5. Anthony Armstrong (WR)
Armstrong is currently on the outside looking in when it comes to a starting wide receiver spot, mainly because he’s a very unproven receiver. He had one breakout season (871 yards and 3 touchdowns), but hasn’t put up any sort of solid statistics after leaving Washington. When he had his break out season in Washington though, his offensive coordinator was current Browns’ OC Kyle Shanahan. Therefore, there’s a chance that being reunited with his most successful coordinator could cause rejuvenation in his career. An entire offseason with Shanahan could allow Armstrong to shine and move up the depth chart of a very weak wide out spot.
4. Christian Kirksey (ILB)
Despite Browns’ fans and casual NFL viewers criticizing the pick of Kirksey over a wide receiver, there is a solid chance that he could make a run at the starting LILB spot. Craig Robertson has been very underwhelming at the position, especially last season, so he in no way has it locked down. Like many rookies though, Kirskey hasn’t had a chance to prove himself with the team yet, so he could use the preseason to his advantage, as he finally gets a chance to prove himself in front of the coaches for the first time.
3. Johnny Manziel (QB)
Okay, I know you wanted him on the list, so here he is. Manziel is probably one of the most hyped players to enter any sport in the past decade, but he has yet to do anything on an NFL football field. So therefore, this preseason, much like Kirksey, is Manziel’s first chance to prove that he is more than just hype, and he should have a legitimate chance to challenge Brian Hoyer for the starting quarterback job. Plus the Browns’ coaching staff recently announced that they may give Manziel a chance to start a preseason game, which would only enhance his chances of moving up the depth chart even more.
2. Terrance West (RB)
Over the offseason, one of the quieter, but more influential moves made by the Browns’ was the signing of former Texans running back Ben Tate. It seemed that, since the team went out of its way to sign Tate, that he would be guaranteed the starting running back spot. But, to the surprise of some, the team pulled the trigger in the NFL Draft and took West in the third round. Recently, West has been gaining some momentum amongst those around the Browns, to point where he is making a run at the starting running back spot. Therefore, as time goes along, his stock should only continue to rise, IF he participates. I put the big if in there, because as of now, he’s on the non-football injury list, possibly because of a conditioning test. If he cant get out on the field, it will probably lock up the starting spot for Tate. If he can get off the non-football injury list though, he could make a serious run to start come Week 1.
1.Willie Snead (WR)
This is a guy that no one is currently talking about, but for some reason, I’m (maybe irrationally) high. The Browns picked him up as a undrafted free agent after one of the best seasons of any Ball State football player in the history of the school. He’s not exactly a great athlete, but he’s a great receiver. He’s very crafty and great in the slot, plus he’s got an extremely high football IQ and makes up for that lack of athleticism with his intelligence and experience. With the wide receiver position being so weak for the Browns and possibly getting weaker (especially with the league deciding Josh Gordon’s future in the coming days) expect one unexpected guy to make a run at not only starting, but having an almost immediate impact. For me, that’s Snead, and since he’s such a dark horse, that’s why he has the best chance of using the preseason to catapult himself out of nowhere to having an effect on next season’s roster.