In Part 2 of our tight end preview for Cleveland Browns training camp, we look at the remaining three players on the roster who will be competing for that third tight end spot: Randall Telfer, Taylor McNamara, and J.P. Holtz.
3. Randall Telfer - Blocking Tight End
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 250 lbs | Age: 25
Experience: 2 years | College: USC
Telfer returns to the Browns for his third season, but is very much on the bubble in terms of securing a roster spot. He served as the team’s second tight end last year, primarily as a blocker, for an average of 16 snaps per game. This year, the team will place a little more trust in the blocking of their two receiving tight ends, David Njoku and Seth DeValve.
More damning that that, though, is the fact that Telfer was not a stellar blocking tight end last season. Whether that was a function of a depleted offensive line remains to be seen, but the fact that he’s in camp with an upgraded line will allow him a chance to show he has a place on the team for some blocking situations. The team hardly targeted him last year (2 catches, 4 yards), but he doesn’t have hands of stone if the ball comes his way, including when he made a 30-yard catch in the preseason.
It is worth noting that Telfer missed all of 2015 after having mid-foot surgery, so 2016 basically served as his rookie season. I’m more-than-willing to see how Telfer has improved with an offseason of work, but I’m not so confident on his roster odds at this point.
Final Roster Odds: 50%
4. Taylor McNamara - Rookie Tight End
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 251 lbs | Age: 22
Experience: Rookie | College: USC
When the Browns signed 11 undrafted rookie free agents following the 2017 draft, most of the players were on the defensive side of the ball. In fact, the only offensive UDFA player remaining on the team is McNamara, a tight end who has ties to quarterback Cody Kessler from their days together at USC.
McNamara started his college football career out at Oklahoma before transferring to USC in 2015. He did not pile up a lot of yardage over his two seasons at USC, combining for 24 catches for 194 yards and 5 touchdowns. Scouting reports say that he is a limited route runner and won’t get yards after the catch, but that his hands are good — at his Pro Day, reports were that he caught the ball “exceptionally well,” which “built off of a terrific performance at the Shrine Game.” Expect things like this:
USC TE Taylor McNamara looking good early. Splits zone coverage pretty easily here. pic.twitter.com/OJJTTNNgGI— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) January 16, 2017
McNamara will enter camp as more of a blocking tight end, competing directly with his fellow alum (Telfer). He received good reviews for his blocking at USC, and if he can hold his own in camp, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him beat out Telfer.
Final Roster Odds: 40%
5. J.P. Holtz - Backup Tight End
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 240 lbs | Age: 23
Experience: 1 year | College: Pittsburgh
You might not remember Holtz, but he signed with the Browns last year as an undrafted free agent. He was with the team throughout training camp and had 2 catches for 8 yards in the preseason before being waived. The team signed him to their practice squad in mid-December after being on the market for several months.
Last year, our scouting report on Holtz was that he was limited athletically, but displayed good hands and a willingness to catch passes over the middle. Holtz' strength came in the pass-blocking department, and he had some experience as a tight end and H-back player. We’ll see if he takes any backup reps behind Danny Vitale at fullback, but heading into camp, I just view him as an extra body at the tight end position.
Final Roster Odds: 10%
Our final poll question for the tight end position:
If only one of these three tight ends makes the roster, who will it be?
This poll is closed