BEREA, Ohio — During the second week of Browns OTAs, more numbers were seen on the field as defensive end Myles Garrett and tight end David Njoku both made their first appearances for the voluntary practice sessions.
Players routinely pop in and out of the activities early in the spring and summer, like defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who was in attendance last week after re-signing with the team but was absent this week. Still, getting the first glimpse of a player at the facilities is always something that draws eyes.
Of course, all eyes were on Garrett and Njoku during Wednesday's practice session. Garrett ran through drills with his teammates, chatting it up with rookies like Alex Wright, while also getting together with the vets including Anthony Walker Jr. and John Johnson III.
While it's early in practice sessions, it's not too soon for players and coaches to start setting developmental goals—which for Garrett is a challenge but something defensive coordinator Joe Woods said he has plans in order.
"Myles is very talented," Woods said, racking his brain when asked how Garrett could improve this season. "For him, I think it's more about consistency. Looking back at some of the plays last year that he left out there, so for me, that's what I talk to Myles about. Just really perfecting the defense, not missing any opportunities, playing as hard as you can possibly play on every snap because when Myles does that—he's unblockable in my opinion."
#Browns Myles Garrett and the defense working today at practice. pic.twitter.com/CCTF3wZoFl— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) June 1, 2022
Meanwhile, Njoku was all smiles after practice, talking about his contract extension that was officially inked on Wednesday before practice
"It means the world," Njoku said. "I guess everything comes full circle. Obviously, in the past, we've had our differences. To be able to sign a four-year deal here where it all started means everything to me. I'm very blessed to be here."
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Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt praised Njoku's development in his time with the Browns and detailed ways they see him growing even more this season.
"To see a guy who would not label himself as a run blocker become one of the best run-blocking tight ends in the league has been impressive. His toughness, his strength, his ability to understand our scheme and what we're asking him to do, he has grown tremendously. It's been fun,” Van Pelt said. “Just the details of catching the ball. He has really good hands at times, but just finishing the plays. The route development, especially on plays where he has to break down and make cuts. David is really fast and a really good straight-line runner so improvement in his route-running ability when he is not doing those things."
Elsewhere on the roster, the Browns offense was working on gelling, with quarterback Deshaun Watson having a rocky start to the session but eventually tightening things up by the end of the day. Even so, rookie wide receiver David Bell caught nearly every pass throughout the day, showing off his talent at pass-catching.
#Browns WRs at work. pic.twitter.com/OoecxUlaQl— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) June 1, 2022
And what would a day at OTAs be without a play of the day? Those honors go to safety John Johnson III, who intercepted Watson on a great read of the quarterback as he targeted Njoku. The reaction? The defense, who is busy packing for a trip to Miami, courtesy of Garrett, lost their minds.
John Johnson III picks Deshaun Watson at #Browns practice today. Defense goes wild. pic.twitter.com/432D0IMdXz— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) June 1, 2022
The Browns will host another open practice session next Wednesday as well, with the work to build chemistry continuing through the week.
Camryn Justice is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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