We made a number of changes to our depth chart following the Browns' mini-camp and quarterback school sessions. At present, there is no official depth chart, and our judgments on where players would fit are highly subjective and simply based on our own observations.
Today, we will look at the offensive side of the depth chart, and tomorrow we'll look at defense.
Here's what we changed and why:
Quarterback: The first thing we had to do was get Tim Couch removed from depth chart. Couch was officially released by the team last Friday. We moved Luke McCown up to the third QB position following a nice showing in training camp. He's likely to be the backup QB in 2005. Nate Hybl has been dropped from third to fourth based on lackluster numbers in NFL Europe.
Running Back: We have left running back the same, with Green, Suggs, and Jackson the top three. Beneath that, it's tough to tell, but we put Maddox at #4 because he's been with the team the longest and has also been running back kicks. Echemandu and Reynolds finish up the listing.
Wide Receiver: The top four at this position shake out nicely, and then it gets complicated. It was clear from the comments of the coaching staff that Frisman Jackson was setting up to be the #3 receiver before Dennis Northcutt re-signed. So, Andre Davis, Quincy Morgan, and those two take spots 1-4. Andre King is listed as the fifth receiver. After that, we've listed C.J. Jones and Richard Alston as the next two, putting Jones higher because he beat out Alston for a spot last year. After that, we've placed the Browns undrafted free agents as Jason Geathers, Chris Pittman, and Eddie Galles, in that order, based solely on our observations and "gut feeling".
Tight End: The unfortunate injury to Keith Heinrich made our listing here a bit easier, but we would have listed Heinrich as #3 on the depth chart. Kellen Winslow comes in as the #1, and his performance at the mini-camps and QB school showed that he will be an impact player. Steve Heiden is clearly second. After that, we've listed Darnell Sanders, Aaron Shea, and Chad Mustard.
Left Tackle: Ross Verba is clearly the starter here. As for his back-up, we could list either Joaquin Gonzalez (who started against the Bengals last year) or Kirk Chambers, who comes in after playing four years of left tackle at Stanford. We've listed Chambers, and put Gonzalez on the right side, although we don't know which way Davis would go if Verba was injured. Chuck Klabo was still on crutches at last observation, so Lew Dawson is placed in the third spot behind Chambers.
Left Guard: The Browns have played around with putting Kelvin Garmon here to see if there's an advantage, but we're guessing that Garmon will wind up at RG and that the team will let a starter emerge in training camp. Going into camp, Enoch Demar looks like the leader, and we would put Chad Beasley second, and Melvin Fowler third. That order will likely be jumbled up through training camp. Paul Zukauskas is also in the mix here, but we're guessing he'll wind up back at RG behind Garmon. Free agent Anthony Oakley rounds out the listing.
Center: Jeff Faine is clearly the man, and he's healthy. Behind him, we've listed Melvin Fowler and Craig Osika. Osika is a flexible player and may figure out a way to stay on the roster due to his versatility. We don't think Fowler will win a starting guard spot, but if he does, Osika's value to the Browns increases.
Right Guard: Kelvin Garmon is the choice here, unless the team discovers that the line meshes better with Garmon at LG. Zukauskas is the back-up after starting much of last year.
Right Tackle: Ryan Tucker is the starter, and we've listed Gonzalez behind him. After that, Scot Osborne has gotten some positive mention early in the off-season and UDFA Sterling Harris rounds out the list.