Is Owen Marecic's spot at fullback on the 53-man roster all but confirmed now?
For much of training camp, fans have speculated that seventh-round draft choice (and Trent Richardson's teammate from Alabama) Brad Smelley would unseat Marecic for the starting role at fullback. Marecic did not make a huge splash during his rookie season, and he hasn't really "wow'ed" too many people in this year's camp. After Monday morning's practice, though, head coach Pat Shurmur was asked if both Marecic and Smelley could make the roster. After a few sentences of mumbo-jumbo, Shurmur concluded his response with the following: "Possibly, because Smelley could be considered a tight end as well as a fullback."
To translate, I would interpret that as Shurmur saying, "there's a chance both guys could make it...because Smelley is versatile." He spoke as if it is a given that Marecic will be on the club. Interestingly enough, Steve Doerschuk of the Canton Repository said this in his report from earlier today: "From what we’re hearing, there’s a decent chance Brad Smelley will make the team, but no chance Owen Marcecic won’t."
When you read between the lines, it looks like Marecic's spot is safe. In terms of reps, he seems to be seeing all of the snaps with the first-team offense. If there was any intention of getting rid of him, Smelley would be getting in on the action too. He isn't, until the second- or third-stringers come in. The Browns invested a fourth-round pick in Marecic last year too, so there's a good chance they still like him.
Smelley's chances at making the roster could be in jeopardy, and that wouldn't be because he's having a bad camp. He is a tweener type of player, and I'm starting to think the team might learn toward keeping Alex Smith again since he played so much last year and has been active in camp again this year. On top of that, it would be tough to keep six players between the tight end and fullback position, when the team could really use extra roster spots for depth on the defensive line or at linebacker due to injuries. Smelley is the type of player who could reasonably make it through to the practice squad too. We'll see how things unfold in terms of reps over the final two games, but you might see a revision in the next edition of my 53-man roster.