BEREA, Ohio — When Ray Farmer addressed the media after the 2014 NFL Draft, he was asked numerous questions about not addressing the wide receiver position in the draft.
At the time, news had just leaked from ESPN that Josh Gordon could be facing an indefinite suspension and the other starting receivers from the 2013 Davone Bess and Greg Little were not in the team’s plans.
"I am not concerned with my depth at wide receiver," Farmer said after the draft. "Why have I not addressed the position in the draft. At the time we made our selections, we took the players that were available for what we wanted to do. We stuck with our board and when it came to our turn, we took the name that was the best for us at that time."
Farmer alluded to Giants’ Pro Bowl receiver Victor Cruz by saying that "nobody knew who Victor Cruz was before he became Victor Cruz."
After the draft, Farmer signed veteran receivers Miles Austin and Anthony Armstrong to go with the previously signed Nate Burleson and Andrew Hawkins.
Immediately after the draft, Farmer signed several undrafted rookie free agents, one of them being Willie Snead from Ball State.
Snead (5-11, 195) has caught the coaching staffs eyes by making plays in training camp thus far.
"He has. He has," Mike Pettine said. "He stepped in the scrimmage and made a big catch on fourth down to keep a drive going. He made a big play here today."
Snead’s catch on fourth down came from Johnny Manziel in the scrimmage on Saturday at Akron. On Monday at training camp, Brian Hoyer hit Snead on a quick slant and Snead broke to the end zone for a touchdown near the end of practice.
After the score, Snead gave a fist pump and reacted with the fans on his way back to the huddle.
"When we talk about the ‘play like a Brown’ attributes, he hits a lot of those spots," Pettine said. "Guys on defense don’t like him very much, which is usually a complement because he mixes it up with them. He’s not afraid to get a little dirty blocking and he runs good routes and has good ball skills."
Snead was told of Pettine’s remarks about defensive backs not liking him.
"My nature is to be aggressive," Snead said. "Most DB’s don’t like me (because of that.)."
Snead came out of Ball State ranked second all-time in receptions with 223 and 2,991 receiving yards. He holds the record with 13, 100-yard receiving games, as well.
Snead knows he has an uphill battle ahead of him, but if he keeps making plays it will be tough to keep him off the roster.
"I just want to fit in where I can," he said. "I’m trying to make plays whenever I can. I’m trying to get better and work my way up the depth chart."
Snead was asked if he felt there was a great opportunity for him with the Browns receiving corps.
"Absolutely," he said. "I am going to keep working hard and try to make plays and be consistent."
Gordon Appearance: WR Josh Gordon was on the field practicing while his appeal hearing is scheduled to continue in New York this afternoon.
"It’s still part of the process," Pettine said. "He’s involved with something with the league today we’ve been patient so far we’ve waited this long and hopefully, a resolution is coming soon."
Desir Flashes: Rookie CB Pierre Desir was all over the field during Monday’s practice. Desir broke up a pass the 11-on-11 scrimmage and chased down WR Miles Austin on a long run and stripped the ball from Austin.
"He had a rough veteran camp," Pettine said. "The coaches challenged him and he went away and responded. He has really made some strides. We are very pleased with Pierre. I think he is one of the more difficult corners (for receivers) when he presses because with his length he’s more difficult off the corners."
Taylor Back: DL Phil Taylor (hamstring) was back at practice after being on the Active/non-football injury list. Taylor had missed the first full week of training camp and the scrimmage on Saturday.
Cameron, Gipson Out: TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder) and DB Tashaun Gipson (knee) were on the side during practice along with DB Isaiah Trufant, WR Chandler Jones and TE James Oboh. LB Tank Carder was suited up but didn’t participate in team drills.
Pettine said Cameron could likely practice if it were the regular season, but might be held out of the Lions preseason game Saturday. He said the injury is to Cameron’s AC joint.
"More than likely we’ll err on the side of caution."
OL Nick McDonald is the only player still on the active/non-football injury list.
Fragel Hurt: OL Reid Fragel was injured in the scrimmage and ended up being taken back to the locker room on a cart.
Pinkston Waived: The Browns waived OL Jason Pinkston on Monday afternoon. Pinkston told Adam Schefter of ESPN that he won’t play in 2014 and is unlikely to play in the NFL again.
"More than likely I’ll have to retire," Pinkston wrote in a text message. "The Browns were great working with me and I would love to thank G.M. Ray Farmer and Owner Jimmy Haslam for my opportunity here in Cleveland. It’s been an honor to be apart of the organization and city."
Quick Hits: QB Johnny Manziel’s first throw in team scrimmage with the first team was a 40-yard completion to WR Travis Benjamin with CB Joe Haden covering. His second pass was to WR Josh Gordon but DB Jim Leonhard tipped it and DB Donte Whitner intercepted it…QB Brian Hoyer threw a 40-yard completion to WR Miles Austin in 7-on-7…Manziel hit WR Taylor Gabriel after rolling out of the pocket for a 25-yard gain…QB Tyler Thigpen had two interceptions in his time at quarterback at the end of practice. DB T.J. Heath got the first one and DB Robert Nelson the second…K Billy Cundiff kicked a field goal to end Hoyer’s drive in the team offense.
Next Up: The Browns return to practice Tuesday at 9:30am-12:10 pm. They practice Wednesday and Thursday before heading to Detroit to open the preseason with the Lions on Saturday.