Predicting 5 Surprise Starters for Cleveland Browns in 2014

By Dan Williams

Cleveland Browns: Predicting 5 Surprise Starters in 2014

Chris Ogbonnaya
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The 2014 Cleveland Browns have several questions to answer prior to the start of the season, including finding out who will be in the starting lineup in Week 1. The Browns are in transition mode and have several new faces along the roster, which means there are few players who are locks for a starting role. With so much competition, here's a look at five players who could surprisingly start Week 1 in 2014.

5. Chris Ogbonnaya, FB

Chris Ogbonnaya
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5. Chris Ogbonnaya, FB

Chris Ogbonnaya
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Although he started at fullback last season for the Browns, Chris Ogbonnaya is not a true FB. Originally signed by the Browns to play running back, Ogbonnaya was transitioned into the role in 2013 after Cleveland let go of its only FB. When Kyle Shanahan was brought in to control the offense it was thought that he would look to sign a true fullback to lead block, but heading into camp Ogbonnaya's only competitor is an undrafted rookie free agent.

4. Barkevious Mingo, OLB

Barkevious Mingo
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4. Barkevious Mingo, OLB

Barkevious Mingo
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Barkevious Mingo played in 15 games for the Browns during his rookie season of 2013, but he didn't put up significant numbers. Defensive-minded head coach Mike Pettine will call upon Mingo to play a huge role, much like Kiko Alonso, whom he coached last season in Buffalo. Mingo showed flashes of why he was drafted highly out of LSU, and he should step into the starting OLB opposite Paul Kruger, as Jabaal Sheard transitions to the defensive line.

3. Miles Austin, WR

Miles Austin
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3. Miles Austin, WR

Miles Austin
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When Miles Austin was signed by Cleveland, he was thought to be a sort of insurance policy in case star WR Josh Gordon ended up suspended. Hoping that Austin would only need to battle for the No. 2 receiver, Cleveland now finds itself relying on the former Cowboy to lead the group in the passing game.

2. Joel Bitonio, OL

Joel Bitonio
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2. Joel Bitonio, OL

Joel Bitonio
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The Browns had, and still have, plenty of questions along the offensive line. Rookie Joel Bitonio may be thrown into the starting lineup due to lack of resources. The center and left tackle positions are locked up, but Bitonio's versatility will allow him to play right tackle and either guard position. He could be called upon to fill the void in one of these roles.

1. Pierre Desir, CB

Pierre Desir
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1. Pierre Desir, CB

Pierre Desir
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Although Pierre Desir wasn't selected in the first round like now Cleveland teammate Justin Gilbert, Desir has shown the ability to transition to the NFL game. His combination of size and coverage skills may allow him to step into the starting role opposite Joe Haden. So while it was expected that a rookie would start at cornerback for the Browns, Desir — not Gilbert — could seize the second starting position.

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