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Cleveland Browns Minicamp: 3 Things to Know Heading In

The new-look Cleveland Browns will gather for their first mandatory dates of the offseason this week.

The Browns’ mandatory minicamp runs from June 4-6 and it will be a chance for the team to put all the pieces of the puzzle together as they gear up for what is expected to be their first run to the postseason since 2002.

Browns second-year quarterback and former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield couldn’t be happier about getting everyone in the same building.

“You don’t get too many times that it’s not during the season and everybody’s got their own routines,” Mayfield said. “It’ll be enjoyable next week.”

Here are three important things to know heading into minicamp.

Odell Beckham Jr. Browns trade

GettyCleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Odell Beckham Jr. Says He Will Be There

Where in the world is Odell Beckham Jr.

That’s been the No. 1 question the last month facing the Browns as their new star wide receiver has avoided most optional team activities.

OBJ attended just one of nine OTA sessions, so he hasn’t had much of a chance to get to know his teammates or learn the offense.

The Browns gave up a first and third round pick along with safety Jabrill Peppers to land OBJ from the New York Giants this offseason, which still seems like a steal for Cleveland if Beckham can play up to his potential.

But he needs to be in the building for that happen.

First-year head coach Freddie Kitchens has done his best to give Beckham some space, but the questions came almost daily during OTAs about his lack of attendance.

“I just want to see him,” Kitchens said.

When asked what OBJ has missed, Kitchens kept it simple.

“A lot — the offense,” Kitchens said.

Kitchens added that he expects to see Beckham for minicamp, and OBJ said as much on social media.

After OBJ posted a picture with the caption “I came a long way from feeling numb…” a large chunk of the comments urged the Browns’ star to attend practice.

ScreenshotCleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. responded to a comment about his lack of practice time.

Beckham — obviously annoyed — responded to one comment saying, “I’ll be there on the 3rd, u coming?’’

Duke Johnson

GettyCleveland Browns RB Duke Johnson

Duke Johnson Jr. Is Also Expected to Attend

While his name doesn’t carry the same weight as OBJ’s, backup running back and fan favorite Duke Johnson Jr. is also expected to make his first appearance of the offseason at the minicamp.

Johnson — a third down specialist for the Browns — requested a trade after Kareem Hunt was picked up in the offseason, seeing his role in the offensive shrinking to an insignificant size. He hasn’t attended any offseason activities with the team.

Last season, Johnson had 40 carries for 201 yards to go with 47 receptions for 429 yards and three touchdowns. In his three previous seasons with the Browns, he had over 500 yards receiving, earning him a reputation as a lethal target out of the backfield.

But despite the trade request, Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said he expects Johnson to be at camp “because it’s mandatory.”

Hunt is suspended for the first eight games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The former Kansas City Pro Bowl back, was previously placed on the commissioner’s exempt list last fall following news that he was involved in an altercation with a woman at a Cleveland hotel.

That makes Johnson No. 2 on the depth chart, at least for the time being, and an important member of the offense.

However, in his absence, Dontrell Hilliard has made massive strides, and could make Johnson more disposable than he believes.

Gerald McCoy Browns

GettyThe Cleveland Browns are still in the running to land veteran free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

There could be another new defensive line addition

The Browns signed Sheldon Richardson and traded for Olivier Vernon in the offseason to bolster their Myles Garrett-led defensive line.

But another big name could be coming to Cleveland very soon.

The Browns and prized free agent Gerald McCoy have show mutual interest since the All-Pro defensive tackle was release by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The 31-year-old McCoy has been among the NFL’s best during his career. He spent his past nine seasons with the Bucs, racking up a whopping 54.5 sacks and 297 tackles — impressive numbers from the defensive tackle position.

“I know the more good football players you have, the better you are, the better rotation is, the better you can get after a quarterback in a two minute drive,”  Kitchens said. “He knows when we will want to put pressure on the quarterback. He knows that is what we are going to be about. Hopefully he wants to be a part of it.”

McCoy is expected to make his decision in the next few days and has said it is his desire to attend minicamp with his new team. He’s reportedly deciding between the Browns, Panthers and Ravens.

OBJ and Baker Mayfield have been active in recruiting McCoy because they know as well as anyone that if he gets added to the mix, the Browns defensive line will be among the most talented — if not the most talented — in the league.

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