In early May, under the bright and sunny skies of Berea, Ohio, every drafted rookie has the appearance of unlimited potential, and even tryout players from Youngstown State have a chance.
With what appeared to be a local record number of media members looking on, first-round picks Brady Quinn and Joe Thomas got their first taste of professional football under the tutelage of Romeo Crennel and a largely-new offensive coaching staff. During the hour-long outdoor session in shirts and shorts, the new Browns barely worked up a sweat as they began to receive the attention and scrutiny they will have to endure as the newest hopes of the Cleveland Browns franchise.
The two first rounders were joined by fellow draft picks Eric Wright, Brandon McDonald, Melila Purcell, Chase Pittman, and Syndric Steptoe, as well as nine rookie free agents and nearly three dozen walk-on tryout players. During the hour, the team largely worked on simple positional and unit drills as Browns coaches eyed the newcomers.
The outdoor practice was just minor part of the schedule for the team's new players, who have gone through physicals, some meetings, and had a glance at the playbook over the last couple of days.
Even the team's top draft pick, left tackle Joe Thomas, found himself getting corrected by the coaching staff as the practice went on. "We were just trying to learn the offense and every offensive line coach is going to have his different techniques and different ways he teaches things", Thomas told reporters. "That's the stuff you try and pick up on the first couple days, just how he wants to tweak the way you play the game."
QUACKING PASSES: With all eyes on QB Brady Quinn, there was some concern as the QB threw a couple of shaky-looking long passes into a less-than-hurricane force wind. Quinn later explained that he was working with QB coach Rip Scherer specifically on throwing "low trajectory" passes into the wind.
BROWNS SIGN LINEBACKER: The Browns announced that they have signed linebacker Jason Short, who has spent part of three years with the Philadelphia Eagles, largely on special teams. Short played high school football at Riverside High School in Painseville, Ohio.
TRYING OUT: For a team which feels it has strengthened the bottom part of their roster, the Browns certainly didn't hesitate to bring in a large number of walk-ons who are attempting to make the team. Attending the camp on a tryout basis were Dan Brooks (Wingate), Curtis Brown (BYU), Shelton Bynum (North Carolina), Willie Byrd (Miles), Damarea Caldwell (Southern Arkansas), Joey Card (Miami-Ohio), Matt Clark (Auburn), Jon Conto (Sacred Heart), Nick Davila (Cincinnati), Bryson Davis (Mississippi State), Ryan Glasper (Boston College), Willie Idlette (Wake Forest), Jerome Jackson (Michigan), Kenny Kendal (Indiana), Lawrence Lilly (Mississippi), Cliff Louis (Morgan State), Pat Lowery (North Carolina State), Kalvin Moore (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Drew Norman (Ohio State), Devon Parks (Bowling Green), Jon Peattie (Miami-Florida), Jason Perry (Youngstown State), Jim Phelan (Youngstown State), Najah Pruden (Kent State), Jared Scruggs (Rice), Kevin Sears (Auburn), Elbert Schumake (Pikeville), Tre Smith (Auburn), Tyrell Smith (Minnesota-Mankato), Antwan Stewart (Tennessee), Deriontae Taylor (Louisville) and J.R. Tolver (San Diego State).
UNDER THE RADAR: Some second-year players were also seen out on the field, if unannounced by the team. Among them were DB Therrian Fontenot, acquired from the Packers during last summer's training camp.