Training Camp

5 Browns training camp positional battles to circle

Into the late hours last week, general manager Ray Farmer, coach Mike Pettine, coordinators Jim O'Neil, John DeFilippo, Chris Tabor and the rest of the coaching staff met to discuss the state of the roster.

O'Neil said there were two consensus agreements that came from the evaluation meetings: The Browns are going stockpile certain positions where depth is plentiful and will inevitably cut some really good football players.

"The thing I love about Ray's and Pett's philosophy is we're going to keep the 53 best players," O'Neil said. "If we're one or two heavy on the D-line or we're one or two heavy at corner or one or two heavy on the offensive line. I think that's a great philosophy because if you try to match your roster to 'We have to have this many guys at this position,' you're cutting good football players, which I don't think you ever want to do.

"Are there going to be some tough decisions that probably have to be made, especially on our side of the ball? Absolutely. Absolutely. We're probably going to have to cut a couple good football players when it is all said and done at the end of training camp."

Here are five positions to monitor as the Browns break from mini-camp.

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Running back*

Candidates*: Isaiah Crowell, Terrance West, Duke Johnson, Glenn Winston, Shaun Draughn, Luke Lundy

Outlook*: Last week, DeFilippo revealed he prefers to ride the hot hand at running back, meaning whoever handles the carries is going to be a fluid situation. Crowell and West may enter camp with the upper hand but Johnson is already nipping on their heels. All three are expected to contribute to the offense as receivers, too.

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Right side of the offensive line*

Candidates*: John Greco, Mitchell Schwartz, Cameron Erving, Michael Bowie, Vinston Painter

Outlook*: DeFilippo told reporters Erving will likely begin the first day of training competing with Greco at right guard, but nothing is set in stone with the first-round pick. DeFilippo also spoke of how Schwartz has raised his ability in pass protection this offseason with some technique tweaks. Bowie is a dark-horse in this competition because of his experience starting seven games at right tackle for the Seahawks in 2013.

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Nose Tackle*

Candidates*: Phil Taylor, Ishmaa'ily Kitchen, Danny Shelton

Outlook*: Cleveland employs so many different packages and groupings on the defensive line, that this isn't really a true "competition." But believe Shelton's competitive fire will have him pushing for reps early. The preseason will actually be pretty big for Taylor, too, as he will use snaps to test his surgically repaired knee and get into better football shape.

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Second Cornerback *

Candidates:* Tramon Williams, Justin Gilbert, Pierre Desir, K'Waun Williams

Outlook: *This isn't more about who starts but about rotations. Williams is viewed by many around the league as Cleveland's best offseason acquisition and will be a prevalent piece all season. But the progression of Gilbert and Desir this offseason has warranted debate about different ways to get these guys on the field. And don't forget about K'Waun Williams. With the cross-training taking place -- Joe Haden is also learning the nickel back spot -- the second-year corner from Pittsburgh could see some snaps at outside cornerback, too.

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Kicker*

Candidates*:  Carey Spear, Travis Coons

Outlook*: Tabor is dealing with a completely refurbished special teams unit – punter Andy Lee, long-snapper Charley Hughlett and, of course, both Spear and Coons. We profiled Spear, who was a three-year captain at Vanderbilt and competed in Philadelphia Eagles camp last season. Coons competed with the Tennessee Titans in training camp in 2014.

**

Running back*

Candidates*: Isaiah Crowell, Terrance West, Duke Johnson, Glenn Winston, Shaun Draughn, Luke Lundy

Outlook*: Last week, DeFilippo revealed he prefers to ride the hot hand at running back, meaning whoever handles the carries is going to be a fluid situation. Crowell and West may enter camp with the upper hand but Johnson is already nipping on their heels. All three are expected to contribute to the offense as receivers, too.

**

Right side of the offensive line*

Candidates*: John Greco, Mitchell Schwartz, Cameron Erving, Michael Bowie, Vinston Painter

Outlook*: DeFilippo told reporters Erving will likely begin the first day of training competing with Greco at right guard, but nothing is set in stone with the first-round pick. DeFilippo also spoke of how Schwartz has raised his ability in pass protection this offseason with some technique tweaks. Bowie is a dark-horse in this competition because of his experience starting seven games at right tackle for the Seahawks in 2013.

**

Nose Tackle*

Candidates*: Phil Taylor, Ishmaa'ily Kitchen, Danny Shelton

Outlook*: Cleveland employs so many different packages and groupings on the defensive line, that this isn't really a true "competition." But believe Shelton's competitive fire will have him pushing for reps early. The preseason will actually be pretty big for Taylor, too, as he will use snaps to test his surgically repaired knee and get into better football shape.

**

Second Cornerback *

Candidates:* Tramon Williams, Justin Gilbert, Pierre Desir, K'Waun Williams

Outlook: *This isn't more about who starts but about rotations. Williams is viewed by many around the league as Cleveland's best offseason acquisition and will be a prevalent piece all season. But the progression of Gilbert and Desir this offseason has warranted debate about different ways to get these guys on the field. And don't forget about K'Waun Williams. With the cross-training taking place -- Joe Haden is also learning the nickel back spot -- the second-year corner from Pittsburgh could see some snaps at outside cornerback, too.

**

Kicker*

Candidates*:  Carey Spear, Travis Coons

Outlook*: Tabor is dealing with a completely refurbished special teams unit – punter Andy Lee, long-snapper Charley Hughlett and, of course, both Spear and Coons. We profiled Spear, who was a three-year captain at Vanderbilt and competed in Philadelphia Eagles camp last season. Coons competed with the Tennessee Titans in training camp in 2014.

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