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Cleveland Browns Training Camp 2021: RB Preview (Part 2)

Can one of these backs upset D’Ernest Johnson for a roster spot?

Cleveland Browns Off-Season Workout Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

In Part 1 of our running back preview, we looked at the Browns’ cream-of-the-crop running backs. In Part 2, we look at the other three backs on the roster: Demetric Felton, John Kelly, and Tre Harbison.


Cleveland Browns Off-Season Workout Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

4. Demetric Felton - Rookie Drafted RB

Height: 5-9 | Weight: 189 lbs | Age: 22
Experience: Rookie | College: UCLA

How exactly will the Browns utilize Demetric Felton? That is one of the intriguing smaller-scale storylines heading into this year’s camp. Taken in the 6th round, Felton has experience as a wide receiver but ended up shifting to the running back role. Dane Brugler of The Athletic says that while Felton needs to sharpen his awareness and skills, “his route construction, break quickness and ball skills were impressive during Senior Bowl practices at receiver.” You can imagine the Browns starting off with Felton in the backfield, motioning him to the slot, and then getting him in a favorable match-up where he can run a route like this:

In Part 1 of our running back preview, I pondered why we didn’t see more packages with both Chubb and Hunt on the field at the same time. But maybe the package we see this year could feature both Chubb and Felton, so that you’re still keeping your other top back fresh for rotational purposes.

The Browns are intrigued by Felton’s versatility, but the question will be whether he is good enough to win a roster spot. He doesn’t possess top-end speed, and ultimately, he would have more of a niche role as opposed to being an everydown player. He’s going to have to be really good at that niche, though, to stay on the roster. My guess is that D’Ernest Johnson locks down the third running back role still, while Felton gets a spot on the practice squad.

Final Roster Odds: 30%


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5. John Kelly - Backup RB

Height: 5-10 | Weight: 208 lbs | Age: 24
Experience: 2 years | College: Tennessee

John Kelly was also a 6th round pick, but that was back in the 2018 season by the Los Angeles Rams. He saw most of his NFL action late in the 2018 season, although he did see action for one game in 2019. Altogether, he has 30 carries for 83 yards to go along with 2 catches for 27 yards.

Kelly wasn’t able to win a roster spot last offseason with the Rams, but Cleveland signed him to their practice squad in September. He stayed there all season and has stayed on to receive a look in training camp. A few years ago, scouting reports indicated that he was an under-sized back, but that he wasn’t afraid to use his strength to throw a block or break through tackles/deliver a stiff arm. His speed is also good when he gets into the open field.

Kelly doesn’t have a lot of experience at running back in terms of reps, but it’s easy to see why he’ll stick around for camp. Kelly is another player who will be trying to gun for Johnson’s third running back spot.

Final Roster Odds: 10%


Cleveland Browns Off-Season Workout Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

6. Tre Harbison - Undrafted Free Agent RB

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 218 lbs | Age: 22
Experience: Rookie | College: Charlotte

The Browns didn’t have many undrafted free agents this offseason, but Tre Harbison was one of them. He began his college career at Northern Illinois before transferring to Charlotte. Overall, Harbison had 2,682 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns in college. Harbison was the 36th-ranked running back on Dane Brugler’s draft board, which was one spot shy of earning a descriptive review from Brugler. Darn it.

Harbison doesn’t have speed or combine numbers that light up the board, which likely played a factor in why he went undrafted. He is a good downhill runner, though, so some of those numbers can be thrown out the window if he can prove himself at the NFL level. Here is one of the clips of him dragging a defender:

Six running backs seems like quite a bit for camp. I always think it’s hard for running backs to show off their skills in training camp, so the preseason games will be very much welcomed by these guys.

Final Roster Odds: <5%


Poll

Which running back are you most intrigued by?

This poll is closed

  • 94%
    Demetric Felton
    (307 votes)
  • 1%
    John Kelly
    (6 votes)
  • 3%
    Tre Harbison
    (13 votes)
326 votes total Vote Now