The Cleveland Browns were off Sunday and eight days of training camp are in the books. Here is a look at five players whose stock has improved since the start of camp.
1. QB Robert Griffin III: At the start of camp, plenty of questions surrounded Griffin, included whether he could even hold off QB Josh McCown for the starting role. Although head coach Hue Jackson has not officially declared Griffin the starting quarterback yet, Griffin has looked better with each practice and has developed a really good chemistry with rookie WR Corey Coleman. The other day, Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports said that if you dropped anyone in Berea from a UFO and asked them to evaluate and pick the Browns’ best quarterback, they’d pick Griffin, and it wouldn’t be close.
2. WR Terrelle Pryor: People were wondering two things about Pryor: (1) how well would he make the transition to wide receiver, and (2) how much of an opportunity would the new coaching staff give a project receiver, especially when they drafted four receivers this year?
Pryor’s route-running ability has looked smooth. He had some early issues with dropped passes, but has overcome that by building a good chemistry with QB Robert Griffin III and being a factor in the end zone. We’re two weeks in to camp, and Hue Jackson is continuing to use him as a starting receiver.
3. TE Connor Hamlett: After having sports hernia surgery, starting TE Gary Barnidge has either been taking some days off, or not practicing in pads on some days. TE Seth DeValve has missed all of camp with a hamstring injury and TE Randall Telfer has missed a couple of practices. Heading into camp, Hamlett probably thought he’d be lucky to see a few looks with the third-string offense. Now, he’s received the bulk of work at the position and has turned heads by being a big-time red zone threat with his 6-7 frame, followed by “Gronk” spikes.
4. OL Spencer Drango: This offseason, the fifth-round pick had the benefit of fellow rookie Shon Coleman resting as he recovered from knee surgery. However, since being drafted, veteran Alvin Bailey has been playing with the first-team offense at right tackle. A change in the depth chart seemed to occur over the past two practice sessions, though, as Drango has replaced Bailey with the first teamers. Zac Jackson of FOX Sports also says that the team has used Drango as a tight end and extra lineman in goal line/jumbo packages. The Browns are still trying to see who will start at right tackle, but for now, Drango’s stock is as high as its ever been.
5. CB Jamar Taylor: The Browns acquired Taylor for a seventh-round pick from the Dolphins during this year’s draft. With CB Joe Haden out (ankle) and CB Tramon Williams taking a couple of veteran rest days, Taylor has played with the first-team defense at cornerback, and has also been competing with K’Waun Williams for the nickelback spot. That versatility will serve him well, as he’s overshadowed the likes of CB Justin Gilbert, CB Charles Gaines, CB Trey Caldwell, and S Pierre Desir as the former second-round pick attempts to revive his career.