaluations could see the following occur on the defensive side of the ball:
- Rookie CB Justin Gilbert continues to shine, but Buster Skrine isn’t shying away from the competition. Skrine has been step-for-step with Gilbert in camp, which is only a positive development for the Browns defensive backfield.
- Recently acquired S Jim Leonhard has taken reps at both safety positions since joing the Browns last week and will be on the 53-player roster.
- TE Jim Dray has had a good camp to date and is proving to be a viable option as the second TE for the Browns. Gary Barnidge has caught the eye of the staff in recent sessions while working with the second team offense.
- Much maligned RT Mitchell Schwartz has been having a very solid camp.
- Backup LT Martin Wallace has shown steady improvement. His footwork is much improved and the lineman has worked to gain improved leverage/positioning and use of his hands.
- The Browns are seeing, veteran RG John Greco is better at the point of attack right now than second-year lineman Garrett Gilkey, but Gilkey has displayed upside ability to gain the second level. Greco may win the immediate battle, but Gilkey may ultimately win the war later in the season.
- The Browns are going to have a couple difficult decisions in the coming weeks at the WR position. Willie Snead, Taylor Gabriel and Charles Johnson have flashed on numerous occasions, with Snead being an all-around receiver, Gabriel showing great quick-twitch ability and Johnson being a long, physical type presence.
- After looking good in rookie camp and OTA sessions, Jonathan Krause has come to life the past couple practices.
- Excluding Josh Gordon from the equation for the time being, Miles Austin, Nate Burleson and Andrew Hawkins would be the starting WR’s. If Gordon is on the active roster when the season starts, he, Austin and Hawkins would be the starters based on information theOBR has received.
- RB Isaiah Crowell garnered plenty of interest as an UDFA, but chose to come to Cleveland due to the interest and discussions he had with the FO. The Browns are not surprised Crowell has come in and worked diligently since rookie camp. The belief is Crowell can play himself onto the roster, as it is unlikely he can be slid onto the practice squad.
- The Browns staff has been encouraged by the work and development of rookie QB Johnny Manziel, but at this time the consensus remains Brian Hoyer is the starter with plenty of camp and preseason action ahead of them.
- FS Jordan Poyer is pushing Tashaun Gipson. There hasn’t been much focus or talk about the FS spot, but the knee injury that shelved Gipson a few days put a spot-light on Poyer and how well he has performed in camp.
- Ahtyba Rubin is the starter at NT, but the Browns defensive front-seven will change so much due to scheme, numerous players will fill various roles. A DT in 2013, Phil Taylor will now see time at DE and NT. Billy Winn and John Hughes will man the RDE spot, with Desmond Bryant at LDE.
- The Browns have a bit of a void behind ILB Karlos Dansby. Rookie ILB Christian Kirksey is likely to start next to Dansby, with 2013 season starter Craig Robertson as the backup. Darius Eubanks and Eric Martin will see reps inside as has Zac Diles.
- Interesting is the state of the Browns OLB spots. Barkevious Mingo and Jabaal Sheard have had good camp sessions, while Paul Kruger has been solid but has supplied little pressure to date. The Browns note the scheme will enable all three players to be fixtures within the defense, but based on the look to this point, Mingo and Sheard could supply explosiveness to a defense looking to create pressure.