Travis Benjamin shines at Browns training camp

BEREA, Ohio -- It's not unreasonable to think that Travis Benjamin came into training camp on the bubble. His days as the heir apparent as a return man took a hit in 2014. There are plenty of other small, quick guys on the roster -- though, to be fair to Benjamin, he towers over some of the other players in the receiver room with his 5-10 frame.

Just play the numbers game, though. Add Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline to Andrew Hawkins, plus Taylor Gabriel coming off of a strong rookie season, Vince Mayle coming in as a draft pick, plus guys like Rodney Smith and others trying to squeeze in, and, on top of that, Terrelle Pryor showing signs that maybe he can make the transition from quarterback to receiver. Someone has to get pushed out. Benjamin finds himself in with the group fighting for a spot.

Sunday, he made a case that there's still room for him.

On its surface, it wasn't a day that's going to blow you away. Camp hasn't had many highlights to speak of regardless, but it was a day where Benjamin was something that can't be overstated in a receiver: reliable.

Here were the key plays from Benjamin:
• Josh McCown finds Benjamin deep.
• McCown quick throw to Benjamin in front of Pierre Desir. • McCown finds Benjamin underneath.
• McCown goes over the top to Benjamin for 15+ yards.

Two things of note: First, Benjamin was catching passes from McCown, meaning he spent much of his time with the first team. Second, he made a couple of deep catches but also made catches going over the middle and as a safety valve. Sometimes a guy just has to do the dirty work, even on a hot Sunday morning in early August.

It's easy to forget that Benjamin is still developing as a wide receiver. He was drafted in the fourth round in 2012 as the guy who could possibly replace Josh Cribbs. He even showed signs that he could. He caught 18 balls that year, too, including a 69-yarder against Washington.

He matched his rookie year catch total last season after catching just five passes in eight games in 2013, scoring three touchdowns (including the go-ahead score against Tennessee and the game-tying score in Game 1 against Pittsburgh) and had some observers wondering early on if maybe he could take the next step as a receiver.

Competition is never bad. So far, it's brought out the best in Benjamin. He wins Sunday.

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