The Cleveland Browns have reportedly signed ten players to their practice squad for the 2014 season. Here is the list of the players reportedly on the squad, along with some background information for each of them:
Browns' 2014 10-Man Practice Squad
- QB Connor Shaw - 6-1, 210 lbs. - Although he had somewhat of a lackluster training camp, that might have been because his opportunities were far and few between as the spotlight was on Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel. In two preseason games, though, Shaw was sharp and able to operate in Kyle Shanahan's system rather smoothly. He was one of the quarterbacks the Browns scouted prior to the draft, and I'm sure the Browns hope nobody signs Shaw from them this season, as there is a real chance he could be the backup in 2015.
- FB Kiero Small - 5-8, 247 lbs. - This a guy who the Browns have had their eye on for awhile. Cleveland used one of their 30 pre-draft visits on him, and it was one of the first hints that Kyle Shanahan was looking for a traditional fullback in this year's offense. Because the Seahawks used a 7th-round pick on him, the Browns couldn't bring him to training camp as an undrafted free agent. That opened the door for Ray Agnew, though, who is now on the 53-man roster. If things go wrong with Agnew, Small could be a call-up away.
- WR Charles Johnson - 6-2, 215 lbs. - A common quote we heard this offseason was, "if the Browns waive Johnson, someone else is going to claim him." Well, it might have helped that he initially made the Browns' 53-man roster and then was waived a day later, but Johnson nonetheless cleared waivers and Cleveland has him on their practice squad. I'm glad they were able to get him on there -- I feel like Johnson still needs time to develop, but could warrant a shot later this season or in camp next year.
- TE Emmanuel Ogbuehi - 6-2, 240 lbs. - I thought that Ogbuehi's NFL journey would basically come to an end after the preseason with his lone highlight being a Hail Mary reception, but I was wrong. The Browns are keeping the blocking tight end on their roster, although I find it hard to believe he'll see any action unless Gary Barnidge or Jim Dray get hurt.
- C Patrick Lewis - 6-1, 311 lbs. - An undrafted free agent in 2013, he spent training camp with the Packers, but the Browns claimed him off waivers at the start of the season. He spent most of the season on Cleveland's 53-man roster as an inactive player, then went to the practice squad, and then was signed by the Jaguars in December.
Lewis spent all of camp with the Jaguars, had a brief stint with the Seahawks this past week, and then was waived again. Now, he's back in Cleveland, where he has a friend of sorts: he played for Texas A&M as the center for Johnny Manziel for a couple of years. Lewis has the versatility to play backup center or guard.
- OL Karim Barton - 6-3, 313 lbs. - Claimed off waivers from the Eagles before the final preseason game, Barton is an undrafted free agent rookie out of Morgan State. He played as a backup in all three preseason games and played right tackle his final year at college. Originally from Jamaica, the Eagles did a nice feature story on him back in June. Barton originally made the Browns' 53-man roster, but was waived on Sunday to make room for waiver claims.
- OL James Brown - 6-4, 306 lbs. - Brown was an undrafted free agent out of Troy back in 2012, but was pegged to be a mid-round draft prospect. He's been with the Chicago Bears for the past two seasons, as well as this year's camp. In 2012, he played in five games, starting three of them. Of course, I'm sure his name stands out everywhere he goes.
- DL Jacobbi McDaniel - 6-0, 293 lbs. - The competition at defensive line was stiff in this year's camp -- no matter how good McDaniel, Calvin Barnett, and Cam Henderson were, none of them were going to make the 53-man roster. All three had pretty impressive camps, though, and McDaniel was the early star. If he lasts the full year on the practice squad and Cleveland has to part ways with a lineman in 2015, McDaniel could find himself a spot to slip in to.
- OLB Keith Pough - 6-2, 236 lbs. - He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2013 by the Buffalo Bills, meaning he spent all of training camp with them and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. The Browns signed Pough back on August 5th, but he was hurt for most of camp and was actually in the first batch of roster cuts. That might have been a ploy to make it easier for him to land on the practice squad (although I doubt he had high demand from other teams).
- OLB Justin Staples - 6-4, 245 lbs. - Despite a strong camp from Staples, he couldn't beat out special teamer Eric Martin for the No. 4 spot on the depth chart at outside linebacker. He'll get a chance to be the "next man up" on the Browns' practice squad for the second year in a row, and I think he's a whole lot more ready this year than he was last year.
It's no surprise that the Browns did not sign any defensive backs to their practice squad, considering they already have 12 on the active roster. Here is the status of other practice squad eligible players you might be wondering about:
What About These Players?
- WR Willie Snead - Unsigned
- TE MarQueis Gray - Signed to the Vikings' 53-man roster
- OG Garrett Gilkey - Signed to the Buccaneers' 53-man roster
- OT Reid Fragel - Signed to the Colts' practice squad
- OL Donald Hawkins - Signed to the Cowboys' 53-man roster
- OL Alex Parsons - Unsigned
- OL Abasi Salimu - Unsigned
- DL Calvin Barnett - Unsigned
- DL Cam Henderson - Unsigned
- S Josh Aubrey - Signed to the Seahawks' practice squad
- CB Leon McFadden - Signed to the Jets' 53-man roster