Postcard from Browns minicamp
June, 6, 2012
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
BEREA, Ohio -- Here are some impressions from my two-day visit to Browns' mandatory minicamp:
- The Browns' wide receiver position remains a glaring weakness. Too many dropped passes. More on this Thursday on the blog.
- When rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden is working with the second and third teams, his passes often go to undrafted rookie receiver Josh Cooper. Weeden and Cooper played at Oklahoma State. The undrafted receiver that stood out to me was Florida State's Bert Reed, who showed quickness.
- Cornerback Buster Skrine doesn't have to be perfect because he's so fast. Skrine got beat by Travis Benjamin, but his recovery speed allowed him to break up a well-thrown pass from Brandon Weeden.
- Free safety Eric Hagg, a seventh-round pick from a year ago, looks like the most improved player on the team. He's running with the first team, and he isn't close to losing that job by the way he's playing. Hagg is constantly around the ball. What helped him the most is the Browns didn't place him on injured reserve after he had arthroscopic surgery on his knee in August. That allowed him to contribute late in the season, which paved the way to an impressive offseason.
- If the season started today, I believe the Browns would go with rookie seventh-round pick Brad Smelley at fullback over Owen Marecic, a fourth-round pick from a year ago whose rookie season was marred by multiple concussions. That would give the Browns an all-Alabama backfield with Smelley and Trent Richardson.
- Colt McCoy showed again why the Browns looked for a strong-armed quarterback in the draft. He missed a wide-open receiver deep downfield because his pass floated too much and allowed a defensive back to bat it down.
- Still surprised to see cornerback Sheldon Brown working with the first-team defense. Head coach Pat Shurmur warned not to read into the current lineups, and I believe this falls into that category. I'm sticking by the cornerback tandem of Joe Haden and Dimitri Patterson starting in the season opener.
- Nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin is a big guy. But I would put money on him weighing more than his listed weight of 330 pounds. When he wasn't lining up for a drill or a play, he was one of the first to take a knee.
- File this under the "nice guys" category: When I was leaving the Browns facility Tuesday, there were a couple of boys waiting across the street from the parking lot who were looking to get their helmet and football signed. I was surprised by the number of Browns players who pulled their car over to give an autograph.