BEREA, Ohio--When Pep Hamilton was asked to assess the young receivers, he singled out one in particular.
“There has been a learning curve, but at the same time, they’re working hard," Associate head coach/offense Pep Hamilton said. "They are spending a lot of hours with (senior offensive assistant) Coach (Al) Saunders just trying to digest what all we’ve put on their plate. Even so with that being said, you’ve seen flashes of all their potential. In particular with (WR) Corey Coleman, he’s made a big play or two in every practice we’ve had thus far.”
The 15th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft has made plays consistently thus far in practice. Earlier in the week, Coleman caught a short pass and faked two defenders out on his way to the end zone in live scrimmaging.
“He can score the ball," Hamilton said. "I think we saw it a couple days ago in our scrimmage when he caught a hitch route down inside the red zone area, he made two guys miss and he scored the football. That’s what we’re going to need him to do. We need a big-play threat or two or three on the perimeter, and we feel like he’s the guy who can do those things.”
Hamilton also talked about the other three rookie receivers drafted this year in Rashard Higgins, Ricardo Louis and Jordan Payton.
“On Higgins, for a young guy, his skillset is above average," Hamilton said. "He can do a lot of things with regards to beating press coverage and running routes. His routes are fairly detailed for a young guy and he’s still a work in progress, but he’s shown tremendous progress over the course of training camp."
Hamilton gave Louis a strong endorsement.
"Ricardo Louis, big strong wide out," he said. "He reminds me a lot of (Titans WR) Andre Johnson, someone that I had a chance to work with last year. When I say that, I say a poor man’s Andre Johnson. Let me put it in perspective."
On Payton, Hamilton said.
"I think he missed some time in the spiring because of UCLA's graduation, but he's working hard to get caught up with the rest of the guys, but he's done some good things. "
Hamilton said ultimately the gauge of the young receivers growth will be tested in the preseason.
"They're working hard, and we'll find out when we play a game just where they are."
McCown Still Here: Despite swirling rumors about the possibility of QB Josh McCown being traded to the Cowboys, he was on the field and led a touchdown drive in full team scrimmage. He hit TE E.J. Bibbs for the score after connecting on several passes over the middle in the seam. McCown clenched his first after the score in celebration. He then threw another touchdown pass to TE Connor Hamlet late in practice.
"There’s nothing to it as far as we’re concerned," Hue Jackson said after practice.
Greco Back: After missing the first five days of training camp with a hamstring injury, OL John Greco returned to practice and was back in with the starting unit at right guard.
Drango Up: OL Spencer Drango was moved to right tackle and took some snaps with the first team, while OL Alvin Bailey took snaps with the second team at guard. Drango was a fifth-round pick this year. OL Shon Coleman (third round) was with the second team.
Erving, Hawkins Sidelined: OL Cameron Erving (elbow) and WR Andrew Hawkins (hamstring) were new editions to the side with trainers. OL Garth Gerhart replaced Erving in the lineup. Others still sidelined: DB Joe Haden (ankle), WR Josh Gordon (quad), TE Randall Telfer (undisclosed), DB Donald Jones (hamstring), TE Seth DeValve (hamstring), DB Trey Caldwell (hamstring) and DL Kyle Rose (undisclosed).
Scrimmage Friday: The Browns will have a controlled scrimmage Friday night in Berea from 6-8:30 pm and then practice at Ohio State on Saturday from 3-5:30 pm.
Browns Add Two Backs: The Browns have signed FB Robert Hughes and RB Rajion Neal. In addition, the team waived FB Patrick Skov.
Hughes is 5-10, 257 pounds and is officially entering his third NFL season out of Notre Dame. Originally signed by Chicago as an undrafted free agent in 2011, he has appeared in 22 games with five starts with Arizona (2012-13) and Indianapolis (2014). He has eight carrier carries for 16 yards and 10 receptions for 149 yards. Last season, he spent time on the Cardinals’ practice squad. A native of Chicago, Ill, he graduated from Hubbard High School.
Neal is 5-11, 211 pounds and is officially in his first NFL season out of Tennessee. In June, he participated in the Browns minicamp on a tryout basis. Originally signed by Green Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2014