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Browns Mailbag: Who can step up to fill the void left by Grant Delpit?

Monday is the start of the work week, but this particular one is a day off for the Browns after four consecutive days of good work through a variety of weather conditions.

It was all capped off Sunday with a beautiful, sun-soaked day by the lake as the team went through a practice at FirstEnergy Stadium.

We're tackling three of your questions while the Browns get ready for another pivotal, four-day stretch.

Now that the annual wave of injuries has gone through the Browns training camp, how aggressive do you think we will be in acquiring players from waivers or free agency? What positions will we target in these additions? — Brooks P., Cincinnati

This is a question that would be much easier to answer during a "normal" preseason. The biggest issue with predicting this kind of activity is twofold. For one, teams can't just bring players into their building on a moment's notice anymore. It takes multiple days to clear a player to enter a facility and get through the proper protocols. Secondly, NFL teams will be flying blind a bit when it comes to adding players via waivers following roster cutdown day. Typically, a team will have some good tape on prospective players after four preseason games. Now, those organizations will be relying on previous evaluations to determine whether or not a player is a good fit for their offensive or defensive system.

Does that mean players aren't going to be claimed? Absolutely not. The Browns and many other teams have already used the waiver wire to bolster their rosters. Much like everything else in the world, though, it's just going to be different this year.

As far as positions the Browns may or may not target, it will all depend on the evaluations of the players on the current roster and how they compare to those who become available. Injuries have hit the Browns particularly hard at defensive back, but that doesn't necessarily mean the team has to add players from outside the organization. The same goes for guard, where the Browns lost three players to opt-outs before training camp but have since worked a number of different players at the position through weeks of practice.

That's all a long way of saying we'll see what happens when it happens because the circumstances are unprecedented.

When is the last time every draft pick made the team? — Jay C., Columbus

The last time this happened was 2016, when all 14 of the draft picks made the 53-man roster. In the years since, the Browns have had at least one of their picks not make the initial 53-man roster, though it should be noted that all of the team's picks from 2019 are on the current roster. All seven of the Browns' picks from 2020 have made significant contributions throughout training camp, and we'll find out Saturday if they all will be a part of the initial 53-man roster.

It seems to be a consistent conversation every year regarding the Injuries in the secondary. Who is stepping up to fill the void that was left with Grant Delpit’s Achilles injury? — Brandon C., North Ridgeville

Losing Delpit was a tough blow to the Browns' secondary. There's no way around it. Defensive coordinator Joe Woods made that fairly clear in his meeting with reporters last week.

"Grant was ideal in terms of his versatility," Woods said. "He could play strong, free or he could play the dime. That is kind of what I ran when I was in Denver. We were based on a dime. I still want to be able to run that package, but we are really going have to evaluate where we are with our linebackers and with our secondary in terms of what we can do, but I believe I am going to try to do both."

The Browns have a handful of options to fill the void led by Sheldrick Redwine, who impressed during the second half of his rookie season when he was summoned to start following a slew of injuries. Redwine and Delpit are different players, but Redwine appears ready for the challenge if he's called upon.

"It is going to be up to the coaches," Redwine said. "Like I said, all I do is work. I like to stay in the present moment. I never thought too far ahead. Whatever it is going to be, it is going to be. I just put my head down and keep working. I always prided myself on whatever role the team needs me to do, that is what I am going to be able to do."

The other options include undrafted free agents Javonte Moffatt, who had an interception at Sunday's practice, and Elijah Benton. J.T. Hassell also gained some experience at the position last season.

"It's different," pass game coordinator/defensive backs coach Jeff Howard said. "It is kind of a position that is unique in that you can insert them in different spots. Just seeing what skillset he is best at, whether playing in the middle of the field, man to man or down on the second level, but it is a unique position, and it is one of the reasons why I love it so much. 

"It is kind of just evaluating it to see which Sheldrick can do and how he competes with the group. I feel like that position group has a bunch of guys that are really competing right now."

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