BEREA, Ohio – Browns running back Dontrell Hilliard has had a solid training camp, showing his ability to be a passing option out of the backfield as well as return kicks.
Hilliard had a quality practice Saturday during Day 13 of camp, continuing to work as the No. 2 back behind Nick Chubb. A second-year player out of Tulane, Hilliard, with his agility and quickness, has a shot to be a key facet of a Browns offense flush with talent.
Here are some moments evaluating how Hilliard looked Saturday.
1. Blocking Eric Murray during a drill
Hilliard didn’t receive many receiving targets or carries in team drills. But when the Browns were working on different position drills, he showed his ability to block well.
In the video below, the running backs and tight ends worked on blocking oncoming linebackers and defensive backs. Hilliard took on safety Eric Murray.
2. Protecting Baker Mayfield in 11 on 11s
Hilliard translated what he worked on in the blocking drill into a team drill, helping protect his quarterback.
As Mayfield rolled out of the pocket, Hilliard turned around to block a defensive lineman who was coming quickly off the edge.
3. Returning kicks with special teams unit
Hilliard has practiced returning kickoffs throughout camp, and he continued to work with the special teams unit Saturday. Because of his agility and acceleration, Hilliard can make plays in open field. Though the Browns don’t tackle during these drills, Hilliard’s potential to thrive as a return man is evident.
4. Running between the tackles
Hilliard isn’t an every-down back like Chubb, but he can sometimes run between the tackles for solid gains. During an 11-on-11 drill, Hilliard displayed this ability.
5. A bounce out to the left during a two-minute drill
Near the end of practice, the Browns ran a two-minute drill. Hilliard found some space to cut up field on a handoff shown below. As he got to the middle of the defense, Hilliard bounced out to the left for a good gain.
What We Learned
Unless there’s a roster move that indicates otherwise, Hilliard will be the Browns’ No. 2 back for at least eight games while Kareem Hunt serves his suspension. With Duke Johnson gone, Hilliard will need to fit a similar job description — be a versatile back who can catch passes as well as occasionally carry the ball.
“I have no doubt in my mind that I can fill that role,” Hilliard said to local media before Saturday’s practice.
Browns writer Dan Labbe contributed to this report.