Here's some more exclusive news from BerniesInsiders.com.
On Tuesday, the Browns tried out several players like they often do early in the season. Here are the names of three of them that we know of:
So, who are these guys?
Randall was in the draft last year, so we've got a full dossier on him, which we'll share later in the article.
George Layne is an interesting tryout selection, as he plays a position that the Browns have been trying to figure out for two years: Fullback. He was the blocking back for LaDanian Tomlinson when he was at Texas Christian, and then was drafted onto the Falcons in 2002.
Layne wound up playing a key role in the Browns making the playoffs last year, as Corey Fuller stripped him of the ball on the Falcons 11-yard line in that crucial game. After Gerard Warren recovered the fumble, Kelly Holcomb hit Kevin Johnson with a TD pass that put the Browns in the lead and turned the tide.
But Layne played a more favorable role in the Falcon's defeat of the Packers in the AFC playoffs. Playing on the Falcons special teams, Layne recovered a muffed Eric Metcalf punt near the Packer's end zone. Michael Vick converted a touchdown shortly thereafter, pushing the score to 21-0 Falcons, and the surprising rout was on.
Things started to look bad for the 5'10" 250-pound fullback on draft day, however. Falcons Head Coach Dan Reeves selected FB Justin Griffith in the fourth round - well ahead of where draft experts had him slotted - to create some competition for Layne. The new draft pick won out, and Layne was allowed to seek new employment opportunities. A strained quadriceps muscle, which kept him out of the Falcons pre-season game with the Browns, didn't help his chances.
The Browns appear to be unhappy at Fullback, despite the solid pre-season
performance of Kevin McLeod. While McLeod made the final roster, he was left
inactive for the Browns opener with the Colts. In retrospect, with the Browns
unable to turn multiple first-and-goal situations into touchdowns, the team's
lack of enthusiasm for their fullback may have changed the outcome of the game.
While the team has expressed that Aaron Shea and other tight ends can serve in
the role, the typical physical build of a tight end and a fullback is quite
different. Layne's size put him more in the traditional fullback mold.
Luis Almanzar is one of those players who has bounced around on the fringes of the NFL the last couple of years.
A defensive tackle out of SW Missouri State, Almanzar was signed and quickly dropped by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He then spent some time with the St. Louis Rams in 2002, and was waived by the team late in the Summer. From looking at Howard Balzer's articles on the Rams on GridironGateway.com, Almanzar didn't appear to be a strong candidate to make the final roster, but got significant playing time during the exhibition season.
After leaving the Rams, Almanzar was signed by the Seattle Seahawks early in 2003. He was assigned to Frankfurt of NFL Europe. While there, Almanzar was a contributor of the solid Frankfurt defense, registering three sacks during the short NFLE season.
Almanzar came closest to making a final roster this year, as he was in the last wave of cuts by the Seattle Seahawks, and registered some good plays in the pre-season. He is big at 294 pounds, but with a deep Browns defensive line, one has to assume that it would require quite an improvement in his skills to make the roster. The Browns currently have defensive end Corey Jackson on their practice squad.
Curtis Randall, a linebacker out of Louisiana Tech, was available to the draft this year, but fell through and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Randall was an All-Conference linebacker during his senior season, accumulating thirteen tackles for a loss, three sacks, and five pass defenses.
Here is our dossier on Randall. For more information, read TFY's Scouting Report on Randall.
As a note, Browns fans can expect to see more thorough dossiers on potential draft choices, like the one below, as we go even harder in 2004 to cover the NFL draft.
Louisiana Tech University
6'02", 221 lbs
Positives… Has good overall muscle development, quick feet and good agility…Maintains balance on the move, getting up quickly when cut down…Uses his hands with force to protect himself…
Recognizes the running plays easily, showing a sharp burst to the ball…Has the acceleration to quickly cover ground…Shows good depth and quickness in his zone pass drops…Effective coming off the edge on the blitz…Stays low in his pads and extends his arms properly to wrap tackle…Can get to the quarterback in a hurry when penetrating the backfield.
Negatives…His slight frame causes him to get engulfed by the larger blockers in attempts to fill the rush lanes…Slow to flow to the plays in the short area passing game…Does not show good explosion breaking on the ball…Lacks natural hands for the interception…Not a physical hitter, who relies more on technique to make the play…Needs to use his hands better when trying to shed blocks.
Former collegiate defensive end who made a smooth adjustment to playing weak-side outside linebacker as a senior…Three-year starter who collected 196 tackles (104 solos) with nine sacks for minus 75 yards, 29 stops behind the line of scrimmage, seven pass deflections, five forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 46 games.
All-Western Athletic Conference first-team selection in his first year starting at weak-side outside linebacker…Recorded a career-high 77 tackles (47 solos) with three sacks for minus 25 yards and 14 stops for losses of 43 yards…Deflected five passes and caused a fumble.
- Oklahoma State: Opened the season with 6 tackles (4 solos), a 9-yard sack of QB Josh Fields and a pair of stops behind the line of scrimmage.
- Clemson: Made 3 hits with a stop for a 2-yard loss.
- Tulsa: Added 4 tackles, 2 stops for minus 5 yards and a deflected pass.
- Penn State: Totaled 4 tackles, including one that stopped tailback Larry Johnson behind the line of scrimmage.
- Texas A&M: Tackled fullback Joe Weber, causing a fumble and posted 5 hits.
- Rice: Caused a fumble when he hit QB Kyle Herm and delivered 7 tackles (5 solos).
- Nevada: Caused another fumble when he tackled receiver Nate Burleson and was in on 5 hits.
- Southern Methodist: Added a pass deflection, an 8-yard sack and 6 tackles (4 solos).
- San Jose State: Posted 8 tackles, including one for a 4-yard loss.
- Boise State: Made 2 stops for losses, 5 tackles and a pair of pass break-ups.
- Texas-El Paso: Registered 9 tackles (8 solos), an 8-yard sack, 3 stops for losses of 12 yards and a pass deflection.
All-Western Athletic Conference second-team choice…Louisiana Sportswriters Association All-State second-team choice…Started eleven games at weak-side defensive end…Recorded 49 tackles (20 solos) with three sacks for minus 15 yards and nine stops for losses of 29 yards…Had a pair of pass deflections, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
- Fresno State: Registered 5 tackles and a sack.
- Nevada: Forced a fumble and had a sack with 5 hits.
- Rice: Returned a fumble recovery 65 yards for a touchdown.
- Kansas State: Recorded 5 tackles with a sack and 4 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
- Texas-El Paso: Added another 5 tackles.
- Clemson (Humanitarian Bowl): Had 3 hits.
Started every game at defensive end, recording 51 tackles (28 solos) with two sacks for minus 18 yards and four stops for losses of 13 yards…Caused and recovered a fumble.
Tulsa…Posted a season-high 10 tackles and a sack.
Appeared in ten games (did not play vs. Sam Houston State)…Made 19 tackles (9 solos) with a 17-yard sack and two stops for losses of 20 yards.
Redshirted as a freshman.
No injuries reported.
CAMPUS AGILITY TESTS
4.66 in the 40-yard dash…375-pound bench press…34.5-inch vertical jump…9'6" broad jump…
31 ½-inch arm length…8 ½-inch hands…Right-handed…10/18 Wonderlic score.
Attended Central Catholic (Morgan City, La.) High…Played wide receiver, defensive end and wing back for Coach Hud Jackson...Three-time All-State selection and four-time All-District...Was also named an All-American.
General Studies major…Born Curtis Mandell Randall on 8/06/79 in Columbus, Georgia…Resides in Morgan City, Louisiana.