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Around the corner
July 15, 2010 - Mike McLain
The Browns will open training camp in a little more than two weeks, which has to please fans that are tired of the last-place Indians and worn out by the LeBron James' free-agent frenzy.
There are several young players that will be worth watching, not to mention free-agent arrivals in quarterback Jake Delhomme, linebacker Scott Fujita and offensive lineman Tony Pashos, among others.
Here are players that will catch my attention under the hot sun:
Running back Montario Hardesty, a second-round draft pick. Hardesty has everything needed to be an instant starter -- size, speed and instincts -- but he was injury-prone at Tennessee. He's probably the best back on the roster.
First-round pick Joe Haden. Haden will eventually be a starter at cornerback, but he might begin the season as a nickel back behind Eric Wright and veteran arrival Sheldon Brown. Then again, if Haden is all that's he advertised to be, he could move in as a starter from day one.
Guard Shaun Lavauo, a fourth-round pick, seems to have made a favorable impression in a short time. It might be a reach to think he'll earn a starting job, but the right side of the line isn't set in stone. Pashos will probably start at tackle, but there's no assurance that Floyd Womack will get the call at guard.
The secondary needs an infusion of aggressiveness, and second-round pick T. J., Ward could be that guy at safety. Like Hardesty, Ward dealt with multiple injuries in college at Oregon. If he stays healthy, he should contribute immediately.
More than anyone, I'm anxious to see the supposedly new and improved Brian Robiskie, who had a terrible rookie season at receiver. Robiskie is said to have had an excellent offseason, but let's see what happens when it gets serious.
Fujita will start somewhere in Mangini's 3-4 defense, but where? He can play inside and outside, but seems best suited for inside. D'Qwell Jackson should start at one inside spot, but Eric Barton, who disappointed before suffering a neck injury last season, is vulnerable.
There's an outside opening because of the trade that sent Kamerion Wimbley to Oakland. Matt Roth is expected to man that spot, but Fujita could start ahead of David Bowens on the other side.
Coming off a 5-11 season, the Browns have plenty of holes to fill. Expect many new faces in starting roles next season.
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