In Part 2 of our Cleveland Browns training camp preview for the offensive line, we looked at the four-way competition that will take place for the starting roles at right guard and right tackle. In Part 3, we are investigating three linemen who will try to serve as the team's final depth player for insurance purposes.
8. ERIC OLSEN - BACKUP OFFENSIVE GUARD
Eric Olsen signed with the Browns at the end of May, but this won't be his first training camp. Olsen was a 6th round draft pick by the Denver Broncos in 2010. During his five years in the NFL to date, Olsen has bounced around to five different teams, most recently the Tennessee Titans in 2014.
Olsen started four games with the New Orleans Saints back in 2012, but has otherwise been a backup. Those four starts might be a little misleading -- the Saints used him as an extra blocker in those contests, beginning the game with six linemen. His primary position is offensive guard, but he can also see some work at center.
My guess is that Olsen will be the second-team left guard behind Joel Bitonio in camp this year. If either John Greco or Cameron Erving begin the season as a backup, then Cleveland will already be in pretty good shape when it comes to depth at the guard position. Greco and Erving are also being trained to have the versatility to play pretty much any position on the line. Olsen might have to prove his worth on special teams to make the club.
Final Roster Odds: 33%
9. RYAN SEYMOUR - BACKUP CENTER
The Browns claimed Ryan Seymour off waivers from the 49ers last September. He was briefly sent down to the practice squad before being called up to the 53-man roster in October for the rest of the year.
Seymour was sitting on the bench until Nick McDonald suffered an injury, forcing the Browns to dig deeper on the depth chart at the center position. He was inserted into the starting lineup part-way through the team's loss to the Buffalo Bills, and the coaching staff was impressed enough with Seymour and had seen enough from McDonald, so they started him at center from Weeks 14-16. Seymour suffered a hamstring injury in his final game, forcing him to miss the season finale.
We can't just pigeon-hole Seymour at center, though. Last year at camp with the 49ers, he saw action at tackle and guard. Cleveland already has several players who can play center right now in Alex Mack, John Greco, and Cameron Erving. A "backup center" won't make the team this year. Unfortunately, his ability to play center may actually hurt his chances. If Mack and Greco are on the first-team offense during the preseason, Erving will be at right guard with the second-team offense. With all three players having roles, that leaves Seymour at center, unable to showcase whether he has the talent to contribute as a backup tackle or guard this year.
Final Roster Odds: 34%
10. VINSTON PAINTER - BACKUP OFFENSIVE TACKLE
Vinston Painter was a sixth-round draft choice by the Denver Broncos in 2013 and spent most of his rookie season on their practice squad. Painter was drafted as a right tackle, but was moved to right guard during the Broncos' training camp in 2014.
The Browns signed Painter off Denver's practice squad at the start of last season, and he remained with the club all season despite not seeing any snaps on offense. Painter came close to seeing playing time twice last season -- in the first game after Alex Mack's injury, John Greco was set to move from right guard to center, leaving a vacancy at right guard. It came down to Paul McQuistan or Painter, and the coaching staff ultimately went with Painter.
Since Painter wasn't with the Browns in camp last year, I haven't had a chance to see how he plays. However, I do know how awful McQuistan performed at right guard, so it's a little discouraging to think that the coaching staff saw something to make them want to start McQuistan over Painter for a game last year. The other time Painter almost played was when the Browns were destroying the Steelers and the coaches told him to go in for Joe Thomas at left tackle (Thomas declined the offer). I'm pegging Painter to begin camp as the team's left tackle on the second-team offense.
Final Roster Odds: 33%
Today's poll asks which of these three linemen you think have the best shot at making the Browns' 53-man roster.