This has been billed as one of the most intelligent rookie classes in Browns history.
But there are still some rough edges.
Browns head coach Eric Mangini admitted as much Saturday at his second -- and final -- press conference during the team’s three-day rookie minicamp.
“There are definitely times that you get frustrated in practice,” he said. “You want them to do things perfectly the first time, but then you have to step back and look at the volume of information they’ve been given. Plus there’s the fact -- and I told the players that this is one of the positive signs -- that they’ve been able to minimize the mistakes they’ve made the previous day.”
School will be out soon. There was a practice scheduled for Saturday afternoon, and the fifth -- and last -- session will be held Sunday. And there won’t be much true football going on in the second one.
“Sunday will be a strength and conditioning day,” Mangini said. “We’ll go over the strength and conditioning program.”
After that, the players will depart with what Mangini calls a syllabus.
“In that, we’ll tell them what we expect them to come back with,” he said in reference to the next minicamp, “a voluntary” full-squad session slated for May 19-21.
Another “voluntary” minicamp will be held May 26-28, and a mandatory camp is set for June 11-13 before the players break for about a month to get ready for the start of training camp.
“This is a starting point,” he said of the this weekend’s practices. “They’re learning how the program works and what their responsibilities will be from here on out.”
How many of these rookies are with the Browns “from here on out” remains to be seen. Of the 47 players in camp, 20 are in on a tryout basis. There are obviously no guarantees for those players, or even the 19 free-agent signees and young players already on the roster. The only ones who are safe are the eight draft picks.
As soon as camp ends, the Browns will begin discussing in detail which players -- tryout and otherwise -- to keep.
For now at least.
“Even if it (getting signed or retained) doesn’t happen now, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen in three weeks or two months or whatever,” Mangini said. “We’ll tell them that even though they might stay, we could ask them to come back at some point. So they have to stay ready, because if we ask them to come back in, we want them to be able to maximize the opportunity.”
One of the most intriguing players in camp -- in fact, one of the most intriguing players the Browns have had in a rookie minicamp in recent memory -- is quarterback Graham Harrell, who, despite his record-setting career in the pass-happy spread offense at Texas Tech, is here only as a tryout player. The media is allowed to watch the first 45 minutes of practice, and every pass he has thrown has been analyzed and re-analyzed to the nth degree.
With what will transpire later when veterans Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson start getting involved, the situation with Harrell will be just the first of what will be the daily, intense scrutiny of Browns quarterbacks this year.