Who is the odd TE out in Cleveland?

July, 31, 2008
7/31/08
1:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker 

Considering no preseason games have been played, it's very early to start thinking about roster cuts. But there is an interesting situation developing concerning the tight-end situation with the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns have four solid tight ends in Pro Bowler Kellen Winslow Jr., backups Steve Heiden and Darnell Dinkins, and rookie Martin Rucker. It's doubtful Cleveland will keep all four, despite the fact that each players brings something to the table.

"It's definitely deep and that's good,'' Heiden told reporters this week. "Competitiveness makes us all better."

Winslow is one of the best tight ends in the NFL, but he is not a good run blocker. That's where Heiden and Dinkins come in because run blocking is their specialty. Heiden also is a solid receiver with 168 career catches, so he's probably safe.

That leaves Dinkins and Rucker. Dinkins plays an important role on special teams but is not irreplaceable. Rucker remains raw, but the Browns traded up in the fourth round to get him, so they won't give up on Rucker too soon.

Therefore, barring injury, it appears Dinkins will be on the outside looking in. But whoever gets released from this group, they shouldn't be on the street very long. There are several teams that lack depth at tight end, including the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North. The Ravens lost backup tight end Quinn Sypniewski for the season with a knee injury.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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