Summer vacation is nearly over for the 90 Browns players who will converge on Berea next week for the start of 2018 training camp. We're breaking down the roster position by position as the days wind down, and the heat ramps up for what promises to be an exciting month-plus at the Browns practice facility.
We're starting under center, where the Browns made major moves to improve production at one of the most important positions in all sports.
What we know: No position group on the entire Browns roster went through a bigger makeover than the quarterbacks, which boasts a completely different look entering 2018. Taylor, who is entering his eighth season, was acquired in a March trade with the Bills and was instantly anointed the team's starter, replacing DeShone Kizer, who started 15 games as a rookie last season and was subsequently traded to the Packers. He's one of the most experienced and decorated quarterbacks to join the Browns since the team returned in 1999, and it was clear on the practice fields throughout the offseason workout program. The Browns offense, while still working out the kinks and learning the new terminology of offensive coordinator Todd Haley's system, looked crisp and produced a number of big plays through the air throughout OTAs and minicamp. Taylor's presence allowed Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft, to quietly develop without the pressure and urgency to produce as the team's starter from Day 1. Midway through OTAs, Mayfield began taking the lion's share of the repetitions with the second-team offense while Stanton, the most experienced player on Cleveland's roster, moved down to the third team.
Biggest question: How will Haley adapt the offense to Taylor's and Mayfield's strengths? Simply put, Taylor -- from a measurables and skill set standpoint -- is a much different quarterback than Ben Roethlisberger, whom Haley coached during a stretch in which Pittsburgh's offense piled up big points and big yards and Roethlisberger made four Pro Bowl appearances. This question might not have an answer until we see the signal-callers run the offense during the preseason, and even that might be too early to make any broad-sweeping judgments. Haley called Taylor an "outlier" at the quarterback position because of the sustained success he's had despite measuring at 6-foot-1. Haley has repeatedly said he'll play to his quarterback's strengths. For Taylor, that centers on accuracy, protecting the football and some of the best mobility in the NFL.
X-Factor: The signing of Stanton was a relatively under-the-radar transaction, but it was an absolute boon for the Browns quarterbacks room. Not only is Stanton considered an "invaluable" asset to the team's starter, whom he'll help prepare for the upcoming opponent as the season progresses, but he'll also be pivotal to Mayfield, who has already embraced the mentorship Stanton was brought to Cleveland to provide. Astonishingly, Mayfield is the fourth No. 1-selected quarterback to play alongside Stanton, who has won some games and seen a lot in his 11 years in the NFL. "Drew Stanton does not get talked about a lot, but he is a guy with a lot of experience that I never was with, but having watched him through this phase of what we are doing – the OTAs, Phase II, Phase III, whatever they are – he still has got some in the tank," Haley said. "He can throw the football. He is extremely smart."
Stat tracker: Taylor attempted 1,236 passes and threw 16 interceptions in his three seasons with the Bills. Browns quarterbacks threw 28 picks in 574 attempts last season.
Says it all: "What I will say is probably in my career, this is one of the best if not the best quarterbacks rooms in general that I have had … The group in general is what I am excited about. I think that it is an intelligent, intelligent group with ability to throw the football and make plays with their legs some of them. When you have that, I think good things happen. Competition is created in the room, even though they are working hard together to help each other and get better as a group." -- Haley
How many were kept at last year's 53-man cutdown? 3