Friday, the Cleveland Browns will hold a rookie minicamp featuring their 2021 draft class and undrafted free agents.
A year ago, head coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry in their first season in charge of the Browns met various prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine, but wouldn't see the ones the team would select in the NFL Draft or signed as a free agent in person for five months.
The team had a virtual offseason, so they stayed in contact and received videos of workouts, but they had to wait three months from the NFL Draft before they got to be hands on coaching them in person.
While the pandemic isn't over and the team still has to be cautious, they've already had every draft pick in the building. Now, they get to put them on the field. While often reserved and almost stoic, Stefanski and Berry have to be almost giddy to get to see these players on the field in person.
The Browns were able to navigate a tumultuous offseason last year, finding ways to get this team prepared, allowing them to achieve an 11-5 record. After that, getting access to events like minicamp has to feel luxurious by comparison.
First, these players are going to simply be subjected to the eye test. Do the players look like what they thought they were getting when they selected them in the NFL Draft or signed them after the fact?
No one's wearing pads, but that confirmation is still comforting.
Do they look the part? Big enough? Fast enough? Whatever it is the team saw in them, do they show it on the field?
In the case of a few of them like Richard LeCounte III, the safety from Georgia and undrafted free agent defensive tackle Marvin Wilson out of Florida State, do they look 100 percent healthy?
How coachable are they and how well do they absorb information?
It wouldn't be a surprise whatsoever if Mike Priefer, the special teams coach, gets plenty of time to work with these players. With players leaving this offseason including Tavierre Thomas and Tae Davis, those are roles and snaps that need to be replaced.
Second round pick Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah could be on plenty of coverage units this year. His body type and raw speed are perfect to cover punts and kicks, potentially blocking field goals.
Third round pick Anthony Schwartz could be a gunner on his team between his size and speed.
Tony Fields II, Richard LeCounte III and Demetric Felton, who all signed their rookie contracts on Thursday, will need to contribute on special teams. Felton was a kick returner in college. Can he be effective with punts as well?
For several of these players, the best case scenario for the Browns is they don't see the field outside of a special teams context this season.