Training camp has quickly jumped up on us. With free agency and trades taking place at a different time this season, I almost forgot that I needed to make my first 53-man roster projection of the season (as I have done in the past few years).
The first projection list is not based on much information, but just a general "feel" of what I am thinking. There will probably be 1-2 more roster projections throughout training camp, especially if the Browns sign more players and seeing how players are performing in training camp and the preseason.
The above list contains 53 players that I kept, and 34 players that I cut. The Browns still need to add three players to meet the 90-man requirement for camp.
Every year, I fill in each player's name either on the "roster" side or the "cut" side, without tallying whether or not I have surpassed the 53-player limit. Then, I count up the left side, and if I am over 53 players, I weigh my options and decide who the "tough" cuts are. The past two years, my initial count came to 55 players, meaning I had to cut two players I initially wanted. This year was different.
On the first draft that I made, I only had 47 players on the roster. That is a direct result of the NFL Lockout. I still think we are going to add a couple more free agents (or players via trades) to take those final six spots. Also, I haven't had enough time to get to know the undrafted free agents yet, so it's hard to pick-and-choose between them.
General Roster Projection Notes
- I needed to add six players to the roster to reach 53 players. In general, I was pretty confident in what I had set forth on offense. I only had eight offensive linemen though, and I usually like to go with nine. I chose Steve Vallos, since he has some experience in the league (five years) and plays tackle.
- The other five players needed to come on defense, and the position that was still "light" in depth was the defensive line. I only had six players there, unless you count Marcus Benard as a defensive end. I felt I needed to add two more players. For now, those players are defensive end Brian Sanford and defensive tackle Scott Paxson. I'm not crazy about either guy being in the regular rotation, but I anticipate the Browns going after another veteran. (Fingers crossed), I'm hoping it's Robaire Smith so he can play both defensive end and defensive tackle as needed.
- Three more spots left. I only had six linebackers, and with special teams considerations, I think I needed another one. I'd really like to see the Browns re-sign Blake Costanzo in the next couple of days -- it would make me jump for joy. For the moment, I put Steve Octavien on the roster. He came over last year after the Cowboys released him and played a bit on special teams for two games.
- And the last two spots go to...safety Eric Hagg and cornerback DeAngelo Smith. I originally had Hagg on my cut list with a plan to put him on the practice squad, but I needed another defensive back and the team had somewhat of an investment in him. I'm still hopeful we can acquire another veteran defensive back after losing out on Eric Wright. Smith got the last spot because he has played cornerback, safety, and some special teams.
- Vallos, Sanford, Paxson, Octavien, Smith, and Hagg. Not exactly six guys I'm thrilled to have on the roster, so let's see if we make some more moves or if some of the UDFA's make an impression.
- I don't really think I had any surprise "makes" in my original 47. The only one you might consider if quarterback Jarrett Brown, who has never played in the NFL. Honestly, it was just a toss-up between he and Weatherhead. Getting Lawrence Vickers back as a fullback would make me happy too, but that's probably a pipedream at this point.
Feel free to share your roster projections here, or some changes you would make to mine. Cleveland Browns training camp officially opens to the public Sunday morning!