Across the NFL teams are using the preseason to get a look at their depth and assess end of the roster moves. Starters are playing sparingly and for good reason. There is simply no need for starters to risk injury in a game that means nothing and it’s always been the theme.
Now that the Cleveland Browns are a good team we are seeing the starters play even less than prior years. In the first preseason game nearly 30 players sat for the Browns. No reason to expect starters to play a whole lot the next two games either. Though, there is a few players that we just may want to see out there.
Cleveland’s rookie wide receiver has many excited due to his game breaking speed. That excitement should be tempered for the fact that the Browns’ wide receiver room is quite crowded. Schwartz brings speed that no one else on Cleveland’s roster can bring, so he will get some run for that reason alone.
Schwartz returned to practice on Tuesday in a limited role. Hamstring injuries are lingering around camp right now anywhere you look in the NFL. Schwartz is just another of of those players battling the soft tissue injury.
The neat thing here is Schwartz might be a player that can really excite some people in the preseason. When he gets his chance whether it is against the Giants or Falcons, he will play against plenty of backups. Such backups may not be well suited to slow down the speedster. Obviously Kevin Stefanski is not going to throw every wrinkle out there in terms of how Schwartz will be used, that would be silly. No reason to give teams tape on such plays.
Still, it will be interesting to get the rookie his first taste of NFL action and to see how the team decided to utilize him in the preseason. Special teams work will surely be a part of that. It could be fair to see Schwartz stretch the field a bit, maybe a screen or two.
This is the interesting one and the player that many are most excited to see get out there on the field. Delpit suffered an achilles injury before the season last year and missed the entirety of the 2020 season. The Browns safety play was not good and it hurt even worse with their highly touted rookie out.
Cleveland obviously opted to upgrade the safety position in a big way with John Johnson III and even Ronnie Harrison last season. Depending on Delpit to come back and reach the high ceiling he once had is not a sure lock. The capability of being a very good player is possible, even a star safety. Returning from that harsh of an injury is just tough and often does not allow those things to happen.
Delpit returned to training camp, then came up with a hamstring issue. Much like Schwartz, these issues can linger a bit. Thankfully it is only the training camp and there is no need to rush these players at the moment. Delpit returned to some limited practice on Tuesday, before exiting Wednesday with trainers. This reason is unknown.
Easing the LSU product into his role will be the goal. With a pair of good safeties on the roster already there is no rush with him. The team can slowly increase his role perhaps and that starts with some preseason snaps.
The interesting one and one that is unlikely to make the roster unless he impresses a ton, very quickly. McDowell missed the first preseason game with an oblique injury and turned to practice on a limited bases Tuesday.
McDowell has a troubled past that has stopped him from seeing NFL action yet, even as a second round pick in 2017. Injuries haven’t been in his favor either and he there is a good chance he is looking at his last NFL shot.
McDowell was very good at Michigan State and brings a large frame to the defensive line at 6-foot-6 and 295 pounds. This could be a good turnaround story for McDowell if he can impress coaches and make the team. Time isn’t working in his favor, however.
Preseason games aren’t the best to grade out defensive tackles and McDowell is only going to get two chances out there, one if he is not ready to go Sunday against the Giants. In college McDowell was really good at getting a push and getting running backs in the backfield. It has been a long time since he has played in game environment and there is no say just how good he is now. A low-risk, high-reward kind of move for the Browns. McDowell is must watch this preseason once he is out there.