3 Cleveland Browns tumbling down depth chart during the preseason


3 Cleveland Browns tumbling down depth chart during the preseason

Browns center Nick Harris, right, fends off defensive tackle Andrew Billings on Monday, August 2, 2021 in Berea, Ohio, at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. [Phil Masturzo/ Beacon Journal]

Through the first two preseason games, these are the Cleveland Browns players that are tumbling down the depth chart

The Cleveland Browns have completed two preseason games, in addition to several weeks of training camp. Like every other team, there are going to be tough decisions to make regarding players to cut, as well as the order of some positions on the depth chart.

Some decisions, however, are easier to see and rationalize, as players struggle during camp and preseason games. This is especially harmful for players on the fringe of making the roster, or in the midst of a position battle to see playing time.

Here are the three Cleveland Browns players tumbling down the depth chart this preseason, who are also at risk of not making the final roster.

Cleveland Browns: Andrew Billings, DT

Andrew Billings joined the Browns in 2020 and opted out of the season. He was seen as an upgrade to the middle of the Browns defensive line unit, adding a big body that would help defensive ends Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney on the defensive front. However, as training camp has gone on, and he has seen reps in the first two preseason games, he has been anything but an upgrade.

Billings was practically manhandled in the Browns’ first preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, being pushed several yards back by an individual offensive lineman on several occasions. He was a non-factor against the pass, but more worrying is how ineffective he was against the run, which is supposed to be his strength.

For a player that was deemed a “lock” to make the roster just a few short weeks ago, things aren’t so certain for the interior defensive lineman.

Next: Rashard Higgins, WR

3 Cleveland Browns tumbling down depth chart during the preseason

Browns center Nick Harris, right, fends off defensive tackle Andrew Billings on Monday, August 2, 2021 in Berea, Ohio, at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. [Phil Masturzo/ Beacon Journal]

Through the first two preseason games, these are the Cleveland Browns players that are tumbling down the depth chart

The Cleveland Browns have completed two preseason games, in addition to several weeks of training camp. Like every other team, there are going to be tough decisions to make regarding players to cut, as well as the order of some positions on the depth chart.

Some decisions, however, are easier to see and rationalize, as players struggle during camp and preseason games. This is especially harmful for players on the fringe of making the roster, or in the midst of a position battle to see playing time.

Here are the three Cleveland Browns players tumbling down the depth chart this preseason, who are also at risk of not making the final roster.

Cleveland Browns: Andrew Billings, DT

Andrew Billings joined the Browns in 2020 and opted out of the season. He was seen as an upgrade to the middle of the Browns defensive line unit, adding a big body that would help defensive ends Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney on the defensive front. However, as training camp has gone on, and he has seen reps in the first two preseason games, he has been anything but an upgrade.

Billings was practically manhandled in the Browns’ first preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, being pushed several yards back by an individual offensive lineman on several occasions. He was a non-factor against the pass, but more worrying is how ineffective he was against the run, which is supposed to be his strength.

For a player that was deemed a “lock” to make the roster just a few short weeks ago, things aren’t so certain for the interior defensive lineman.

Next: Rashard Higgins, WR
3 Cleveland Browns tumbling down depth chart during the preseason

Aug 22, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins (82) catches a pass before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns: Rashard Higgins, WR

Wide receiver Rashard Higgins is a favorite of many Browns fans and one of Baker Mayfield‘s favorite targets. However, he’s always seemed to be in the coaching staff’s doghouse, having issues with the previous coaching staff and seemingly the current staff as well (he hardly saw the field at all before the OBJ injury in Week 7 last year).

This, paired with his roller-coaster play on the field at times, is a reason that Higgins is at risk for a significant role on the depth chart, and at risk of even making the team as well.

Many will argue with Higgins’ appearing on this list, and those people do have a case. Higgins is typically a good receiver that makes a positive impact when he’s on the field with the starting unit. Mayfield has faith that Higgins will catch just about anything thrown his way, and many numbers from past seasons show that he can be very effective, including his yards per target among receivers that qualified.

However, Higgins is still very inconsistent and seems to alienate himself from his teammates and coaching staff. He has continued to show that inconsistency this preseason, making a great catch in practice over several defenders in a joint practice during the week with the New York Giants, while then dropping a pass in the end-zone just a few days later.

With the Browns anticipating a return of Odell Beckham Jr this season, as well as the emergence of young receivers the last few years like Donovan People-Jones and Khadarel Hodge, Higgins may very well see himself once again on the outside looking in on the depth chart. And if he refuses to go into a game under this staff, something he did under the previous staff just a few years ago, Higgins might be looking for a new helmet logo to wear on Sundays.

Next: Greedy Williams, CB
3 Cleveland Browns tumbling down depth chart during the preseason

BEREA, OHIO – AUGUST 16: Greedy Williams #26 of the Cleveland Browns works out during training camp on August 16, 2020 at the Cleveland Browns training facility in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Cleveland Browns: Greedy Williams, CB

It’s one of the most overquoted statements you hear in sports, but it’s said so much because it’s true: the best ability is availability. Unfortunately, so far in the career of cornerback Greedy Williams, availability has been his worst ability, as he has missed 20 games in his first two seasons in the NFL.

Because of his inability to stay healthy and be on the field, the Browns have attacked the defensive backfield in the draft and free agency, making it a priority to improve the depth and find guys that can play. After signing free-agent defender Troy Hill, the Browns drafted cornerback Greg Newsome in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. All of these new additions are expected to be significant players for the Browns this season.

After starting the first two preseason games this season for the Browns, many were hoping this would be the time that Greedy would finally stay healthy and make an impact in the Browns defensive back rotation. However, early in the first quarter of the Browns game against the New York Giants on Sunday, he was forced to leave the game with a groin injury.

Greedy Williams questionable to return after leaving with a groin injury. #Browns

— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) August 22, 2021

Given the number of quality players at defensive back on the roster, another injury for Greedy Williams is not something that bodes well for the former second-round pick out of LSU.

Pair the injury with the quality showings from other cornerbacks on the roster, and Greedy Williams could once again find himself on the outside looking in on the Browns depth chart this season.

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