With rookie players like Cameron Erving, Duke Johnson and Xavier Cooper garnering a heap of the attention, some other Browns players have flown under the radar this spring. Here's a list of five who have surprised.
Perhaps no Browns player has benefitted more than Poyer during OTAs. With Tashaun Gipson's absence, Poyer has taken nearly every first-team snap at free safety, and he's flashed his athletic ability. The 24-year-old is entering his third-season from Oregon State and the extra reps he's getting this spring will bolster Cleveland's safety depth heading into the 2015 season. Poyer is also competing as a punt returner.
If you follow the Browns closely, you'll remember Meder played a big role on the defensive line in a Week 17 game against the Ravens. The Ashland University alum and Parma Heights native was added to the Browns practice squad in November and earned his way to the active roster by working his tail off on the scout team in practice. Though the defensive line room is as crowded as it gets, Meder is going to do everything in his power to make it a tough decision on the coaches and general manager Ray Farmer come September.
So far in OTAs, Carder is showing he's more than just a special teams ace. The 26-year-old linebacker is now in his fourth season, and thus far, it's apparent he's ready for more on his plate. Carder's been particularly strong in coverage this spring, marking running backs out of the backfield – something the Browns' offense and other teams around the league are building their passing attacks around. If Carder keeps showing his improvements, there could be extra reps coming his way in the preseason alongside Karlos Dansby, Chris Kirksey and Craig Robertson.
Signed less than two weeks ago, the 6-foot wide receiver has already jumped in and started making plays. The 24-year-old Iowa State alum spent his all of last season stashed on the Indianapolis Colts' practice squad. Lenz wasn't exactly a star receiver for the Cyclones, but at his Pro Day in 2013 he ran a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash and leaped 38.5 inches in the vertical jump. Lenz has the athletic ability to be a potential diamond in the rough.
Dwayne Bowe, Brian Hartline, Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel appear locked into the roster, meaning the battle for the fifth wide receiver will be a heated competition. Thus far, Benjamin has impressed the new offensive coaches in picking up the offense and finding open spaces on the field. Benjamin led the Browns with three touchdown catches in 2014 and had many explosive plays early in the season that helped Cleveland win games.