In Part 1 of our offensive line preview, we looked at the four starters who are locked in to their roles. In Part 2, we look at the primary backups and contenders for the starting right guard position: Chris Hubbard, Wyatt Teller, Nick Harris, Drew Forbes, and Kendall Lamm.
5. Chris Hubbard - Contender for RG Spot
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 295 lbs | Age: 29
Experience: 7 years | College: Alabama-Birmingham
The Browns restructured Chris Hubbard’s contract this offseason, resulting in both a paycut and taking a year off his deal. Cleveland did it after signing Jack Conklin to be their new starting right tackle. Hubbard did not perform well in 2019 and was one of the lowest-graded offensive tackles in the league by Pro Football Focus. He is expected to be the team’s primary backup at both tackle positions in 2020, and there is an outside chance he could contend for the starting right guard position.
Initially, Hubbard is not expected to be in the running for the starting right guard job in camp. Players like Wyatt Teller, Drew Forbes, and a couple others will get the first crack at it. However, if their performance isn’t up to par, it is believed that Bill Callahan will consider sliding Hubbard in at right guard. Back in March, ESPN’s Jake Trotter referenced that Hubbard “has a lot of fans in the building” and that he was viewed as hard working, very reliable, and a good teammate.
Final Roster Odds: 90%
6. Wyatt Teller - Contender for RG Spot
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 315 lbs | Age: 25
Experience: 3 years | College: Virginia Tech
A fifth round pick by the Bills in 2017, Cleveland acquired Teller at the start of the 2019 season in exchange for a 5th and 6th round pick. It was thought that Teller would be inserted into the starting lineup early in the year, but Freddie Kitchens stuck with veteran Eric Kush for the first seven games before making the switch to Teller for the remainder of the season (nine games).
For Teller not having worked with the Browns in training camp last year, he did a respectable job. He only allowed one sack on the season (although he still allowed too many pressures on the quarterback), and his pass blocking grade was above average in three of the final five games of the year. He also showed some improvement in his run blocking as the season went along, although it was nothing to write home about. In an optimistic view, the combination of a second season with the Browns, a new scheme, and having a much more reliable player on his right side will allow Teller to be a stable starting right guard.
Final Roster Odds: 95%
7. Nick Harris - Rookie Backup C
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 302 lbs | Age: 21
Experience: Rookie | College: Washington
Nick Harris was Cleveland’s 5th round pick this year. The universal praise regarding Harris is that everyone views him as a perfect fit for the zone blocking scheme that head coach Kevin Stefanski is installing. He was a center in college, and even though he might get some reps at guard, Cleveland has initially said that he will stay at center.
#Browns Fifth-round pick Nick Harris only allowed 4 sacks and 3 QB hits on 1,244 pass-block snaps with the Huskies from 2017-19 (PFF). Great fit in the zone scheme.— Cody Suek (@CodySuek) April 25, 2020
Dane Brugler graded him as the 4th-best center in this year’s class:
A four-year starter at Washington, Harris started at guard before moving to center the past two seasons in former head coach Chris Petersen’s shotgun spread offense. Despite his position versatility in college, he is viewed as a one-position player by most around the league. Harris is quick and determined in everything he does on the football field, displaying the alpha attitude and intelligence that translates to the pro level. While he loves to finish and finds a way to stick to blocks, his body type will limit him in certain situations. Overall, Harris is scheme-specific and will be overlooked because he lacks ideal NFL measurables, but he has a terrific blend of smarts, technique and agility with a competitive playing temperament, displaying starter-level traits in a zone-blocking scheme.
JC Tretter is still under contract for a couple more years, but there’s nothing wrong with having solid depth at the position. Maybe it’s possible at some point too that Harris is a better fit, and then something is explored with Tretter (moving him to guard, or trading him). But it is way too premature to think about that now; Tretter is a well-rounded starter.
PFF says, “If there’s a center you want playing out in space either in the running game or on screens, it’s Harris. The scary thing is that he’s just scratching the surface technique-wise.”
Final Roster Odds: 100%
8. Drew Forbes - Backup OG
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 308 lbs | Age: 23
Experience: 2 years | College: Southeast Missouri State
I’ve been running Dawgs By Nature for over 14 years now, and I’m starting to notice how quick I forget about big busts with the team. In researching about Drew Forbes, I read about Austin Corbett, and did a face palm to myself on how he was a recent second-round guard who isn’t even with the team any more. Back to Forbes, though — he was a 6th round pick last year who most teams viewed as a guard at the NFL level, but Cleveland thought he warranted a look at tackle too. Here is what Dane Brugler said about Forbes last year:
Forbes pays close attention to his technique but needs to streamline his hands and compact his punch to handle NFL speed. Core power like his is imperative, dropping his hips to anchor and adjust well to moving targets. Overall, Forbes’ lack of length and punch timing could make him vulnerable vs. quick defensive tackles, but all the mental and physical ingredients are there for him to develop into a quality NFL guard.
Forbes injured his knee in the final preseason game last year and was placed on injured reserve. He was designated to return from IR in October, and then activated from IR in November. He will be a contender to start at right guard — it’ll be interesting to see which of these guards seizes the opportunity with an impressive camp in front of a new coaching staff.
Final Roster Odds: 75%
9. Kendall Lamm - Veteran Backup OT
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 310 lbs | Age: 28
Experience: 6 years | College: Appalachian State
The Browns signed Kendall Lamm to a two-year deal last offseason. He was originally signed to be veteran depth, but he suffered a knee injury in Week 1 right after Greg Robinson had been ejected, causing him to be inactive for the next ten games. He started two games from Weeks 14-15 at right tackle, replacing an injured Chris Hubbard.
Lamm is set to have a cap hit of $2.65 million this year, and the team would only carry $300,000 in dead money if they released him. When you factor in Lamm and Hubbard combining to have about $7 million against the cap and both of them being veteran players, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lamm let go. From a roster building standpoint, this is a case where I like to see one veteran, and one undrafted type of player be the backup tackles. Also, a player like Forbes could fill in at tackle in a pinch.
Final Roster Odds: 40%
Who do you think will be the Browns’ starting right guard in Week 1?
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