May 11, 2012; Berea, OH, USA: Cleveland Browns fullback Brad Smelley (47) talks with running back Trent Richardson (33) during rookie training camp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Eric P. Mull-USPRESSWIRE
The Cleveland Browns held a morning and afternoon session of rookie minicamp on Friday, with 36 of the team's 37 rookies in attendance (according to reports, Ohio State linebacker Andrew Sweat, originally signed as an undrafted free agent, has decided not to pursue a career in the NFL). A recap of what went down at minicamp, per reports from the media who watched it, is after the jump.
CLEVELAND BROWNS ROOKIE MINICAMP RECAP (FRIDAY, MAY 11)
Replacing Phil Taylor: Even though he hasn't been ruled out for the entire season, Taylor's starting job will likely go to either rookie John Hughes or Billy Winn. Rotating the two players could also be an option. Hughes and Winn rotated between the three-technique and one-technique defensive tackle positions from one session to the other.
Rookie Offensive Linemen: As expected, second-round pick Mitchell Schwartz immediately stepped in at right tackle. Fifth-round guard Ryan Miller did not play guard, though. Instead, he played left tackle.
Praise for Brandon Weeden: The early reviews for the Browns' new quarterback were very positive. Per Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer:
Much of the buzz after the first two practices centered around Weeden's exceptional arm strength and delivery, both on the deep ball and intermediate pass. Watching him whistle out routes into the hands of his receivers, it wasn't hard to imagine him standing on the mound in the minor leagues, delivering 90-plus mph fastballs.
Assets of Rookie Wide Receivers: When it comes to rookie receivers Travis Benjamin and Josh Cooper, both have their assets. Weeden talked about each of the receivers. First, here's what he said about Benjamin:
"He is freaky fast," said Weeden.
"The guy can really run. Coach Shurmur was like, 'Hey, let one rip on a vertical,' even though it's single-high safety and it's not really our read, he said, 'Let one go and see if he can go get it.' I did and it was incomplete, but the guy has got another gear."
And now about Cooper:
"Me and Cooper have been working for five years, but especially these last 14-16 days, we've gone up to the field every day at about 8:30 in the morning and just thrown route after route," said Weeden. "You saw today, he is a great route runner, unbelievable hands, he made me look good on one and we were on the same page on the other. He is a great player, very smart."
Richardson Looks Smooth: It was a non-contact practice, but that didn't stop running back Trent Richardson from stiff arming a defender to the ground on a run. Richardson noted that it was just his instincts getting in the way.
Multiple Roles for James-Micheal Johnson: It's not unheard of for players in a rookie minicamp to take on multiple roles. Per the ABJ, linebacker James-Micheal Johnson lined up at strongside and weakside linebacker. He could be a candidate to replace Scott Fujita if his suspension holds to begin the season.
- Photo Gallery: If you click on the photos above, you should see some other pictures from the rookie minicamp session.
Sources for Information Above
- News and observations from Browns rookie minicamp (Ulrich, Akron Beacon Journal)
- Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson impressive at first minicamp practice (Cabot, Plain Dealer)
- Winn looks to bolster Browns defensive line (Doerschuk, Canton Repository_