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Browns Claim P Colton Schmidt, OLB Paul Hazel Off Waivers

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns only needed to make seven roster moves earlier today in order to get down to 75 players. Instead, they made nine roster moves, because they were awarded waiver claims on two players: P Colton Schmidt from the San Francisco 49ers, and OLB Paul Hazel from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Background Information on P Colton Schmidt

  • He signed a three-year deal with the 49ers back in July as an undrafted free agent. He was labeled as a punter and kickoff specialist, with the ability to placekick as well. The belief was that he could be an extra camp leg for the 49ers for both P Andy Lee and K Phil Dawson.

  • Because Lee is probably the best punter in the NFL, Schmidt had no chance of making the roster over him. He did have some time to show off his leg. Although Schmidt had a very small sample size of punts (four) during the preseason, his net average of 47.0 yards per attempt ranked third in the NFL.

  • In the first preseason game vs. Denver, Schmidt punted the ball 57 yards from the 49ers own 41-yard line, so the ball was downed at the 2-yard line. All three of his kickoffs reached the end zone during the game.

  • In the second preseason game vs. Kansas City, backed up at his own 1-yard line, Schmidt's punt traveled 62 yards with an 11-yard return. There was holding on the play, so the 49ers shifted field position in their favor just like that.

  • Rob Chudzinski has said that Shayne Graham is the favorite to be the starting kicker, but he doesn't have the best leg for kickoffs. What if the Browns are intrigued to keep Graham as their kicker, but make Schmidt the punter so he can pull double duty on kickoffs?

  • Of course, the Browns could be just taking a "let's see" approach with Schmidt. After all, Spencer Lanning has been the guy who has been with the club the whole offseason and through training camp.

Background Information on LB Paul Hazel

  • At 6-5, 227 pounds, Hazel is likely the reason why OLB Kendrick Adams was waived, despite the Browns' depth at outside linebacker being a bit thin right now with OLB Barkevious Mingo trying to come back from a bruised lung.

  • Hazel was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Jaguars after the 2013 NFL Draft. He registered four tackles during the preseason. In their first preseason game against Miami, he had three tackles and one quarterback hit. Pretty much all of Hazel's action came in the fourth quarter of the preseason games, so how Michael Lombardi and company picked "this guy" must stem from scouting done prior to the draft.

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