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5 Browns starters who began their careers as undrafted free agents

The Browns on Thursday welcomed 11 new additions to the roster via undrafted free agency.

The headline didn't generate as much buzz as last weekend's, when Cleveland added 14 players through the draft, but it's an important step toward the construction of a young nucleus the team hopes to build as it looks to 2016 and beyond.

A large percentage of the NFL is made up of players who broke in the hard way, and Cleveland certainly has its fair share of players who went from under the radar to prominent starters.

Here are five.

DL Desmond Bryant

In a meeting with reporters last month, Browns vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry reaffirmed his surprise that Bryant, a former teammate of his at Harvard, went undrafted. Bryant latched on the with the Raiders in 2009 and saw the field in some sort of fashion in all 16 games as a rookie. His breakout season came in 2011, when he became a full-time starter and registered five sacks, and he joined the Browns as a free agent in 2013. This past season, Bryant was one of the Browns' most consistent defenders and led the team with six sacks.

RB Isaiah Crowell

His draft stock took a hit after he transferred from Georgia to Alabama State, but Crowell was a highly coveted undrafted free agent, and the Browns won out shortly after the 2014 draft. Crowell led the Browns with eight rushing touchdowns as a rookie and took on the lead role in 2015, finishing with 706 yards and four scores. Browns coach Hue Jackson has doled out plenty of praise Crowell's way throughout the offseason, and he's poised to have a significant role again after the Browns went without taking a running back in the draft.

DB Tramon Williams

Williams' path to a prominent role took a few years to develop. Williams, who attended Louisiana Tech, entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Houston Texans and was signed to the Packers' practice squad for the final five weeks of the 2006 season. He landed on the active roster one year later and appeared in every 2007 regular season game. Signed by the Browns last offseason, Williams has missed just two games over the past nine years.

DB K'Waun Williams

Cleveland's top nickel cornerback wasn't even an undrafted free agent out of the University of Pittsburgh the first time he practiced in Berea. Williams earned a contract when he impressed at the team's rookie minicamp and fought even harder to land a spot on the 53-man roster. With the Browns' heavy use of nickel defense over the past two seasons, Williams has been on the field more than he hasn't during his first two NFL seasons, picking up 59 tackles and 10 passes defensed in 26 games.

WR Andrew Hawkins

Hawkins' path from way off-the-radar college prospect to a regular NFL starter has been well-documented, and it went well beyond your everyday story most undrafted free agents have. The former Toledo wide receiver worked out for the Browns in 2008 but didn't receive an offer. He appeared on a reality TV show where the winner earned a spot with the Dallas Cowboys but finished as a runner-up. He played two seasons in the Canadian Football League. In 2011, he signed with the Rams and was waived shortly thereafter. Finally, he latched on with the Bengals and made an immediate impact, serving a prominent role from 2011-2013 before landing with the Browns in 2014.

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