Previously, we looked at the two players in the mix to start at running back for the Cleveland Browns. Today, in part 2, we move on to the other three running backs on the roster: Terrell Watson, Raheem Mostert, and Glenn Winston.
3. TERRELL WATSON - BIG-BODIED BACK WITH TIES TO HUE
Terrell Watson might be the running back who Browns fans are least familiar with, but he might be the under-the-radar guy with the best chance at having an impact in 2016.
Cleveland signed Watson to a reserve/future deal in January, after they had hired Hue Jackson to be their new head coach. Watson spent his entire rookie season in 2015 on the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad, so one might venture to guess that Jackson put in a good word to get Cleveland to sign him.
Watson showed he could be a workhorse at Azusa Pacific University; in 2014, he led all of college football with 2,153 yards rushing. You can hear more about his backstory in this YouTube video. He is the team's biggest running back by far at 6-1, 242 lbs, which might lead some to believe he could be in the mix for the fullback position. He is a downhill, north/south type of runner who is likely going to try to make a career out of running between the tackles. One might see him as a goal line back too, but then again, how many teams really end up using goal line specialty backs these days? If he turns out to be a gem, he would give Isaiah Crowell a run for his money as the team's leading ballcarrier.
Coincidentally, Pete Smith of FanSided did a feature piece on Watson and the Browns today, which I encourage you to check out.
Final Roster Odds: 70%
4. RAHEEM MOSTERT - SMALL BACK WHO CAN'T JUST BE A KICK RETURNER
To contrast from what Terrell Watson brings to the table, Raheem Mostert is the team's smallest running back when you factor in both height and weight. He was on the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad to start his 2015 rookie season, had a brief stint in Miami, and then went to the Baltimore Ravens to be their kick returner for several weeks.
Mostert played in 3 games for the Browns at the end of last season, serving primarily as the team's kick returner. He finished with 12 returns for 309 yards (25.8 average) with a long of 53 yards. That is the position he'll likely find himself competing for in this year's camp too, but he won't be handed the job. Although the speed that Mostert can bring to kickoffs is enticing, the team is also considering the likes of WR Corey Coleman and CB Justin Gilbert for kickoff return duties. There are also players like WR Marlon Moore who have experience doing it. With touchbacks coming out to the 25 yard line this year, there will be less incentive for teams to even need a "kick return specialist."
If Mostert is to make the team, he'll have to do so as a running back, which isn't entirely out of the question. Although I think Watson has a big edge due to his ties to Hue Jackson, if he doesn't have the best-of-camps or if he ends up winning a job as a fullback, then there really isn't a lot of other competition standing in Mostert's way for the third running back spot on the depth chart. In the preseason last year, Mostert had 39 carries for 157 yards (4.0 YPC) and 14 catches for 194 yards, both of which are pretty good numbers for somebody who could fill in for a Duke Johnson if he were to get hurt.
Final Roster Odds: 50%
5. GLENN WINSTON - HOW LONG CAN A PROJECT RB LAST?
The handling of Glenn Winston was really odd under the Mike Pettine/Ray Farmer regime. They kept him on the 53-man roster, but never played him. He was one of those, "he's really practice-squad material, but we're afraid another team would steal him so we're using a 53-man roster spot on him" type of players.
Winston had a knee injury in camp last year and began on the non-football injury list. The team signed Robert Turbin at one point and were quick to give him a contributing role before they found out that didn't work out too well. In Week 14, Winston was finally inserted into a game against the San Francisco 49ers. Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell were both on fire, but Crowell was briefly injured, which sprung Winston into action. The guy who once said that he couldn't wait for the coaching staff to "take the chains off the beast" proceeded to fumble in his first and only NFL touch to date.
It's probably not fair to judge Winston on one unfortunate play, but it no doubt left a sour impression of him. Given that the top two spots on the depth chart are locked up and that Terrell Watson has been with Hue Jackson before, it'll be tougher for the 27-year old darn-near-rookie to make enough of an impression to warrant a 53-man roster spot.
Final Roster Odds: 20%
Today's poll asks which of the three running backs in today's piece you want to most see on the Browns' 53-man roster.