Rookie Training Camp Predictions
Training Camp has officially opened for the rookies on the Cleveland Browns’ roster. With that, these athletes will finally begin their journey as professional athletes. Obviously of the many attendees, the performances of the players will vary significantly. Let’s surmise as to who will shine and who will take a step back in camp (which will surely be less than accurate). Fortunately, the struggling rookies will still have time (next week) with the veterans to prove themselves.
MVP: Nate Orchard (Outside Linebacker)
In a perceived easier position to pick up quickly, the linebacker should wow the crowd and coaches by making light work of the offensive line. The former University of Utah star has an ability to display pass rushing moves that will required for success in the NFL. Hopefully he has many of them and can avoid being “a one-trick pony” – I suspect that he will have a bag of tricks this fall.
Under the Radar: Vincent Mayle (Wide Receiver)
Many would not deem this position as under the radar, as several fans have been clamoring for a wide out to be taken by the Browns during the draft. Forgoing the spot in the early rounds, the Browns chose Mayle in the fourth round (in an area where some could forget about him). Include the fact that he had his right hand wrapped during OTAs, due to a broken thumb, and could not participate fully in catching drills. Will he have a 1,000-yard receiving season in 2015? Unlikely, but I believe he can be a main contributor this year and will improve over time.
Undrafted Rookie to Impress: E.J. Bibbs (Tight End)
He has been getting rave reviews already, and perhaps he’s at a position with no elite players – but Bibbs has a shot at not only standing out but making it with the active roster. The large athlete (six-foot, two inches and 258 pounds) still has miles to go to become an NFL regular, but he should be dominant in rookie drills. I respect Gary Barnidge, Jim Dray, and Rob Housler, but would be far from surprised if Bibbs can bump off one of these guys when final the roster is finalized for week one of the regular season.
Disappointing Performer: Xavier Cooper (Defensive End)
Well not everyone can play well during training camp. The third-round selection by the Browns ought to turn heads this year, and is know for an excellent “first step” once the ball is snapped. However, I think it’s going to take him some time before he adjusts to the speed of the NFL. I’m not saying he will have a poor career; I simply think he may have a difficult time in this year’s training camp.
Lunch Pail Award: Cameron Erving (Offensive Line)
Come to practice, put your head down, and work hard (on a daily basis). That is the routine of the Lunch Pail recipient – and that will epitomize the play of the nineteenth pick by the Browns during the summer. He will not be flashy (don’t expect any pancake blocks), but his consistency should be unmatched. Playing multiple spots across the offensive line will help make his case – his effort will be tremendous no matter whether he’s lined up at guard or tackle.