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Cleveland Browns offensive line training camp position battles

Outside of the secondary, there isn't a position group that elicits as much optimism -- both inside and outside of the Browns facility -- than the one that's next on our rundown of what the team carries into training camp.

If this group stays healthy, there's no telling just how good it can be in 2015.


The cast

Karim Barton

Joel Bitonio

Michael Bowie

Cameron Erving

John Greco

Alex Mack

Andrew McDonald

Darrian Miller

Eric Olsen

Vinston Painter

Mitchell Schwartz

Ryan Seymour

Joe Thomas

What happened at OTAs: Though Mack appears to be fully recovered from the leg injury that short-circuited his 2014 season, the Browns exercised caution with him and did not have him on the field for most 11-on-11 work. That played a part in the constant shuffling of Erving, who played at all five spots at one point or another throughout the offseason workout program. When Erving wasn't playing center, that spot was typically manned by Greco, who is similarly versatile. Thomas and Bitonio were entrenched in their spots on the left side of the offensive line and Schwartz was the main man at right tackle, a spot where he hasn't missed a snap since he was drafted in 2012.

Under the radar: All eyes will be on Erving at training camp as he competes for a starting role at right guard or another position along the offensive line. But don't sleep on Bowie, who has his eyes on giving Schwartz a run at right tackle. Physicality is one of Bowie's biggest strengths, and he'll be able to display that more in a training camp setting. The former starter on Seattle's 2013 Super Bowl champion team worked almost exclusively with the second-team offense at OTAs. He came back to Berea a few weeks ago hoping to drop some weight and be in the best possible shape to provide even more competition on the offensive line.

Variables to consider: When it comes to filling the final couple spots, versatility is key. The Browns struggled to put their best five linemen on the field after Mack's injury and are focused on not having a repeat situation if one of the starters misses significant time this season … If Erving beats out Greco, the Browns are in position to have three reserves who have started at least three NFL games. The others would be Seymour and Bowie.

Quote to note: "We know on paper we're going to have one of the better offensive lines in the league. We know we're going to want to commit to running the football and be solid in play-action to open up some of the deeper throws down field." -- Browns coach Mike Pettine

How many were kept at the end of preseason last year?: Eight

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