The Browns have a head start on most of the NFL since they started their preseason schedule early this year with the Hall of Fame Game. That means Cleveland already has data and film to work off of as the front office decides on who to keep or cut by the end of August.
A nice showing in the official Week 1 of the preseason could go a long way for a few members of the team. With that in mind, here are three Browns players who need to impress in the squad's second exhibition.
1. Kellen Mond
After Kellen Mond's performance against the Jets, especially in comparison to rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson, he may already be on the outside looking in at the Browns' 53-man roster. The former third-round pick was gift wrapped a golden opportunity as one of just two QBs active for the Hall of Fame Game.
Instead, he failed to impress. Mond's command of the offense resulted in just seven points in the entire first half and a disappointing 16-7 deficit at halftime. Mond and his unit nearly didn't get on the scoreboard at all until a last-second touchdown before the second quarter ended.
The 2021 draftee finished his night by completing just 13 of 19 passes for 92 yards. He posted an underwhelming 74.9 quarterback rating, and he was solely responsible for a terrible interception thrown right to a Jets defender.
Meanwhile, DTR came in and looked like the player with NFL experience. He led two touchdowns drives and earned the Browns a comeback victory, immediately stating his case as a threat to the former Viking on the depth chart.
Mond needs to prove he's worth keeping around. Cleveland has no incentive to retain a flier-type player if there's another young up-and-comer already showing he can do what's required of a backup.
The Commanders offer a nice test for Mond in his second preseason outing. This unit was one of the league's best in 2022, ranking No. 9 in Football Outsiders' defensive DVOA metric. Though their starters may not play a ton, they'll have strong depth to compete against. A great performance is all Mond needs to get back in the QB3 race.