BEREA, Ohio--Most thought when the Browns drafted Shon Coleman at the top of the third-round (76th overall) in 2016 he would immediately step in and replace Mitchell Schwartz, who left during free agency.
However, after a slow recovery from MCL surgery before the 2016 NFL Draft, Coleman never threatened to start a game. He only played at right tackle in the season finale against the Steelers after Cameron Erving was injured. However, Coleman said that one game's experience really helped him a lot.
“I feel way more comfortable," Coleman said. "The practices the weeks before, the coaches could see I was getting better. That game I definitely took a step forward."
Coleman (6-7, 310) has been running with the first team at right tackle and has been filling in for Joe Thomas, when he's rested at left tackle. Coleman and Erving are the leading contenders to be the starting right tackle, replacing Austin Pasztor.
Coleman was asked how the competition is going.
“We’ve both been out there grinding, trying to get the best out of both of us," he said. "It will be interesting to see how it plays out. We both can get better.”
Erving was asked if he viewed Coleman as the competition.
“I am guessing so," he said. "All I can do is focus on me. Whatever happens after that, happens.”
Coleman said having to play left and right tackle hasn't bothered him. In fact, he said he feels left tackle is his best position.
“Just being a better player overall," he said. "I’m a much more valuable player knowing how to play left and right tackle. Left side is the best side I’m on, but obviously I’ve been working a lot on right tackle, to get better at that side and being valuable at both sides at the same time.”
It was brought up to Coleman that top pick Myles Garrett said that Coleman was the toughest opponent he faced in college. That's a pretty good endorsement coming from the No. 1 player picked in the 2017 NFL Draft.
“We go way back," Coleman said about Garrett. "Auburn and Texas A&M is a big rivalry. Me game-planning for him back in college, he helped me get better. He’s definitely a great player, obviously, so we’re out here trying to get each other better.”
Coleman feels he has become much stronger this off-season and that he is ready for the rigors of the NFL.
“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better," Coleman said. "This offseason was big for me, just getting bigger, stronger. Capitalize on that last game I had. The coaches definitely see I’ve been working on my game. That’s been a big thing for me, just getting better."
Bitonio Back: OL Joel Bitonio was off the stationary bike and doing a little individual work during the first day of minicamp. It is the first time this off-season that Bitonio has been on the field after having Lisfranc surgery to repair his foot during last season. Bitonio played the first five games in 2016 before suffering the season-ending injury. The Browns signed him to a multi-year extension during the off-season. The fact that Bitonio was on the field is a good sign that he will be ready for the season opener.
Garrett Full Go: Before the start of practice, DL Myles Garrett said he will be 'full go' for minicamp practices after being limited with what has been reported as a 'sore foot'. True to his word, Garrett was on the field and practicing on Day 1. WR Kenny Britt was back practicing after missing the OTA's last week.
Coleman Close: WR Corey Coleman was not practicing on the first day of minicamp after suffering a hamstring injury and another undisclosed injury during the OTA's. Hue Jackson said he was very close to practicing.
“Corey is very close," he said after practice. "He is close. I don’t want to get into what it is. I don’t think there is any need to. He will be ready to go when the time comes. Like I said before, we need him to go out there and if I needed to push him through it, we could. He is closer to playing than he is not to playing. He will be out there very soon I anticipate. Like I said, when we get back, he will be ready to go. If we decide to stick him out there before then, then I will talk to the medical staff and see where we are.”
Others on the stationary bikes were: OL Austin Reiter, OL John Greco, OL Joe Thomas, TE J.P. Holt and OL J.C. Tretter. Coleman did participate in some of the walk throughs during team drills.
Big Joe: Browns Joe Thomas was tabbed as the 25th best player in the NFL according to NFL Network's annual Top 100 NFL players. Thomas was rested during the first practice of minicamp and was on the stationary bikes with trainers.
New Guys: The Browns added two players to the roster on Monday in WR Richard Mullaney and LB Deon King. Mullaney (6-2, 204) is wearing No. 83, while King (6-2, 220) is wearing No. 56. King is in his second season and he played six games in 2016 with the Colts and Chargers, while Mullaney is a first year player from Alabama. He was in training camp with the Cowboys.
Quick Hitters: The QB's rotation was the same as in the OTA's in individual drills with QB Cody Kessler, QB Brock Osweiler, QB Kevin Hogan and QB DeShone Kizer taking turns in that order. During team drills, it was Kessler, Osweiler and Kizer taking some reps with the ones and two's...Kizer had some impressive throws down the field, including a 20-25 yard out pattern throw to WR Ricardo Louis, but was intercepted by LB Jamie Collins...Kessler had three passes deflected or batted down at the line of scrimmage...DB Jabrill Peppers is now wearing No. 22, previously worn by DB Tyvis Powell... Powell, who was cut by the Browns last week, signed with the Colts. Powell was released hours before he was to throw out the first pitch at the Cleveland Indians game that day.