Recently, we looked at five Browns players whose stock has improved since the start of training camp. Today, we’ll look at the opposite: five players whose stock has declined since the start of camp. These are players who typically had something to prove, but have not been able to make an impact either due to injury, or due to performance.
1. FB Malcolm Johnson: When I went to an early training camp session in 2015, I was impressed by the effort that Luke Lundy was showing at the fullback position. One of those effort plays led to a concussion, and when you’re not on the practice field for a couple of weeks (and don’t have a long body of work), you become a forgotten man. That could be the case with Johnson, who has missed the majority of camp with a concussion so far. When Hue Jackson and company looked at the tape last year, I highly doubt that they came away with a positive perception of Johnson’s capabilities. The one thing Johnson has going for him is that there isn’t much competition at the position in camp. However, the fact that urgency hasn’t been placed on finding a replacement at the position might also spell doom for Johnson, as it could indicate how small of a premium that Jackson is putting on it.
2. WR Ricardo Louis: With Andrew Hawkins, Terrelle Pryor, at some point Josh Gordon, and possibly Marlon Moore all making the roster, the odds don’t suggest that all four of the Browns’ drafted receivers will make the roster. We know for sure that first-round pick Corey Coleman will make it. Prior to camp starting, despite being the team’s final receiver taken, we projected Rashard Higgins would look polished and secure a roster spot, and he’s delivered to date. Jordan Payton has done a good job getting open the past couple of practices. The man left out of the equation then is Ricardo Louis, a fourth-round pick.
DBN’s Mike Krupka (who just conducted a film study on Louis) asked Lane Adkins of The OBR on Twitter about Louis, and Adkins indicated that his trouble hanging on to passes has remained an issue:
Every NFL team has seven players they can name inactive on gameday to be somewhat of an extension of the practice squad, without subjecting a player to waivers. That could be what the team does if they really want to maintain him as a long-term receiving prospect. Otherwise, he could just end up like Vince Mayle from a year ago.
3. TE Seth DeValve: One player many fans got themselves excited about after this year’s draft was DeValve, because you always fantacize in the back of your head, “what if this guy turns out to be a gem at the position?” Instead, DeValve, who was going to be a receiving project to begin with, has missed all of camp with a hamstring injury and has been overshadowed by an unknown in Connor Hamlett, as described in our stock-rising post.
4. CB Justin Gilbert: With CB Joe Haden still out after ankle surgery and CB Tramon Williams often taking rest, perhaps there’s just one reason why our quarterbacks and receivers have been so successful this camp: Gilbert has been running with the first-team defense at cornerback. We’ve heard that his attitude and commitment have improved, but unfortunately, his technique has not.
NEVER lunge in press. Corey Coleman breaking off Gilbert with in-out release and clears inside arm with swim move. pic.twitter.com/KuBRkD0g7M— All22ChalkTalk (@All22ChalkTalk) August 3, 2016
They’re giving Gilbert all the opportunities to learn quickly, but I think his first-team status does not guarantee him a roster spot. If he doesn’t show improvement, it won’t be long before other players receive a shot to play over him.
5. K Travis Coons: We haven’t heard a lot about the kicker competition in camp so far, so we probably shouldn’t read too much into makes/misses. We haven’t even heard anything about whether Patrick Murray is making field goals or not, for example. However, heading into camp, we knew that Coons struggled with converting on long-range kicks last year, while that was Murray’s strength back in 2014. Over the past few days, one video surfaced of Coons coming up just short on a 50-yard field goal in Berea. A day later, it was reported that he missed a long-range kick, but a penalty gave him another crack at it, which he made. Recently, special teams coordinator Chris Tabor stressed that it’s a make-or-miss league, and the competition is open:
“In special teams, I think everything is legitimate from the standpoint because we’re at the bottom of the roster and you’re always churning the bottom of the roster. At that position, those guys know it’s about makes and misses. To have a guy like Patrick come in and here compete for job, it’s a legitimate job. If he does better than what Travis does, then obviously there’s talk.”