Report Card Grades for Every Cleveland Browns Rookie Through Preseason Week 2
The Cleveland Browns have 27 rookies in camp, and it's time to see how they are doing through two preseason games.
The 12 draft picks figure to play a prominent role on the team, but some of the undrafted rookies have earned high grades as well.
Injuries and possible suspensions have added to the opportunities on defense. The first two weeks of preseason have seen rookies John Hughes and Billy Winn play well on the defensive line. Two of the team's three starting linebacker spots have also been filled by rookies. Meanwhile, the injury to Dimitri Patterson has provided an opportunity for rookie Trevin Wade to be the first man up when the Browns go with three corners.
It hasn't taken injury to get rookies on the field on offense. Instead, the lack of talent on that side of the ball has presented the chance for four rookies to start the regular season.
The headliner has been Brandon Weeden, with No. 3 overall pick Trent Richardson's injury limiting his ability. However, he will be the starter when he returns
Supplemental pick Josh Gordon has started both preseason games and figures to have locked up a starting job. Meanwhile, rookie right tackle Mitchell Schwartz has flown under the radar, but fared pretty well after a couple of rough plays in the first game against the Detroit Lions.
The speedy Travis Benjamin has been grading out well through the first two weeks, despite injury holding him out of the second preseason game. In practice, Benjamin has been getting more reps in the three-receiver set.
One disappointment among the free-agent rookies has been Josh Cooper, Weeden’s former Oklahoma State teammate, who looks to be headed for the practice squad.
Overall, the grade for the Browns rookies is a B, because of the large amount of rookies playing key roles on the team and living up to the expectations.
Let's take a look at each noteworthy rookie in depth.
Trent Richardson Still Gets a High Grade with the Knee Injury
Trent Richardson was playing like the third overall pick before he had the knee scope.
He gets a B- based on his play in camp until the injury.
Weeden Has Been the Model Student Through Two Weeks of the Preseason
The rookie quarterback Weeden gets a B+ for coming into camp and taking the starting job from Colt McCoy.
Mitchell Schwartz Is Holding Down a Solid Grade on the Right Side of the Line
The second-round right tackle has had some growing pains, but get a C+ on his way to a solid B in the preseason.
John Hughes Is Making His Way to the Top of the Class
The Browns took a lot of heat for the selection of John Hughes, but he has played big in stepping in for the injured Phil Taylor. He gets B for his performance in training camp.
Travis Benjamin Has Run His Way to a High Grade
Although Travis Benjamin sat out the second preseason game, he has shown he is a fast football player and not just a track guy. The speedy receiver has earned a B.
James-Michael Johnson Has Played Well as a Fill-in Starter at Linebacker
JMJ, as his teammate call him, has added a speed element to the linebacker position. He figures to have a chance to start with the suspension of Scott Fujita for the first three games of the season. He earns a solid C+.
Ryan Miller's Camp Has Been Quiet
Ryan Miller has been steady through the first two games of the preseason with the backup offensive line.
He makes the grade with a C.
Emmanuel Acho Another Candidate to Help the Linebacker Rotation
Acho has had a steady preseason and is also in the mix to fill in for the soon-to-be suspended Fujita, as well as the injured Chris Gocong.
Billy Winn Is Playing a Key Role on the Defensive Line
With the injury to Phil Taylor, and Ahtyba Rubin practicing but not playing in the preseason, Winn has stepped up along with his fellow draft pick Hughes.
He gets a B in the grade book.
Trevin Wade Has Been Making Plays in the Preseason Games
Trevin Wade's chances of making the team as a seventh-round pick increased when Dimitri Patterson went down. Wade has made the most of his opportunity with solid tackling and tight coverage in practice and the preseason games.
He gets a B.
Brad Smelley Has Been Solid Through Two Preseason Games
The former Alabama teammate of Trent Richardson might get caught in the numbers games with the final roster. He has shown versatility in camp to line up as the H-Back or fullback, and he also caught a touchdown pass in the first preseason game. His best chance to make the team will be on special teams as the Browns already have a starter at full back.
He grades out with a C+.
The Undrafted Rookies Get a C+
Players like L.J. Fort make this group stand out for the Browns in the preseason.
Josh Gordon Is a Big Key to the Passing Game in Cleveland
The second-round supplemental pick is very talented and smart, but has some catching up to since he didn't play football last year.
The wide receiver has been both impressive and unimpressive in the preseason games. Having said that, the coaches feel he can be a special player for the Browns with the extra work he is getting in camp.
Gordon gets B because of his big-play ability. He is that talented, even with his up and down play.