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Cleveland Browns Training Camp 2020: Special Teams Preview (Part 1)

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The Browns only have one kicker, one punter, and one long snapper on the roster.

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

We have completed all of our training camp previews for the Browns’ offense and defense, and now we have just three players left to go for special teams: K Austin Seibert, P Jamie Gillan, and LS Charley Hughlett. Unusually, the team does not have a backup kicker or punter in camp (although that makes more sense given the pandemic).

In Part 1 of our special teams preview, we’ll talk about those three players. In Part 2, we’ll glance at the return game and coverage units.


Kicker


Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Austin Seibert - Kicker

Height: 5-9 | Weight: 211 lbs | Age: 23
Experience: 2 years | College: Oklahoma

A fifth-round pick in 2019, Austin Seibert had himself a pretty solid rookie season after a shaky training camp. He was 25-of-29 (86.21%) on field goals for the season. The concerning part was that he was 30-of-35 (85.7%). Seibert has the leg for 50+ yard kicks, but during the regular season, he only tried 2 kicks beyond 50+ yards, making 1 of them.

I don’t know if they finished that way, but at least through the end of November, the Browns’ kickoff coverage led the NFL in opposing starting field position (22.7 yard line) according to Pro Football Focus, and part of that was the fact that Seibert ranked 2nd in the NFL in average hangtime at 4.17 seconds. Hopefully Seibert can improve his extra point accuracy this season, but heading into camp, there are no signs of his job being in danger.

Final Roster Odds: 100%


Punter


Miami Dolphins v Cleveland Browns Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Jamie Gillan - Punter

Height: 6-1 | Weight: 207 lbs | Age: 23
Experience: 2 years | College: Arkansas Pine-Bluff

Jamie Gillan for MVP. As an undrafted rookie last year, the Scottish Hammer averaged 46.2 yards per punt (ranked 12th), with a net average of 42.3 yards. He had 28 punts downed inside the 20 yard line. One thing I appreciated about him as a rookie was that for him being relatively new to punting and a rookie, he didn’t have many, if any, shanks. There were some punts he wishes he could’ve hit better, but all in all, there was nothing but upside for Gillan. He also made 3 tackles during the preseason in 2019 (only 1 during the regular season), which fans loved.

When you look at Pro Football Focus factoring everything in, they ranked Gillan as the 3rd-best punter in the NFL last season, crediting him with a good hang time and the percentage of punts that he had downed inside the 20 yard line. Like the kicker position, Gillan faces no competition at punter heading into camp.

Final Roster Odds: 100%


Long Snapper


Tennessee Titans v Cleveland Browns Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Charley Hughlett - Long Snapper

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 248 lbs | Age: 30
Experience: 6 years | College: Central Florida

It’s hard to believe that when he went undrafted in 2012, the Cowboys, Patriots, Jaguars, and Chiefs all had a look at Charley Hughlett before he ended up becoming the Browns’ new long snapper at the beginning of the 2015 season. Hughlett has been consistent and reliable for five straight seasons now, and there’s no reason that can’t continue.

One thing that teams should consider, though, is adding a backup long snapper to their practice squad, or spending more time in cross-training someone. With the pandemic, long snapper is one of those positions where, if COVID strikes the player, it leaves you with a big void at that spot.

Final Roster Odds: 100%


Poll

What type of expectations do you have for Austin Seibert?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    Very reliable — making several big kicks throughout the year.
    (143 votes)
  • 45%
    About the same as last year. OK, nothing our of the ordinary.
    (119 votes)
  • 0%
    Not good; we might have to look elsewhere.
    (2 votes)
264 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will Jamie Gillan become a Pro Bowler in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 84%
    Yes
    (189 votes)
  • 16%
    No
    (36 votes)
225 votes total Vote Now