Q: Braylon Edwards has been in the system for three years and has only now come on and played like the third overall player selected in the draft. Do you believe he has turned the corner and will play at a high level now?
LA: There is nothing to suggest Edwards' on-field performance will regress. Coming off a serious knee injury suffered his first year, Edwards simply needed time for the knee to become 100%, and also gained maturity and experience. Edwards may see his overall numbers drop somewhat with the inclusion of Stallworth in the offense. If this happens, it will likely just indicate that the addition of the wide receiver is benefiting the scheme.
Q: You noted in your article the other day that it was interesting to see what was transpiring between the WR's and CB's during the practice sessions. Was there a clear-cut advantage on either the WR or CB side of the battles?
LA: It wasn't so much a clear-cut advantage that made the competition interesting, but rather the level at which the position players were practicing. Overall, the CB's did a respectable job, but I am curious as to whether we are going to actually see more press/man coverage this summer heading into the season. Indications are the defense will be more aggressive, which creates a reliance on the talent in the defensive backfield.
From what little we've seen so far, the CB's have held their own. As always at this point, the pads are not on, which changes the complexion of the game.
Assuming they stay healthy, opposing teams are going to have a difficult time matching up with the Cleveland offense. Donte Stallworth may be a very fast, athletic receiver, but watching these players going through the sessions shows how remarkably athletic Braylon Edwards really is. It has been a long time since I have watched a receiver make everything look so easy and effortless.
Q: You have talked about cornerback A.J. Davis on numerous occasions. How has he looked and does this young man have a realistic shot of making the team and contributing?
LA: Davis is cat-like quick, he is fluid and displays good coverage skills. He has worked very hard and has the opportunity to get into the system, improve his technique and face off against the likes of Edwards, Jurevicius, Stallworth, etc. If Davis shows that he has adapted to the pro game and improved his skill set in support, this team may have a legitimate keeper at cornerback. The summer camps and training camp are going to ultimately determine Davis' fate with this organization. I can add with great certainty that the organization is keeping an close eye on his progress.
EDITORS NOTE: Davis was also discussed in last night's podcast. Click here to listen.
Q: With the selection of Paul Hubbard in the draft, along with the addition of Kevin Kasper during the off-season, where does this potential logjam leave Travis Wilson? Also, how did he looked in the OTA's?
LA: Wilson is going to have to impress to secure a roster position for another year. Despite being physically gifted, Wilson has yet to put his game together. He displays flashes of the potential which led to his being a third-round pick in the draft a couple years ago, but has been inconsistent. By this, we mean that makes errors in route running and focusing on the ball when receiving. The coaching staff feels Hubbard is a player who has the potential to develop into a contributor. As for Kevin Kasper, we've said before that he could surprise some heading into training camp. He certainly has been effective during the off-season here and on the field in the beginning of the OTA's.
Q: Do you really believe wide receiver Donte Stallworth can make an impact in 2008? Stallworth is another of those first round draft selections that has never lived up to the hype.
LA: You are correct, Stallworth has not fully lived up to the promise many felt he had when drafted with the 13th overall selection. He has had moments where he displayed exceptional skill and ability, but has suffered through leg injuries (hamstrings, etc). Thus far, Stallworth has been a constant presence at the Browns training facility. Getting to be in a true team environment like Cleveland can only benefit him. If Stallworth can remain healthy, he certainly adds a presence the team has lacked opposite Braylon Edwards.