BEREA, Ohio— Seth DeValve knows the critics are out there.
He’s heard about the analysts bashing the Browns for taking a Ivy League project in the fourth round of the draft and he’s heard fans complain that he hasn’t taken in the field in Training Camp thus far.
While he will be activated from the PUP list on Wednesday following a series of hamstring issues, DeValve still has yet to receive any of the criticism first-hand.
“I’ve actually taken my Internet browser off my phone and I very rarely am online,” DeValve said. “I don’t read it myself.”
Instead of rummaging through the disparaging comments online, DeValve has spent his time away from the field buried in the books, much like he did at Princeton.
“It is a little bit like going to school,” DeValve said. “You sit in meetings for probably half the day. We meet longer than we practice. Your notebook is open. Your playbook or textbook is open. Notes are on the screen. You’re looking at the screen and taking notes. It’s very much like going to school – lots of detail.”
Though he's worked hard on his own, DeValve has also used a tutor to assist him with the heavy workload— Pro Bowl TE Gary Barnidge.
“It’s an extremely fortunate opportunity that I have, that we all have in that room – the younger tight ends to learn from somebody who’s done it for a long time and done it very well,” DeValve said. “He’s very helpful for all of us. He asks really good questions. He processes the game on a higher level and sees things I need to learn to see about defenses.”
The 6'3, 245-pound tight end feels that he’s ready for the mental aspect of the NFL— the playbook, the terminology, the reads, etc.— but he admitted that it’s been difficult to watch young tight ends Connor Hamlett, Randall Telfer and E.J. Bibbs make a solid first impression.
He knows he’s fallen behind on the field and that he must prove himself quickly.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been a spectator for much of my time here so far,” DeValve said. “[With a] hamstring you’ll just keep re-injuring it if you try to do that so I’ve had to be patient. It’s been very difficult, very frustrating at times watching instead of playing, but my time will come.”
When DeValve does take the field on Wednesday, though he’ll be limited to individual drills, he hopes he can start to show the coaches his hybrid nature.
The 23-year-old views himself as a wide receiver and a tight end— a player that carries traits from each position.
“(I’m) one who’s able to block and big enough and strong enough to block, but really my training up to this point of my career, and what I feel best at is route running,” DeValve said. “I can be used in different areas to create different mismatch opportunities, but really being strong and fast and mobile for my size is what I bring to the table.”
Be it his mental edge or his physical gifts, DeValve is anxious to play football again. If he’s everything he thinks he is— and the Browns think he is— he’ll make quite the impression pretty quickly.
“One of the benefits of getting to sit back is you get to kinda see the whole picture offensively, schematically of what we’re doing,” DeValve said. “Physically they’re still working me back into thing so it’ll be an ongoing process however long that takes. I feel prepared mentally in my ability to do whatever I gotta get done.”
For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove