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Jackson assesses rookies on first day of minicamp

The Browns rookies hit the practice field for the first time Friday, giving Hue Jackson and his coaching staff a first look at the team’s 14 draft picks and other undrafted free agents.

Jackson praised the explosiveness of 15th-overall draft pick Corey Coleman, but also said the former Baylor wide receiver needs to get into NFL-caliber shape.

“In order for him to walk in that room and compete with those guys, he’s got to get in great shape,” Jackson said. “That’s not talent at all. It has nothing to do with that. It’s getting in shape and that’s okay because we will get him there very quickly.”

Coleman said his first impressions of the Browns organization and coaching staff have been positive despite being reprimanded by Jackson for being out of shape.

“It’s amazing. Just a beautiful thing,” Coleman said. “[We] got the best coaches here. They tell us what we’ve got to do, and we understand it.”

As for Cody Kessler, Jackson said he sees a need for improved quickness in his footwork, but was pleased overall with the quarterback’s efforts in his first NFL practice. Jackson tiptoed through a question about whether the 3rd-round draft pick would get a chance to compete for the starting job.

“I think it’s too soon to say that he can’t. I think it’s too soon to say that he will,” Jackson said. “I think it’s way too early to tell all of that right now.”

When asked about goals for himself, Kessler spoke about working hard and building stronger team unity with fellow rookies and veterans.

“I think, first and foremost, [the goal] is just get together with these guys and know that we’re in it together,” Kessler said. “That’s something Coach Jackson is preaching, that we’ll work together.”

Jackson said the rookies have some work to do to catch up with where the veterans are within his coaching system, but overall the first day of practice was a positive one.

“It’s a good first day for the Browns and for our young players,” Jackson said. “It was a good first day in the classroom. It was a good first day on the field for them to start learning how we go about doing things here.”

Tim Tedeschi is a writer for NEOSI and a producer/contributor for the Sports on Tap Podcast. He is a senior at Indiana Wesleyan University, where he has worked as sports editor of the school newspaper, general manager of the college radio station, and play-by-play and color commentator for NAIA and high school basketball, soccer, and football. Follow him on Twitter @tim_tedeschi.

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