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5 things to watch at Browns' 3-day veteran minicamp

Two months and three days since they began their first offseason workout program under Hue Jackson, the Browns will hit the field for the final time before training camp this week for their mandatory veteran minicamp.

It all starts Tuesday afternoon and runs through Thursday. It's the only mandatory part of the offseason workout program, but the Browns enter with a solid foundation established through hard work at OTAs.

"It is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but the guys are starting to truly understand what it takes to have an opportunity to win in this league and just how hard it is each and every day," Jackson said last week. "When you go on a football field or in a weight room or into a classroom, just the focus that you have to have to go out and compete at such a high level. There are 31 other teams that we compete against and some of the best players in the world and some of the best coaches in the world.

"I think we are starting to get it."

Here are the five things we'll be keeping a close eye on when camp begins Tuesday afternoon.

1. Young WRs' big opportunity to impress

It was around this time last year when Travis Benjamin, sparsely used at wide receiver during the first three years of his Browns career, started making enough plays on the practice field to raise some eyebrows. He followed with a career year.

What happens this week shouldn't be proclaimed as a foreshadowing of what's to come in 2016, but it certainly can set the tone heading into a long stretch away from Berea.

Seven of Cleveland's 12 wide receivers have yet to catch a pass in the NFL. Another, former quarterback Terrelle Pryor, has one career reception. It's a young group loaded with talent -- and that includes Pryor, who has flashed throughout the offseason workout program -- that is receiving hands-on coaching from one of the game's best, 33-year NFL veteran Al Saunders.

First-round pick Corey Coleman is among the many rookies in this group who will experience his first veteran minicamp in this group. The opportunity is there for a strong impression heading into his first training camp.

The Browns took to the practice fields for their final offseason training activity of 2016 before next week's minicamp.

2. Who's at tight end?

Speaking of opportunity, there's a big one out there this week for Cleveland's young tight ends.

Pro Bowl veteran Gary Barnidge recently underwent surgery on a sports hernia and will be sidelined for the minicamp. That means more repetitions and opportunities with the projected starters for the likes of E.J. Bibbs, Randall Telfer, rookie Seth DeValve and other members of the group.

With the departure of Jim Dray, the Browns have an opening at the second tight end spot that is likely to be filled by a player with minimal professional experience. Bibbs saw some spot duty near the end of last season and gained experience after spending the entire 2015 season on the 53-man roster. Telfer spent all of his 2015 rookie season on injured reserve.

3. Is there an E.J. Bibbs in this year's class of under-the-radar rookies?

Last year, Bibbs landed on the Browns roster after a tryout at rookie minicamp and made the absolute most of it. He was the only undrafted player to stick with Cleveland for all 17 weeks of the 2015 season and he started paving the way to that type of standing with the team by impressing at veteran minicamp.

Cleveland signed 10 undrafted free agents shortly after the draft and added another after its rookie minicamp. The odds are always stacked against these types of players, especially when the team is breaking in a 14-man draft class, but there's always room on the roster for a player who proves he can be one of the team's best 53.

The Achievement Centers for Children Cleveland Browns Adapted Football League recently held their Skills Session. The program is the first of its kind in the state of Ohio and is supported by the Cleveland Browns Foundation.

4. Wide open Browns secondary

With Joe Haden on the sidelines and vacancies to fill at the two safety spots, the Browns have plenty of questions to answer in a secondary that has a nice mix of young players, players entering their prime and experienced veterans.

Justin Gilbert, looking to bounce back from a tough start to his career, has been among the players filling in for Haden at the cornerback spot opposite of Tramon Williams. Second-year safety Ibraheim Campbell and fourth-year Jordan Poyer have been among those looking to fill the cleats of Donte Whitner and Tashaun Gipson. The Browns also have rookies -- Trey Caldwell, Derrick Kindred, Tracy Howard, A.J. Stamps -- and veterans looking to rebound -- Rahim Moore Sr. and Jamar Taylor -- in the mix for what promises to be a new-look secondary.

5. The quarterbacks

Yes, the Browns are in the midst of a quarterback competition and it will continue at this week's minicamp.

Cleveland has five quarterbacks on the roster -- Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Austin Davis, Connor Shaw and rookie Cody Kessler. Griffin received plenty of work with the first-team offense throughout OTAs and made plenty of progress, coaches said. It's an important decision the Browns only want to make once this season, though, and Jackson has stressed he's in no hurry to release a pecking order at quarterback.

Their production over the next three days will go into the deep vat Jackson and associate head coach - offense Pep Hamilton will pull from when they make their final decision.

"I'm seeing the improvement out of the whole group that I am looking for, but we still have a little bit more that I need to see to feel very comfortable and confident in saying, 'This is our guy,'" Jackson said. "I think they are all competing extremely hard and extremely well.

"I feel very comfortable that we have enough candidates at the position that people are starting to emerge."

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