The Cleveland Browns have signed ten players to their practice squad for the 2016 season. The practice squad consists of six players who were with the team in camp, and four players who were with other teams. Here is a list of everybody, along with some background information for each of them:
Players on the Browns’ Practice Squad So Far
QB Kevin Hogan - 6-3, 218 lbs. - He was a fifth-round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in this year’s draft, and somebody who the team had brought for a visit to Berea during the pre-draft process. Many draft pundits had him ranked higher than Cody Kessler heading into April’s draft.
Hogan has a big frame who can take the bit hits without you worrying about him crumbling. He has good arm strength, but has a very long delivery that the Browns will have to work on. This preseason, he completed 7-of-15 passes for 36 yards and 1 interception, as he was buried fifth on the depth chart. Pep Hamilton was also his offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach in 2012 at Stanford. You can read fans reactions to losing him over at Arrowhead Pride.
RB Terrell Watson - 6-1, 240 lbs. - He was the Browns’ third running back on the depth chart all of camp. When he was released in the second wave of cuts, it was a bit surprising, considering he’d been tied to head coach Hue Jackson since his days in Cincinnati. Now, he’ll continue to have a chance to develop on the practice squad.
WR Darius Jennings - 5-10, 169 lbs. - Some of you may wonder why the Browns would keep Jennings on the practice squad when there are four rookies on the 53-man roster, plus Josh Gordon coming back in Week 5. The Browns will often use practice squad players to help run the scout team offense during a week of preparation. The team might not be ready or willing to give that assignment to their rookie receivers, but Jennings can handle it, plus be ready for a call-up should one of the rookies come down with an “injury.”
TE Connor Hamlett - 6-7, 259 lbs. - He made a name for himself with a bunch of touchdown catches early in camp, which were followed by the “Gronk-like spikes.” He faded during the preseason, though, and when Randall Telfer was healthy enough to play, Telfer joined Gary Barnidge in two-tight-end sets as the blocking tight end. Seth DeValve is a receiving prospect the team didn’t want to let go, and the team wasn’t going to have four tight ends active on gameday. Hamlett can continue to develop here and will get a call up if somebody gets hurt.
OL Anthony Fabiano - 6-3, 303 lbs. - He was an undrafted free agent this year with the Baltimore Ravens. He showed off his versatility in college, making starts at every position except center. Our front office had to appreciate the fact that he’s a Harvard grad. On the practice squad, he’s expected to see some work at guard and center. Here’s what CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler said about him before the draft:
“Fabiano has a squatty, wide body with the initial quickness to set-up and sit in his stance to engage defenders, using his strong hands to keep rushers from his body. He is extremely intelligent, but needs to improve his pre-snap recognition to sense pressures and adjust accordingly. Although he can get chaotic with his mechanics, Fabiano has versatile experience at all five offensive line positions and has a NFL future if he can stay healthy.”
OT Dan France - 6-6, 312 lbs. - I kept getting ridiculed by a few people for predicting France to make the practice squad, yet here he is. I agree that France looked pretty bad in the final two preseason games, but from the start of camp through the second preseason game, he was doing well enough to the point where I thought he might make the club over Alvin Bailey.
DL Gabe Wright - 6-2, 284 lbs. - He was a fourth-round draft pick by the Detroit Lions in 2015. Despite his draft status, he only appeared in 7 games as a rookie, finishing the year with 6 tackles. According to our Lions affiliate, Wright has a great burst when given a free lane, but is easily slowed down otherwise:
“But therein lies the problem with Gabe Wright: like a slot receiver who has to play off the line to keep clean from press coverage, Wright only looks phenomenal when he can take his first steps without interference. Everyone was right about his explosiveness, but everyone was also right about him needing to improve on disengaging/breaking free from blocks.”
You can read their detailed breakdown on Wright in a three-part series: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. He’s the type of project other coaches want a shot at developing on the practice squad.
CB Trey Caldwell - 5-9, 185 lbs. - After initially making the team’s 53-man roster, Caldwell was waived in the second round of cuts. He is the only member of the team’s 14-man draft class who is not on the 53-man roster. Caldwell probably would have stuck with the club had it not been for him missing all of camp with a hamstring injury. He is now recovered from that, but the team needed somebody who was ready to play in Week 1, as evidenced by their two waiver wire claims at the cornerback position. Caldwell can get re-acclimated to the defense while on the practice squad, and is the most likely player poised to get a call-up at some point.
S Ed Reynolds - 6-1, 207 lbs. - He was a sixth-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014. He played in 6 games last year, finishing with 21 tackles, 1 pass defended, and 1 interception. He led the team in tackles this preseason with 10, and he also logged an interception. Philadelphia had a crowded group at the safety position, with two clear starters in Rodney McCleod and Malcolm Jenkins. Cleveland is very young at the position, and if someone starts off slowly and Reynolds shows some promise on the practice squad, he could get a call-up at some point.
P Michael Palardy - 5-11, 191 lbs. - I’m surprised Cleveland opted to keep a punter on the practice squad. Despite his inconsistencies in the final preseason game, though, maybe special teams coordinator Chris Tabor thinks he can coach him up to the point where he could compete with veteran Britton Colquitt next year (or maybe even without Colquitt in camp, since he’s on a one-year deal).
What About These Players?
Here is the status of other practice squad eligible players you might be wondering about:
- RB Raheem Mostert - Unsigned
- RB Jahwan Edwards - Unsigned
- FB Robert Hughes - Unsigned
- WR Taylor Gabriel - Signed to Falcons’ 53-man roster
- WR Josh Boyce - Unsigned
- WR Ed Eagan - Unsigned
- TE J.P. Holtz - Unsigned
- TE E.J. Bibbs - Unsigned
- TE David Reeves - Unsigned
- C Mike Matthews - Unsigned
- OL Cory Tucker - Unsigned
- DL Kenton Adeyemi - Unsigned
- DL Chigbo Anunoby - Unsigned
- OLB Cam Johnson - Unsigned
- OLB Jason Neill - Unsigned
- CB K’Waun Williams - Unsigned / Failed physical with Bears
- CB Pierre Desir - Signed to Chargers’ 53-man roster
- CB Charles Gaines - Unsigned
- CB Eric Patterson - Unsigned
- CB Mikell Everette - Unsigned
- CB Tim Scott - Unsigned
- S Sean Baker - Unsigned
- K Travis Coons - Unsigned
- P Kasey Redfern - Unsigned