Notes from the sidelines during Thursday morning's mini-camp session...
* Veteran WR Braylon Edwards displayed his ability on Thursday morning. The receiver hauled in numerous passes, including a 35-yard reception over Terry Cousin and another 30-yarder against the zone. The exhibition climaxed a productive mini-camp for the receiver. While Edwards displayed his play-making ability a season ago, the WR appears to be working on the facets of the game which will elevate his status, such as precision route running and improved hand-eye fundamentals.
* Looking at TE Kellen Winslow on the practice fields, you could never tell that he has suffered through some tough physical issues. The tight end is running extremely well and is fluid. Winslow is really stretching for passes in the practice sessions, something which became an issue at points last season due to a shoulder injury and constant knee woes.
* The lights may have come on for WR Travis Wilson. While it may sound like we are beating the Wilson drum in the practice sessions, the young receiver has worked diligently to improve his play and status on this team. Wilson has made numerous difficult receptions, while only dropping a few balls thrown his way. The main difference in Wilson this season appears to be confidence. It helps that he knows where he is supposed to be and how to run a route. The mental lapses have been minimal for the WR.
* Kevin Kasper, a veteran WR looking to make the team, has had a solid off-season training activity period. Kasper has been effective coming out of the slot and adds quickness to the Cleveland passing game.
* While all the usual suspects have gained notice in these sessions, one player that has been solid, smooth and far from overwhelmed by the NFL camp experience is rookie Nate Hughes from Alcorn State. Hughes, a long-shot to make the team, has been impressive in individual drills and in team practive sessions. Hughes has adequate size, speed and quickness, but stands out due to his ability to seperate and catch the balls with his hands - an issue for many young players.
* Depth at the offensive tackle position is a concern due to the Ryan Tucker injury. Over the early Summer, rookie Charles Lee has progressed as sessions have gone on and could be in the mix. After a slow start in which his timing and technique did not mesh, the rookie gained ground by displaying a good punch and surprising lateral movement. In the final sessions, Lee was the second-team tackle, backing up starter Joe Thomas.
* On the right side of the offensive line, Isaac Sowells had a solid week of mandatory practice sessions and could be on the verge of proving he is a better prospect at tackle than at guard. After a rocky start at RT a couple weeks ago, Sowells has been steady, displayed improved thrust and agility and has shown a little bit of 'nasty' in his on-field demeanor.
* As training camp closes in, the right guard spot of the Browns could become an interesting area to watch. At the present time, Rex Hadnot is lining up with the starting unit and has been relatively efficient. Seth McKinney, the starter before injury last season, has been lining-up as the backup center, with rookie Nathan Bennett backing up Hadnot. Bennett has been a surprise in camp due to improving his technique while working in drills and accepting coaching. One can sense the staff likes Bennett, as the critique of the player lessened as the sessions passed. Bennett has been blown off the ball on occasion by Shaun Rogers, but anyone who has lined up against the veteran defensive lineman has typically been on the losing end of drills.
* Entering his third year, RB Jerome Harrison has been a spark plug when in the backfield. Harrison's quickness and vision are excellent. The back hits holes quickly and is shifty enough to avoid initial contact. On Thursday, Harrison schooled rookie ILB Beau Bell in team drills, as he blew past the rookie and darted into the end zone. Harrison stays on the field after practice regularly to field passes from coaches and work on his technique.