Five Browns Storylines To Follow During Mandatory Minicamp

The Browns conclude their offseason program this week before breaking for summer
Deshaun Watson takes a knee during Day 6 of OTAs at the Browns facility in Berea, OH
Deshaun Watson takes a knee during Day 6 of OTAs at the Browns facility in Berea, OH / Spencer German
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The Browns will wrap up their offseason program at mandatory minicamp this week before breaking for summer. It'll serve as both the first and last opportunity for Cleveland to have the entire team together in one place prior to training camp.

With everyone finally in Berea, there will be plenty to observe over the course of three days of practices. Here are five storylines to follow going into the Browns mandatory minicamp.

1) More Work For Deshaun Watson?

Of course, star QB Deshaun Watson will dominate the news cycle yet again as he takes the field continuing to rehab from shoulder surgery. During OTAs the plan was for Watson to throw every other day of practice and was restricted to throwing only during individual work and offense vs. air drills. Don't expect Watson to be really uncorking it or anything.

Back in April when he arrived in Berea, the 28-year-old said that the spring was about being more conservative in his rehab so that he could really start ramping things up come training camp. That said, he may be able to do a little bit more in regards to actually throwing against some semblance of a defense. We'll see, but whatever type of work load is on his plate it's guaranteed to draw attention, as it will be the last chance to see Watson throwing in person for about six weeks.

2) A Full Arsenal Of Weapons

Save for any unanticipated holdouts, minicamp will be the first time the entire offense is together on the field. Even if Watson isn't throwing to them it will be the first chance to see how the trio of: Amari Cooper, Jerry Jeudy and Elijah Moore fit into Ken Dorsey's plans. Last year, the Browns tried to utilize Moore as a gadget player and it didn't go too well, but there are some early signs of Dorsey trying some similarly unique things with Jeudy.

We'll find out if that continues, while also starting to see where some of these guys will likely be lining up most often. Tight end David Njoku is also expected to be available. Don't expect Dorsey to give too much away just yet but having his top receiving threats out there together will allow him to at least test out a few things before the longer layoff.

3) Getting The Band Back Together

Myles Garrett was in attendance at Njoku's charity softball game over the weekend so he too is expected in town for mincamp this week. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year has been training on his own throughout the spring but returns to anchor a largely intact defensive line from 2023, with a few new faces sprinkled in.

Last week new defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire expressed that he expects even more from Garrett this season, along with his defensive line-mates. It will be interesting to hear what Garrett has to say about year two of Jim Schwartz system and what new wrinkles could be in store.

4) Dawand Jones and Co

Dawand Jones was first of the team's top three tackles – each of whom suffered season-ending knee injuries in 2023 – to return to the field during OTAs He was actively involved in offensive line drills last week. Jedrick Wills, who got injured the latest into last season, has been spotted out on the field largely doing work off on the side, but has yet to put his helmet on and join his teammates in any on field work. Meanwhile, Jack Conklin is still rehabbing from a torn ACL and MCL and has been doing work inside the team facility.

Whether or not Jones is able to do even a little bit more will be worth noting. As for Wills and Conklin, I wouldn't expect either to be actively involved in on-field drills until training camp.

Sep 10, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Jack Conklin (78) rides the medical cart back to the locker room following an injury during the first half at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 10, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Jack Conklin (78) rides the medical cart back to the locker room following an injury during the first half at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports / Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

5) The New Kickoff

Of course, one of the biggest changes league wide will continue to be a major discussion point. Last week was the first opportunity we really had to observe what the play will look like in person. There are still plenty of kinks to work out, including what players may actually have opportunities to return kicks.

During the last week of OTAs the primary returners were RB Jerome Ford, WR Cedric Tillman, WR Jamari Thrash and WR Ahmarean Brown. With everybody now in the building and Nyheim Hines still rehabbing, perhaps we'll see some notable names fielding kicks this week.


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Spencer German

SPENCER GERMAN

Spencer German is a contributor to the Northeast Ohio cluster of sites, including Cavs Insider, Cleveland Baseball Insider and most notably Browns Digest. He also works as a fill-in host on Cleveland Sports Radio, 92.3 The Fan, one of the Browns radio affiliate stations in Cleveland. Despite being a Cleveland transplant, Spencer has enjoyed making Northeast Ohio home ever since he attended college locally at John Carroll University, where he graduated in 2013.