Cleveland Browns Training Camp 2014: FB Preview

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

After covering the running backs, we finish up the backfield with a look at the players competing for the fullback position heading into training camp for the Cleveland Browns. Please note that we have not included RB Chris Ogbonnaya in this preview because we already included him in one of the running back previews. Ogbonnaya was the team's starting fullback last year, but I just don't see him being the type of fullback who Kyle Shanahan would want to feature regularly.


1. MARQUEIS GRAY - COMPETING TO BE STARTING FULLBACK

8276_mediumMarQueis Gray (#47)

Height:
6-4 | Weight: 242
Age: 24 | Experience: 2 years
College: Minnesota

Note: Played tight end in 2013 ...very versatile skill set ...trying to make the transition.

This offseason, MarQueis Gray has been "taking significant reps at fullback with the first-team offense," according to media reports. In an article titled, "Top 5 Browns who have benefited from the offseason," Kevin Jones of Browns.com wrote that the Browns, "feel strongly about the versatility Gray possesses as a blocker, pass catcher and even a decoy in certain formations."

Gray saw limited reps at the tight end position last season and also took snaps from the Wildcat. I don't know if he'll line up as quarterback, but he's the type of player who could catch a defense off guard with a trick play. He got open several times last season on flag routes, but he became a running gag that literally every time he was open, the quarterback throwing the ball -- either Brandon Weeden or Jason Campbell -- would not only overthrow him, but they'd overthrow him with a pass that was 10 feet too tall.

With the addition of Jim Dray at tight end this year, Gray needs to focus on the fullback position to improve his odds of making the roster. In an ideal world, you could really create some mismatches by lining Gray up at fullback and then motioning him out as a legitimate threat in the passing game. Seldom do such fantasies come to fruition, but right now, I'm giving Gray the early edge at fullback.

Final Roster Odds: 60%



2. JOURDAN BROOKS - COMPETING TO BE STARTING FULLBACK

8276_mediumJourdan Brooks (#34)

Height:
6-0 | Weight: 237
Age: 25 | Experience: 1 year
College: Morgan State

Note: Bigger running back who looks primed to give fullback a shot...good blocking skills.

Jourdan Brooks was an undrafted free agent back in 2012, when he spent 10 weeks on the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad. He was a running back in college, but at the tail end of his college career, he didn't receive many carries and did not have a flashy stat line. He was cut before the start of Bengals training camp in 2013.

Brooks was more known for his consistency as a blocker, which is why we're labeling him as more of a fullback heading into training camp. He could be a power back down near the goal line, but there isn't much tape to go off of.

Although it seems easy to normally write off a guy like Brooks as a "camp body," there is a reason why several players are competing at fullback: it's going to be a true competition. Being out of the league for a year won't help his chances, but if he exceeds as a blocker, maybe he wins the coaching staff over.

Final Roster Odds: 10%
Practice Squad Odds: 10% (if he doesn't make the team)



3. RAY AGNEW - COMPETING TO BE STARTING FULLBACK

8276_mediumRay Agnew (#48)

Height:
5-10 | Weight: 247
Age: 23 | Experience: Rookie
College: Southern Illinois

Note: Has played fullback since his junior year of high school.

The Browns had brought FB Kiero Small in for a pre-draft visit to Berea before the 2014 draft, but the Seattle Seahawks took him in the seventh round. The Browns signed veteran fullback Chris Pressley a few prior to the draft, but waived him shortly after signing Agnew, which gave us the impression that the undrafted free agent showed something that caught the eye of the coaching staff.

If we are looking for the traditional fullback in camp this year, then Agnew fits the bill. He played the position in college, and he loved doing it. Here's a quote from him that was published in Cleveland.com article recently:

"Playing fullback is me versus you, and that's why I like it so much," said Agnew, whose father, Ray, played 11 NFL seasons. "You have to be a dog to play fullback. It's not for the meek or the fainthearted. There's nothing flashy about it and you have to be willing to accept that."

Could Agnew's experience as a traditional fullback make him one of the surprises in camp to land a starting role?

Final Roster Odds: 25%
Practice Squad Odds: 10% (if he doesn't make the team)



Up next, we will shift to the defensive side of the ball, particularly a unit that looks exactly like it did in 2013: the defensive line. For now, vote in the poll below for who you think will be the Browns' starting fullback to begin the season.

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