In Part 4 of our defensive line preview for training camp, we will look at the remaining defensive ends on the back end of the roster competing for a roster spot: Porter Gustin, Trevon Young, Robert McCray, and George Obinna.
13. Porter Gustin - Backup DE
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 257 lbs | Age: 23
Experience: 2 years | College: USC
Porter Gustin was an undrafted free agent in 2019 who originally signed with the New Orleans Saints. He didn’t make their roster out of camp, and then it wasn’t until November that the Browns signed him to their practice squad. When Myles Garrett was suspended, the Browns needed more depth at the end position and promoted him to the active roster.
For having just been signed, Gustin saw a fair amount of playing time in his 6 games with Cleveland. He registered 13 tackles, 1 sack, and recovered 1 fumble. He played in 221 snaps, which amounted to 21% of the team’s defensive snaps on the year. Per Pro Football Focus, Gustin had 7 quarterback pressures and was the team’s top tackling defensive lineman with a grade of 77.4. If he can defend the run relatively well, I think he challenges for the fourth defensive end spot. Here is what Dane Brugler said about Gustin before the 2019 draft:
A three-year starter at USC, Gustin was a stand-up hybrid linebacker (a position called the “Predator”) in the Trojans’ 3-4 base scheme and was primarily used as a pass rusher. When on the field, he was productive with almost as many career sacks (21.0) as starts (22.0). However, various injuries kept Gustin off the field (he recorded the most MRIs at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine), which is cruel irony considering he treats his body like a temple, following a strict diet and workout routine. He passes the eye test and plays a physical brand of football, but needs to add more diversity and discipline to his rush plan. Overall, Gustin is a predictable pass rusher with average athletic traits, but there is a place in the NFL for his off-the-charts intensity and competitive toughness — if he stays healthy.
Final Roster Odds: 60%
14. Trevon Young - Backup DE
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 258 lbs | Age: 25
Experience: 2 years | College: Louisville
Trevon Young was a 6th round pick by the Los Angeles Rams in 2018. Cleveland signed him to their practice squad in December last year. Digging back to the 2018 draft, here is what Dane Brugler had said about Young:
A two-year starter at Louisville, Young put his name on the NFL radar in 2015 as a junior outside linebacker in the Cardinals’ 3-4 scheme prior to his career-threatening hip injury. He returned to the field in 2017 and played defensive end in Louisville’s four-man front, rushing from both a two- and three-point stance. Young showed steady improvement throughout his senior season as he worked back to football shape, but didn’t flash the same arc explosiveness or overall effectiveness. He is a smart run defender with his read/react ability, but needs to improve his take-on skills to keep himself free. Overall, Young looked like an early round draft pick before his hip injury sidetracked his career, but the post-injury version of Young still has enough traits to carve out a rotational pass-rushing role in the NFL – if the medical staff signs off.
When looking for defensive end depth back here, anyone who has “smart run defender” in their scouting report will open up eyes. But again, this is another case of, “how do you showcase that ability in this type of camp, especially with no preseason games?”
Final Roster Odds: 5%
15. Robert McCray - Backup DE
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 273 lbs | Age: 24
Experience: 1 year | College: Indiana
Robert McCray was an undrafted free agent in 2018 who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. After being on their practice squad as a rookie, he didn’t make the club in 2019. The Browns signed him to their practice squad in late November of last year, and then he was promoted to the active roster in December to log one tackle in 25 snaps.
#LotteryTickets McCray was listed at 6' 1" 266lbs at the Chiefs mini-camp. He's got work to do on the edge, but he plays with some power. Here he is pushing LT Jamarco Jones into the QB. pic.twitter.com/DzRrnuZJ8G— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) May 11, 2018
When McCray was trying to make the Chiefs’ roster in 2018, our Kansas City affiliate did a great article on him here. His athletic traits were very impressive, but the feeling was that he needed a lot of polishing to make it in the NFL. He may flash in camp with his ability, but how well can he hold up against the run?
Final Roster Odds: 5%
16. George Obinna - Backup DE
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 245 lbs | Age: 23
Experience: Rookie | College: Sacramento
The final player on the Browns’ defensive line is George Obinna, an under-the-radar undrafted free agent rookie from Sacramento. Although he is listed as a defensive end on the Browns’ roster, his size might be more fit for the outside linebacker position. Obinna had 33.5 sacks in college, dominating small schools with his size and quickness. Here is a clip of one of those many sacks:
Obinna is expected to play the same role of pass-rushing specialist in the NFL. I don’t think he’s the type of player who can leap to a 53-man roster as a rookie, but if he shows enough to impress the team, he could make the practice squad with some guidance on how to improve his craft.
Final Roster Odds: <5%
Which of these four defensive ends do you like the most?
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