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Position Preview

Browns 2023 Position Preview: Breaking down the RBs

The Browns appear ready to utilize a new No. 2 back behind Nick Chubb, while any more positions in the room will come down to a training camp competition


Can you believe it? Training camp is just overone week away. It's been another busy offseason for the Browns, and we'll start seeing how all the new and refined pieces come together very soon. We're preparing for it all with a comprehensive preview of every position on the roster,rolling next with the running backs.

The Running Backs

Nick Chubb

Jerome Ford

Demetric Felton Jr.

John Kelly Jr.

Hassan Hall

Nate McCrary

Check out the best photos of four-time Pro Bowl RB Nick Chubb from the 2022 season

What we know: This will be the first year the Browns enter a season without both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt since 2018, which was Chubb's rookie season. Ford, a fifth-round pick in 2022, is in line to absorb some of the snap totals that Hunt would typically carry, and the Browns have confidence in Ford to become a reliable backup rusher after he was mainly limited to kickoff return duties last year, a job he handled well. Felton will also be a player worth watching in training camp — after mainly being used as a receiver his first two NFL seasons, he'll attempt to crack a roster spot in training camp by solidifying a backup role in the RB room.

What we don't know: How might the rushing game change — if at all — with QB Deshaun Watson set to start the full season? The Browns are tweaking their playbook to better aid Watson after how he performed in his six starts last season, and it remains to be seen how the rushing plans could be affected by any offensive alterations. It's still a surefire bet, though, that Chubb will receive ample carries, and any other big questions about the group pertain to how Ford will follow behind him as he steps into the No. 2 role in the room. Ford's rushing sample size last season was very small as he carried the ball only eight times for 12 yards, but he's only two years removed from a 1,319-yard season in his final college year at Cincinnati. More opportunities could be all Ford needs to establish himself.

The X-Factor: Chubb, who could be in for his biggest workload in a season yet depending on how much the Browns incorporate Ford into their rushing plans. Having a player of Hunt's caliber to allow Chubb to catch his breath during games was certainly a benefit for Chubb, but he's also proven more than capable of succeeding when carrying the bulk of rushing totals during entire games, too. He hasn't missed a Pro Bowl the last four years, and the Browns need him to produce at those levels again regardless of any changes installed in the playbook.

The biggest number: 302. That was how many rushing attempts Chubb had last year, which was a career-high, and it resulted in another career-high of 1,525 yards. Chubb was tied for seventh among running backs last year with five yards per carry and showed no signs of slowing down despite the increased workload.

Says it all: "Jerome's got a skillset that allows him to do anything and everything. Pass protection, we worked a lot (on that) this spring, so that was the really the only thing we didn't really have a good handle on because he didn't do it a lot in college … One of the things that drew us to Jerome throughout last year's draft process is his ability in the passing game, and he will certainly have opportunities going into his second year to potentially showcase those skills on a more extended level." - RB coach Stump Mitchell on Ford

How many were kept on the initial 53-man roster last year?: 5

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