Only 53 men can make the make the Cleveland Browns final roster, meaning a lot of players are fighting for their jobs on a daily basis. Here is my first official roster projection for the 2008-2009 NFL season:
The above list contains 53 players that I kept, and 27 players that I cut. I placed seven people (represented by an asterisk [*]) on the practice squad. League rules allow for eight players to be on the practice squad, so at the moment my projection is that we'd sign one person from a different team after they've cleared waivers.
Here is a list of people who did not appear on the roster due to injuries:
CB Daven Holly (Injured Reserve)
WR Joe Jurevicius (Physically Unable to Perform List)
DE Christian Mohr (International Practice Squad Exemption)
General Roster Projection Notes
David McMillan: By far, this was the toughest cut to make, especially since I projected him to win the outside linebacker void left by Antwan Peek. Here's the problem though: I think Peek will be back by Week 1. Willie McGinest can handle the extra load for a week or two while Peek gets into starting rhythm again.
In the end, I think the whole competition between McMillan, Shantee Orr, and Alex Hall will be rendered moot. At ten linebackers already, someone had to go, and I chose the guy who has never been placed in the spotlight by the coaching staff.
- Darnell Dinkins: Had Rucker not gotten injured, I would've given the axe to DInkins. WIth Rucker out for at least two three-four regular season game (projection), we need a third tight end and an extra special teams player readily available.
- Wide Receiver: I decided to put Joshua Cribbs down in the special teams section. Kevin Kasper can't make this team being injured the whole time, and Joe Jurevicius will probably be back Week 7 at the soonest. After Travis Wilson, we definitely need one other receiver. Because Rucker is out for awhile, I went with two weapons in Steve Sanders and Syndric Steptoe, because both men have really risen to the occasion. I'd expect only one of those two to be active on gameday though.
- Louis Leonard: The fifth defensive line spot should come down to Leonard and Ahtyba Rubin. I think Rubin will easily slip to the practice squad, where the Browns would probably be more comfortable using him.
- Thin at Cornerback: I went thin at the cornerback position, with only four players. There's no use in carrying dead weight just to say "we have five cornerbacks". On top of that, Mike Adams can double as a cornerback. If Travis Key really shines over the next few weeks, I wonder if he could be a surprise "make" of the team. The cornerback position could definitely be revised to add Davis, James, Dawson, or Jenkins in my next projection though.
- Share Your Thoughts: As always, please share your thoughts on my roster projection. I have an idea as to what some of the complaints could be, but I'll wait for someone to mention them before arguing my point.
One more note: Almost every time I make my first roster projection, I count how many names are on my list and find out that I had too many people. On my first draft though, I ended up with a perfect 53 people making the team.