3 Cleveland Browns Players With The Most To Gain In Training Camp

These three Browns players have a golden opportunity in front of them this summer.
Oct 15, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Alex Wright (91) celebrates after a play during the second half against the San Francisco 49ers at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Alex Wright (91) celebrates after a play during the second half against the San Francisco 49ers at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
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Training camp is about a month away for the Cleveland Browns, and some of their stars are currently enjoying their time off by engaging in some fun extracurricular activities.

But in a few weeks, things get serious.

If you can believe it, the 2024 NFL regular season is about two-and-a-half months away, and pretty soon, the Browns will have to start getting their depth chart in order.

That's what training camp is largely for: constructing a 53-man roster and then establishing who your starters will be.

Obviously, a lot of Cleveland's players are already in place for the year. We know Deshaun Watson will be under center. Myles Garrett will be starting along the defensive front. Amari Cooper will be the No. 1 receiver (so long as the Browns can get a new deal done with him).

But some spots are up for grabs, meaning certain players will have to work extra hard in the coming weeks and months.

Here are the three Browns players with the most to gain in camp.

Cedric Tillman, WR

The Browns acquired Jerry Jeudy at the start of the offseason, adding him to a receiving trio that also includes Cooper and Elijah Moore.

But could Cedric Tillman bump Moore from that list?

That's what it's beginning to look like.

Word out of Browns camp is that Tillman has been looking great, which could mean that Moore will fall down to fourth on the depth chart after serving as the team's No. 2 receiver last season.

Cleveland took Tillman in the third round of the NFL Draft last spring, but he ended up logging just 21 catches for 224 yards during his rookie campaign.

In Tillman's defense, the Browns shuffled through five different starting quarterbacks in 2023, so it may have been difficult for him to find his footing. But now, Watson seems ready to go after undergoing shoulder surgery last fall, so Tillman may have a full 17-game campaign with the three-time Pro Bowler.

Tillman has outstanding size at 6-foot-3 and had a terrific season at Tennessee in 2021 when he hauled in 64 receptions for 1,081 yards and 12 touchdowns. An ankle injury limited him to just six games during his final year with the Volunteers, but he had already established himself as an impressive talent.

The 24-year-old has already made a great impression on the Browns in organized team activities and minicamp. We'll see if that continues into training camp.

Dawand Jones, OT

The Browns' tackle positions are in somewhat of a state of flux heading into 2024.

Jack Conklin is making his way back from a devastating knee injury that ended his 2023 campaign after just one game, and Jedrick Wills was limited to just eight contests due to his own injury issues.

Conklin is a stud when healthy, but the 29-year-old has played in a grand total of 22 games the last three seasons. Meanwhile, Wills has been a considerable disappointment and is entering the final year of his deal.

That sets Jones up for a big opportunity this summer.

The 6-foot-8, 374-pound behemoth was selected by the Browns in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Due to the injuries along Cleveland's offensive line, he actually made 11 appearances and nine starts during his rookie campaign.

With both Conklin and Willis on the mend, Jones could very well be returning to the bench for 2024, but an eye-opening showing in training camp could make that decision difficult for head coach Kevin Stefanski. Or, at the very least, it could establish Jones as a key piece to the Browns' future with free agency on the horizon for Wills.

Alex Wright, DE

The Browns boasted one of the league's best pass rushers in 2023, accumulating 51 sacks as a team. Of course, much of that was thanks to Defensive Player of the Year Myles Garrett, who racked up 14 sacks himself. The next-highest total belonged to Za'Darius Smitih, who logged 5.5.

Then there was second-year defensive end Alex Wright, who finished with five sacks after not registering a single sack during his rookie season in 2022.

The funny thing with Wright is that he actually played in more defensive snaps in his debut campaign (50 percent) than he did last year (38 percent). That had a lot to do with the addition of Smith, who was playing for the Minnesota Vikings in 2022.

But Wright still managed to be a heck of a lot more productive last season, and it creates a rather cushy problem to have if you're Stefanski and Cleveland's coaching staff.

With Garrett, Smith, Wright and Ogbo Okoronkwo, the Browns have a quartet of incredibly talented pass rushers on the edge. But can Wright separate himself from Okoronkwo, who played in 53 percent of Cleveland's defensive snaps in 2023?

The Browns could absolutely use a pass-rushing specialist alongside of Garrett, who was bombarded with double teams throughout the second half last year. Wright could be that guy, and he is training with Garrett this summer to improve his standing.

If Wright has an especially strong training camp, he may very well establish himself as one of Cleveland's vital contributors along the front seven and see a whole lot more than 38 percent of te snaps this fall.

Matthew Schmidt