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

A look at the Browns’ backup offensive line.

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

In the past, for Part 2 of our offensive line preview, I would look at contenders for a starting role. However, the starting five are firmly locked in place, so instead, Part 2 will look at the group that I consider to be the second-string line: T Chris Hubbard, G Blake Hance, C Nick Harris, G Michael Dunn, and T James Hudson III.


Cleveland Browns Mandatory Minicamp Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

6. Chris Hubbard - Backup OL

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 295 lbs | Age: 30
Experience: 8 years | College: Alabama-Birmingham

Chris Hubbard proved his value to the Browns last season when he had to fill in for injured players, including at right guard for Wyatt Teller:

As the team’s starting right tackle for a couple of seasons, Hubbard left a bit to be desired. The signing of Jack Conklin last year meant that Hubbard would become a utility backup, but the word prior to the season was that the coaching staff really liked him and had no plans to cut ties with him. The question heading into this training camp is which position will be considered his primary backup spot — left tackle, right tackle, or right guard? My guess would be right tackle.

Final Roster Odds: 100%


Jacksonville Jaguars Training Camp Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

7. Blake Hance - Backup OG

Height: 6-6 | Weight: 310 lbs | Age: 25
Experience: 1 year | College: Northwestern

“A guy named Blake.”

With those four words, Blake Hance became somewhat of a household name in Cleveland [and the NFL], for at least a couple of weeks. Hance only joined the Browns in Week 17, when he was signed off of the Jets’ practice squad. With Joel Bitonio out due to COVID restrictions in the first playoff game, Hance became the backup guard. When Michael Dunn got hurt in the fourth quarter, “A guy named Blake,” who Mayfield had just introduced himself to a few hours earlier in the locker room, was inserted into action — and he got the job done.

A week later, when Jedrick Wills and Kendall Lamm got hurt against the Chiefs, Hance was forced into action at left tackle, which was another challenge in itself. From the eye test, I didn’t see any back-breaking issues at that position that cost us the game. What Hance did in those two weeks was very impressive, given the situation, and earned him a two-year contract with the club. We’ll see how he holds it together in his first training camp with the Browns.

Final Roster Odds: 60%


NFL: Cleveland Browns-Training Camp Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

8. Nick Harris - Backup C

Height: 6-1 | Weight: 302 lbs | Age: 22
Experience: 2 years | College: Washington

Nick Harris was drafted to possibly be the Browns’ future center. With J.C. Tretter staying healthy in 2020, though, Harris’ opportunity at playing time didn’t materialize until Weeks 15 and 16 — but that was at right guard. Wyatt Teller was still out to injury, and then his replacement, Chris Hubbard, suffered a season-ending injury. That forced Harris into action (and then Harris ended up on injured reserve, by the start of the playoffs).

The scouting report for Harris remains the same, as PFF described last year: “zone teams will love Harris’ ability to play in space.” We’ll get to see how he looks as a center in the preseason. At guard last year, he had a nice outing in pass protection in Week 15 against the Giants. One week later, though, he “struggled some in pass protection, allowing two quarterback pressures — including a sack — and being beaten on three more occasions,” according to PFF.

Final Roster Odds: 99%


Syndication: Akron Beacon Journal Jeff Lange via Imagn Content Services, LLC

9. Michael Dunn - Backup OG

Height: 6-5 | Weight: 307 lbs | Age: 26
Experience: 2 years | College: Maryland

Just like Hance, Michael Dunn received props for what he did in the postseason. With Joel Bitonio missing the first playoff game, Dunn saw his first real action as a member of the Browns by starting at left guard against Pittsburgh. He played 53 snaps before having to leave with a calf injury.

Dunn graded very well in the run blocking department against Pittsburgh. It is tough to bank on your backup offensive guards — Dunn and Hance — being two guys who played heroes out of no where in the postseason as their first NFL action, but that’s what we’re going with. On one hand, it makes the team look a bit thin at backup guard. On the other hand, I think you can afford that if Chris Hubbard stays healthy, because ultimately, he would be the next man up.

Final Roster Odds: 75%


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

10. James Hudson III - Rookie OT

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 302 lbs | Age: 22
Experience: Rookie | College: Cincinnati

The Browns drafted James Hudson in the fourth round of this year’s draft, adding some depth to the offensive tackle position after they opted not to re-sign backup Kendall Lamm this offseason. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had Hudson as his 10th-ranked offensive tackle on his board and the No. 83 player overall:

A one-year starter at Cincinnati, Hudson lined up at left tackle in offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock’s scheme. After starting his college career as a defensive lineman at Michigan, he made the switch to tackle and transferred to Cincinnati where he didn’t allow a sack in his one season (11 starts) for the Bearcats. Hudson fires out of his stance and achieves a balanced position in pass pro to mirror with quick, controlled steps. With only 719 career snaps at tackle, he has some bad habits, forgetting his feet or allowing his pads to rise, but he flashes power in his upper half to create torque on command. Overall, Hudson requires continued technical refinement to match up in the NFL, but his light feet, strong hands and natural balance are an intriguing starter pack at left tackle. He would fit best in a zone scheme where he can develop into an above-average starter.

Hudson only started one season at Cincinnati, but did not allow any sacks in 358 pass-blocking snaps. He figures to be the backup left tackle, giving the Browns a lot of youth at that position.

Final Roster Odds: 100%


Poll

The Browns carried nine offensive linemen this year. If that’s the case again, which of these five players will NOT make the final roster?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Chris Hubbard
    (49 votes)
  • 45%
    Blake Hance
    (205 votes)
  • 4%
    Nick Harris
    (20 votes)
  • 35%
    Michael Dunn
    (158 votes)
  • 3%
    James Hudson III
    (14 votes)
446 votes total Vote Now