Every play on the practice field is part of an audition. The ones that happen at FirstEnergy Stadium and other NFL stadiums take on just a little bit more importance.
There were positives and negatives to take away from the Browns' preseason-opening loss to the Redskins, and we've documented those thoroughly over the past 24 hours. The following are five players who maximized the positives during their time on the field.
WR Travis Benjamin
The fourth-year wide receiver rode the momentum of a strong training camp into a productive showing Thursday. Just like he did at the Orange and Brown scrimmage, Benjamin caught Josh McCown's first pass of the game for a first down. His veteran move to induce pass interference on a deep pass from McCown resulted in a 35-yard gain and a trip into the red zone. Five plays later, Benjamin found himself in the corner of the end zone all alone, where he eventually hauled in a 2-yard touchdown pass.
TE E.J. Bibbs
The undrafted free agent signing who has been impressing coaches since May got on the field during the second quarter and lined up both in the backfield and at the traditional tight end spots. He finished the night as one of the team's top receivers, catching three passes for 29 yards during extensive work that carried into the fourth quarter. He was the only tight end to catch a pass.
WR Darius Jennings
Another undrafted free agent signing, Jennings made his biggest impact Thursday on special teams, when he returned the opening kickoff of the second half 54 yards. This was among the things Jennings did best at the University of Virginia, as he finished 2014 ranked 12th in the nation with an average of 27.1 yards per return. Jennings also was on the receiving end of one of Cleveland's biggest pass plays, hauling in a 22-yard pass from Connor Shaw on third-and-long during the third quarter.
DL Xavier Cooper
Browns coaches raved about Cooper's first step shortly after they traded up to select him in the third round of this year's draft. He's displayed it throughout training camp and put it into action during Thursday's second quarter when he burst through the Redskins offensive line to drop Kirk Cousins for a significant loss. The play was a momentum killer for Washington, which appeared to be rolling toward another touchdown. Instead, the Redskins settled for a field goal.
DB Ibraheim Campbell
It's hard to find anyone on either side of the field who played as much as Campbell, who picked up a lot of snaps because of an early exit for veteran Donte Whitner and a shortage of depth in the defensive backfield because of a number of injuries. Browns coach Mike Pettine singled out Campbell for making a few big hits on his way to five tackles. The fourth-round selection has been lauded for his smarts and has been catching on fast learning both of the safety positions.