Browns-Giants: Good Performances Welcomed

The pressure is on for the final roster spots. Lane Adkins looks at who needs to step up during tonight's game against the New York Giants...

- RB's Travis Thomas and Austin Scott. While both players have displayed some solid qualities, neither RB has been overly impressive in training camp. Thomas has run the ball better than expected, while Scott shown flashes of terrific rushing ability. Time is against these two undrafted rookie free agent acquisitions, so a good performance could lead to further opportunities. Although the roster at the RB position appears to be solid, you never know in the event of injury.

- The tight-end position is an area of strength for this Cleveland team. Kellen Winslow and Steve Heiden are very good; Darnell Dinkins has had a good camp and has shown to be adequate in the passing game, even though the blocking game is his strength; Brad Cieslak has been a surprise in camp as he catches the ball well and is not a liability in the blocking scheme; and rookie Martin Rucker impressed prior to knee surgery, thus making him somewhat of the unknown at this position. If healthy, Rucker makes this team, which leads to the question whether the team keeps three or four TE's. Cieslak and Dinkins may be trade bait, but anyone not named Winslow or Rucker may have reason for concern.

- Once thought of as a weakness, the WR position may have done a 180-degree turn in the off-season. As starter Braylon Edwards sits this pre-season game out due to a gashed foot, Travis Wilson, Steve Sanders and Syndric Steptoe gain a significant look with the first-team offense. Wilson, who has had a good camp, gets the first shot to impress. A good performance by any of these WR's could open the door of opportunity following what has been a competitive training camp.

- The offensive line is the deepest part of this Cleveland roster, with potentially seven (Thomas, Steinbach, Fraley, Hadnot, Shaffer, Tucker and McKinney) starting-quality linemen on the roster at this time. Lennie Friedman plays a valuable role due to his versatility, leaving three rookies (James Lee, Nathan Bennett and Derrick Morse) along with Isaac Sowells and Jonathan Palmer battling for possibly one available roster spot. The interior offensive line spots may sport more depth, so the tackle positions may take center stage.

- The CB position is going to be watched closely Monday night, as the Browns coaching staff weeds through the players to hopefully find a suitable mix of youth and experience. Following starters Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald, the depth on the roster is a crap-shoot.

Veteran Terry Cousin has not made the impact or impression expected upon his signing as he is playing second-fiddle to S Mike Adams covering the slot, though his experience is crucial within this young secondary. A.J. Davis and Jereme Perry are the front-runners to add depth to the position, but they need to fend off the energy and ability of the undrafted rookies, Gerard Lawson, Damon Jenkins and Mil'von James.

As it stands, Davis and Perry have a leg up and cannot afford to have a poor showing as this organization continues to analyze available talent at the position.

- To make this 2008 squad, the ability to contribute on special teams may play a critical role. Rookie Alex Hall has been a pleasant surprise as he continues to progress and could develop into a very capable OLB in time. Hall has been playing specials and is finding himself a role on this roster. OLB David McMillan and ILB Kris Griffin are both special teams players, with Griffin being exceptional in this demanding role.

With the depth at OLB (McGinest, Wimbley, Peek, Orr) and potentially the rookie Hall, McMillan may need to be very good in these pre-season games to secure a roster spot for himself. Undrafted rookie Chase Ortiz is a battler, but falls into the same category and would need to be nothing less than the spectacular to earn a spot on the roster.

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