(NOTE: Yahoo! readers need to go to http://browns.scout.com to see the links in this article)
The Browns sent out their normal press release to all media outlets and Browns Backers groups this afternoon, and in it was contained the team's first "unofficial" depth chart. We have replicated the depth chart, which you can see (slightly modified) by clicking here. There are two different printable versions of the depth chart available via that link as well.
We're happy to see that there are very few changes of any note from the speculative depth chart which we developed in June. Most of the changes from our previous version of the chart involve different listings of players at linebacker positions, which can easily be moved back and forth.
Here are some of the most notable changes we noticed on the team's initial depth chart, and some quick impressions:
This is a little bit of a surprise, as Alston was extremely effective in a kick return role last season, and was assumed to be a player on the rise. That Cribbs - like Alston a quarterback turned pass catcher - is ahead of Alston on the depth chart should worry the veteran who broke through in NFL Europe last season.
2. Mike Pucillo appears to have established himself quickly
With the releases of Marcus Spears and Phil Bogle in the last couple of weeks, Mike Pucillo is the only backup listed behind Cosey Coleman at right guard. The RG position is generally more of a run blocker and a little larger than left guard, but there are several players who might be able to move into a back-up role at RG instead of Pucillo, including fellow G/C Craig Osika.
3. Amon Gordon drops behind the rookies
Amon Gordon was a fourth-round pick of the Butch Davis administration, which doesn't appear to gain him an edge on the team's "unofficial" depth chart. Gordon does have one thing going for him, however, and that's some flexibility to move into the Nose Tackle spot, where he has taken some reps. Don't assume that just because he has dropped behind Hoffman and Fraser on the depth chart at defensive end that he is going to get cut.
This is pretty predictable to anyone who has been reading this site and
listening to the radio show. The Browns coaching staff has repeatedly praised
Eason, while 2004 NFL Europe terror Corey Jackson may be the wrong body type to
play end in the team's 3-4 defense and a better fit for the speed 4-3 scheme
employed by Davis and Campo.
5. Josh Harris is losing ground
Again, this one come as a surprise to anyone tuned into the website and radio
show. Harris has been overthrowing receivers badly, and Charlie Frye has
inserted himself into the competition at back-up based on his performance last
Saturday night. This isn't over by a long shot, but we've been consistently
saying that Harris, while athletic, has underwhelmed at both the team's
mini-camp and training camp.
6. C.J. Jones needs to impress, and fast
The highlight of the 2003 training camp was this unheralded wide receiver
from Iowa, with the quick moves and lightening speed. That was a long time ago,
though, and Jones is almost the forgotten man in this years WR battle. He is
currently listed behind Cribbs and Alston on the chart, which is not a good
sign. Jones needs to look very good in the first two pre-season games.
7. Some veteran defenders are buried
There are some veteran (read: kind of expensive) players who are buried on the depth chart, which is never a good sign in these days of the salary cap. Veterans who are listed as third-string or lower on the "unofficial" chart in the press release are Dyshod Carter (4th), Sherrod Coates (4th), Michael Jameson (3rd), Justin Kurpeikis (4th). Orlando Ruff and Antwan Harris are both listed third or fourth, but are somewhat special cases since they are relatively new to the team and may still be working their way up the depth chart.
ALSO: The team did not list Braylon Edwards on their depth chart. We have him
listed behind Dennis Northcutt, although we suspect he'll wind up starting
shortly into the season as Northcutt assumes a role more typical of his time
with the Browns.