4. RANDALL TELFER - BACKUP RUN BLOCKING TIGHT END
foot surgery during his rookie offseason that forced him to begin the season on the physically unable to perform list. I anticipated that he'd be red-shirted his entire rookie year, and that's exactly what happened -- although he was eligible and able to return later in the season, the team kept him out.
The biggest knock on Telfer is that he's already had a pretty long history with injuries. When the team drafted him in 2015, he was viewed as one of the better blocking tight ends in the draft, particular in the running game. He has capable hands and can make some athletic catches, but he's not pegged as a proficient route runner. He reminds me of what prototypical tight ends used to be before the receiving craze at the position started. The fact that blocking is his niche gives him a good chance at making the roster, considering Gary Barnidge, Seth DeValve, and E.J. Bibbs are more of the receiving types.
Final Roster Odds: 45%
5. J.P. HOLTZ - UNDRAFTED FREE AGENT PASS BLOCKING TIGHT END
Fortunately, when it comes to J.P. Holtz, Steelers Depot did an extensive scouting report on him coming out of the draft (he attended college at Pittsburgh). Projected as a seventh-round pick, he is the team's only undrafted free agent tight end in 2016.
Holtz is limited athletically, but displays good hands and a willingness to catch passes over the middle. While Randall Telfer and Connor Hamlett are rated as good run blockers, Holtz' strength comes more in the pass-blocking department. He also played a versatile role in Pittsburgh as a tight end and an H-back type. In a recent article, Holtz commented how awesome it was to see the Cavaliers' parade and how he'd love to be a part of a similar feeling with the Browns.
Final Roster Odds: 12%
6. CONNOR HAMLETT - BACKUP RUN BLOCKING TIGHT END
Connor Hamlett was an undrafted free agent in 2015 who spent camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He bounced around the Eagles' and Saints' practice squads for a couple of weeks. In October, the Browns gave him a tryout, but did not sign him to their practice squad until December. If you wonder why I like detailing a player's background, it's because I think it makes a difference whether a previous regime vs. the new regime brought a player in. Hamlett is still somewhat of a product of the Ray Farmer era.
All of the tight ends on the roster should be in the mix for the team's third tight end spot, including Hamlett. He has a history of knee issues that at one point compelled him to say he was finished with football, but he changed his mind as he recovered. Hamlett is the team's biggest tight end, so if size become a factor (such as using his body in the red zone), he could have a leg up on someone like Randall Telfer. Like Telfer, Hamlett has capable hands for catching passes, but isn't going to separate on his routes. His strength comes as a blocker, also more suited in run blocking.
Final Roster Odds: 10%
Today's poll asks which of these three players you would keep on the roster if you could only pick one.