Around the Pound (5/9): Hardesty Makes an Impact, Edwards' Scholarship Fund, and More Browns News

BEREA, OH - MAY 01: T.J. Ward #2 and Joe Haden #5 of the Cleveland Browns run through a drill during rookie mini camp at the Cleveland Browns Training and Administrative Complex on May 1, 2010 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

In today's edition of Around the Pound, Terry Pluto has some more comments on the Cleveland Browns' rookie minicamp, a former Browns receivers supports local students with scholarships, and a quick look at the tight end the team signed earlier in the week.

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Montario Hardesty Among the Impressive at Rookie Minicamp

The player that Pluto was quick to highlight in his Sunday column was RB Montario Hardesty. As far as why Hardesty looked impressive, Pluto had this to say:

Hardesty grabbed onto the offensive concepts. He impressed when it was time to draw up plays on the board. He also was in good shape, ran hard and showed more than power -- a quick first step and an ability to make sharp cuts. The Browns believe he can step in and combine with Jerome Harrison to give them an excellent 1-2 combination, with Peyton Hillis also in the mix as a short-yardage back.

Pluto also summarized his thoughts on the rest of the running backs on the roster: there is no way that FB Lawrence Vickers' job is in danger, Chris Jennings and James Davis can see this as a message that the team wanted to upgrade their talent at running back, and the team also wants to be stacked at running back given their lack of threat at quarterback.

Some other notes from Pluto's column...

  • First-round pick Joe Haden has also been impressive. Along with CB Sheldon Brown, the two will bring a lot more competition to the Browns' cornerback position which should help push Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald to become better players rather than feeling they are "entitled" to their positions.
  • Pluto made sure to state that it's probably too early to start making these projections, but Larry Asante looked as if he could push T.J. Ward for playing time this season.
  • The general review on Colt McCoy was positive too, as he was accurate with his passes and did not fumble a snap in any of his three days.

Brief Word on TE Alex Smith

A few days ago, the Browns signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Alex Smith. Some of you were asking, "who the heck is that?", but I definitely remembered who he was because of QB Alex Smith. The quarterback was a first-round pick, and yet all of a sudden in Week 1 of the tight end's rookie season, he caught two touchdowns from QB Brian Griese en route to a victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Ever since then, Smith's name stuck with me.

He faced the Browns once during his career. That came in the 2006 season, when he caught 4 passes for 45 yards in Week 16. The Browns lost the game 22-7, where Derek Anderson was an impressive 10-of-27 for 123 yards and 4 interceptions. It never gets old to throw a dig at Anderson in here.

As far as his roster odds, I think it'll come down to Robert Royal vs. Alex Smith, with Royal having the advantage right now. Royal has proven to be a pretty good run blocker, so Smith will have to show that he is a good enough run blocker, coupled with his already decent ability to catch the ball. Ben Watson is a lock, and I'd like to think Evan Moore is a lock, but in reality that could be far from the truth.

Massaquoi Offers Support to Browns Receivers

A piece is coming up soon about the Browns receivers after Eric Mangini noted the team will consider bringing in a veteran receiver, but for now, WR Mohamed Massaquoi is confident in the group:

"If you just came and saw us work, seen how much we've grown, I think that question would be answered by itself," Massaquoi said. "[Robiskie's] primed for a good year. I'm primed for a breakout year. Stuckey's been working hard. Josh is still going to be the dynamic player that he is."

Massaquoi notes the struggles last year (two rookies, Edwards leaving, Stuckey's sudden arrival, instability at quarterback) versus having a much more stable looking plan this season as a reason to have confidence.

The Braylon Edwards Scholarship

This will probably be the first (and last) positive news piece you'll see regarding Braylon Edwards since he departure from the Browns. Part of his scholarship program that commenced when he was a member of the Browns continues to make an impact:

Nine Cleveland high school students celebrated earning $10,000 each for college Saturday thanks to football star Braylon Edwards.

The scholarships were giving away at the The 3rd Annual Braylon Edwards Foundation Advance 100 Awards Banquet, held at Cuyahoga Community College.

The event celebrates those Cleveland Metropolitan School District high school juniors who continue in the program started several years ago by Braylon Edwards, formerly of the Cleveland Browns, who donated $1 million for college scholarships.

Off-Beat Notes

  • How euphoric was that to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers just completely dominate the Boston Celtics on the road from the get-go? Considering the competition that Boston is supposed to offer, that was certainly one of the best games I have ever seen the Cavaliers play. After not really having any offensive gameplan in Games 1 and 2, we changed that in Game 2. On defense, I also liked that we had our defenders stay underneath the screens while Rondo was dribbling around.
  • You can't help but think what an idiot Lawrence Taylor is. If you're comparing troubled athletes, what he did versus what Tiger Woods did don't even compare. Personally, the length of the fuss on Woods in the first place was kind of unwarranted. That's what happens when you have such widespread media coverage today though.
  • Any people near the Cleveland/Northeastern Ohio area know that the winds we had on Friday night were pretty darn high. How high? When I went down the street adjacent to mine the following morning, I saw one tree that completely snapped right at its base, and I saw another tree that had half the tree snap from its base.
  • The episode of LOST this week had me choked up a little, but I'm more intrigued than ever at the good guys seeking vengeance on Smokey.
  • For anyone who has seen Iron Man 2, feel free to leave your (non-spoilerish) reviews in the comments section! Better, worse, or the same quality of the first one?
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