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Training Camp Story of the Day

Demetric Felton eager to 'make things happen' with versatility

Demetric Felton has gotten used to having his position change every day in his first NFL training camp.

One day, he's taking reps at running back, where he spent most of his college career and became a trusted player in UCLA's backfield. The next day, he's taking reps at receiver, where he also split time in college and where the Browns believe he can develop into a speedy, reliable target capable of fooling defenses each week. Oh, and don't forget about special teams —  Felton has received reps as a returner, too.

No matter what the Browns have asked of Felton, a sixth-round pick in the 2021 draft, he's managed to handle it. His schedule has changed every day, and he's needed to learn extra routes, assignments and audibles as a result of his versatility.

But through the first 12 practices of training camp, Felton has taken it all in stride.

"Anything can switch at any given time, so you've got to stay ready," he said Thursday before the Browns' 13th practice of training camp. "It can be a lot, but that's what they expect out of me, so I've just got to be ready."

Check out photos from the thirteenth day of Browns Camp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus

When Felton was drafted, the Browns immediately discussed using his versatility to expand their offense. They didn't want to place any limits on where Felton may line up until they could see how he fared at the NFL level.

So far through training camp, Felton has looked strong. His route running is smooth, and his hands have been soft. His progress as a running back, meanwhile, won't be nearly as clear until he's given hand-offs in preseason games and players are allowed to make full tackles, although the Browns believe he's developed well in that area, too.

"He's done a really nice job," head coach Kevin Stefanski said Thursday. "He's as advertised as a person. His coaches out there at UCLA loved him. He loves ball. He loves to compete whether it's at wide receiver, running back or special teams. You get the sense that this kid loves to play football and loves to get the ball in his hands, which is no shock."

So how does Felton manage it all?

It starts at the end of each day when he receives a text or a call from the coaching staff informing him of where he'll play the next day. From there, Felton dives into the playbook and studies anything else he'll need to know for the next day, from meeting assignments to the work the position group will focus on during the next day of practice.

"It can get confusing," he said. "If I'm at receiver, my mind is there. I'm thinking about what rules or things I have to think about when I'm there, and vice versa. You have to learn a lot more about one play then another player who just plays one position.

"But it's just how it is with anything — if you just work hard at it, study hard, you'll be able to figure it out."

Stefanski announced Thursday that all healthy rookies will play in the Browns' preseason opener Saturday evening in Jacksonville. Felton, of course, will be one of them.

That game will be the first time the Browns partially reveal how they want to use Felton in his rookie season. Will he primarily play at running back or receiver? Could the snaps be split evenly? Will he receive any reps as a returner?

Felton doesn't have an idea yet, but no matter what his agenda is, it's a safe bet he'll be prepared.

"I just want the ball in my hands," he said. "I feel like I'm a playmaker and I can make things happen."

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