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Demetric Felton eager to show Browns 'they got a steal' with his versatility

Demetric Felton doesn't have a preference for where he'll play when he takes his first rep as a Browns rookie.

Felton, a sixth-round draft pick from UCLA, is primarily a running back. He rushed for 1,101 yards, averaged 4.7 yards per carry and scored seven touchdowns in his four seasons with the Bruins.

But he can also play wide receiver — he made 99 receptions for 958 yards and eight touchdowns, too. As a kick returner, Felton recorded 26 returns for 611 yards (23.5 yards per return) and scored one touchdown.

Felton is 5-foot-9, 189 pounds and is used to playing a wide variety of roles in the offense and special teams. That's arguably the biggest reason why he was appealing for the Browns, who grabbed him with their final pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.

"I feel like I can go in there and play whatever position they want me to," Felton said in his introductory video call Saturday with local reporters. "I don't really have a preference. I feel like I can play both positions at a very high level."

Check out photos of Browns 2021 Day 3 picks

Felton was first asked about making a full-time switch to running back in 2019. The Bruins were searching for another elusive player in their running backs room after Joshua Kelly, their lead back from the previous season and now a running back for the Los Angeles Chargers, suffered an injury in fall camp.

Felton didn't have a reason to say "no." He had previously switched to the position for a handful of carries in his first two seasons and played well, registering 15 handoffs for 102 yards and a touchdown.

"I always knew it was in my background," Felton said. "I felt really comfortable with it. I said 'yeah,' and the next day, I was in the running back room."

Felton's role as a wide receiver didn't end, though. He still caught 55 passes for 594 yards and four touchdowns in 2019 and added 22 catches for 159 yards and three touchdowns in six games in 2020.

By the end of his college career, Felton had molded himself into a quality all-around player with 2,670 all-purpose yards and 16 touchdowns. He might not have been a lock to be drafted, but he faced excellent odds of having a shot to make an NFL roster in 2021.

"It (was) super nerve-racking," Felton said on waiting to hear if he'd be drafted. "There's nothing like it. At the end of the day, I'm really excited for the opportunity. I'm ready to go in there and show them they got a steal."

Felton has already been told by the Browns they want him to play running back, where he'll enter competition for depth roles behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. He likely will be given a chance to take an immediate role as a returner, too, where he'll compete with receivers JoJo Natson, Donovan Peoples-Jones and fellow running back D'Ernest Johnson for kick and punt returning duties.

Based on his pre-draft interviews with the Browns, Felton expects his biggest rookie-year roles to come on special teams — which might include blocking and tackling responsibilities, too. He said one of his first Browns interviews was with special teams coach Mike Priefer, who outlined a clear plan with Felton on how the Browns could use him if he landed in Cleveland.

"It made me really want to go there," Felton said. "Being able to talk to him and see how he wanted to use me, that just made me super excited."

Now, Felton is making plans for a future in Cleveland. The Browns have already schemed plans for how to use him, which is why they weren't going to wait until the final round or after the draft and potentially miss out on adding him to their roster.

Felton feels prepared for whatever those plans that might be.

"I want to get on anything that I'm able to do and show them that I belong there and that I'm a playmaker," he said. "That's what I do. I make plays, I score touchdowns."

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