Cleveland hosted one of the larger groups we’ve seen this season for tryouts today, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. The group consisted of ten players: six skill position players, one offensive lineman, and three defensive tackles.
The Browns’ quarterback position was one of the most talked about stories of the offseason. As it currently stands, presumed starter Deshaun Watson still has seven games remaining on his suspension, interim starter Jacoby Brissett has led the team to a 2-2 start (good for first place in the AFC North), and backups Joshua Dobbs and Kellen Mond have yet to be seen. Still, the team felt the need to offer an audition to former Cowboys quarterback Ben DiNucci. DiNucci has some experience helping out in a tough spot from his time in Dallas two years ago when both starting quarterback Dak Prescott and backup Andy Dalton were injured. He got one opportunity to start against the Eagles before being benched for the winner of a Cooper Rush–Garrett Gilbert battle. DiNucci recently tried out for a quarterback practice squad spot in Miami that was awarded to Reid Sinnett.
Similarly, the Browns seem set at running back, utilizing a three-man backfield of Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and D’Ernest Johnson. Yet the team auditioned, two running backs today in undrafted rookie Abram Smith and former Ravens practice squad back Nate McCrary. Smith had signed with the Saints out of college but was waived days before the roster cut deadline. During his lone productive season at Baylor, Smith broke the school’s single-season rushing record with 1,601 yards, adding 12 touchdowns to his resume. McCrary came out of Saginaw Valley State last year, signing in Baltimore as an undrafted free agent. He was the Ravens’ leading rusher in the preseason that year, likely due to the litany of injuries at the position that removed carries from J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill.
Cleveland brought in three wide receivers today including the biggest name of the day, Kenny Stills. The veteran Stills has long seen his most productive years pass by but could still remain an effective deep-threat if needed. Through his first seven years in the league, Stills never averaged less than 14.0 yards per reception and was always good for a few touchdowns. His stats and usage have plummeted in the past two years but, in the right system, Stills could still have some use left in the tank. The team also brought in Jequez Ezzard and Brandon Lewis to audition. Ezzard is a smaller return-specialist who signed with the Commanders after going undrafted out of Sam Houston State this year. Lewis is another smaller receiver who initially signed with Tennessee out of college after going undrafted. Being from the Air Force offense, Lewis never blew up the stat sheet with receiving yards but has a unique skillset to add to an offense as a gadget player who has lots of rushing experience in the Falcons offense.
Another position the Browns brought three players in to audition at was defensive tackle. Cleveland invited Tyler Clark, Prince Emili, and Jordan Williams to work out today. Clark came out of Georgia undrafted two years ago spending time with the Bengals, Chiefs, and Commanders since then but never making an active roster. Emili joined the Bills as an undrafted free agent this year and was even called up to appear in two games on Buffalo’s defense, appearing most recently in the Bills’ win over the Ravens, in which he racked up three tackles and a pass deflection. Williams originally signed with the Dolphins after going undrafted out of Virginia Tech but was waived in mid-August.
Lastly, the Browns worked out undrafted Arkansas offensive tackle Myron Cunningham who initially signed with the Texans but was also waived in mid-August. None of the auditions have resulted in a roster spot yet, practice squad or otherwise, but seeing a group of this size come in for a workout is something to keep an eye on moving forward.