Browns Mailbag

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Browns Mailbag: Could any other big roster additions be made this offseason?

Staff writer Anthony Poisal answers your questions every week

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It's a big week in Berea — well, for one day, at least.

The Browns' mandatory minicamp officially begins Tuesday, starting with a practice at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. That'll be the only team practice in Berea this week, though, with a trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame planned Wednesday and a practice at FirstEnergy Stadium scheduled Thursday.

After that, it's a six-week hiatus until training camp begins.

We're starting the busy week answering three of your questions.

Do you foresee the Browns making any more significant additions to the roster via free agency, specifically at the defensive tackle and/or wide receiver positions? - Nick Dolance, Glendale, AZ

The Browns certainly seem content with who they have on the roster right now, but that doesn't mean they won't explore ways to become better.

It's reasonable to think the Browns could still explore upgrades at wide receiver and defensive tackle, two positions that will each need new starters this year, based on their evaluations of the roster during the offseason program. A couple big free agents are still available at each position and could all be signed to teams in the next month.

If they're still looking for additions at defensive tackle, five-time Pro Bowler Ndamukong Suh is one top player who has yet to sign a deal. Star Lotulelei and Linval Joseph, two longtime NFL veterans, are also free agents, as are former Browns DTs Larry Ogunjobi and Sheldon Richardson.

At receiver, Will Fuller V is still available. He's noteworthy because of his connection with QB Deshaun Watson while the two were in Houston — Fuller totaled 879 yards and eight touchdowns in their final year together in 2020. Julio Jones, Cole Beasley, T.Y. Hilton and Emmanuel Sanders are also available.

It wouldn't be surprising to see the Browns stay put and stick with who they have. But a few options are out there if they're looking to add another player or two who can step in and immediately contribute.

Check out photos of players and coaches during a visit to the Cleveland Cavaliers facility on June 9, 2022.

How is the special teams faring? - Fan from Boynton Beach, Florida

They're doing just fine, if you ask special teams coordinator Mike Priefer.

Priefer was overjoyed when he discussed the additions the Browns have made in returner Jakeem Grant, punters Corey Bojorquez, Joseph Charlton and kicker Cade York, and it's easy to see why.

Grant was a Pro Bowl returner last season with the Bears and has scored a punt return touchdown in three of the last four seasons. Bojorquez led the NFL in punting average (50.8) in 2020 and totaled 46.5 yards per punt last year, and Charlton should provide good competition at the position after he averaged 44.3 yards per punt the last two seasons. York, a fourth-round rookie, was the top-ranked kicker of the draft class — he kicked a 58-yard field goal that would've likely been good from 60 or more yards last week during organized team activities.

In Priefer's eyes, each player represents a significant upgrade. He's expecting the group to thrive in 2022.

On Grant: "We are playing in what in my opinion is the best division in football when it comes to special teams. Every team is really good. In order to keep up with those guys, we needed to sign a good returner, and I think we did that, so I'm excited about Jakeem."

On Bojorquez and Charlton: "Having these two young guys (Ps) Corey (Bojorquez) and Joe (Charlton) fight it out, it will be a great competition. They both had a really good day yesterday. Thursday, they both punted the ball extremely well. They bring a different element. They both are very, very strong. Very good directionally, which we need to do a better job with."

On York: "Everything leading up to the draft was very, very positive with Cade. To me, the sky's the limit. He can be really, really good. I'm excited about him. He's the right guy. He's the right guy for our stadium, for our city and for the division that we play in."

With the success of Nick Chubb, are the WRs like David Bell having a focus on working on how well they need to block this year? - Dante Sell, Middletown, Delaware

Definitely. That's always a big part of developing receivers, specifically when a team like the Browns have two top-tier running backs.

Bell is 6-foot-1 and 212 pounds, which makes him one of the biggest receivers on the roster. The Browns are interested in seeing how his frame and skills fare in the slot, where lots of blocking would be expected, but the plan is to give Bell reps at every receiver role in the offense and see where he fits best.

Regardless of where that is, he and the other receivers will be expected to block.

"We're not going to be, at this point, specific on putting him in one place," wide receivers coach/pass game coordinator Chad O'Shea said. "We're going to work him in several different places, whether it's at outside or inside receiver. That's part of his development. He's going to have to learn a lot of different spots."

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