Almost a month has passed since I did my last post and the Browns have changed their roster already. Cutting a few former starters and even signing a few that should challenge for playing time. Notably, I did predict Eric Hagg getting cut and Bademosi's switch to Safety. Candidly, I have changed several positions up, although I still feel as though there will be some changes before the guys in the orange helmets take the field on August 8th in the first preseason game against the St. Louis Rams
Record Prediction: 7-9
3. Brian Hoyer
Thought: A lot of recent reports have said Weeden has continually shown improvement with his footwork and his arm still is the best on the team. I think the signing of Campbell has helped to push Weeden to continue to improve and become the quarterback the Browns have been searching for. Campbell will continue to lock down the #2 slot while the addition of Brian Hoyer shows another Lombardi guy improving the position and adding depth to the quarterback position.
3. Brandon Jackson
4. Dion Lewis
Thought: No longer struggling with the idea of the Browns keeping 4 Running Backs but I get sick thinking about Owen Marecic being around still. While I realize there are not going to be many fans of the Browns not having an official fullback on the roster, I think a combination of having 2 running backs and even putting a TE in the fullback slot (most likely Kellen Davis) is a better option than Marecic at this point. Hardesty has to get better at catching the ball out of the backfield before he can be seen as the #2 and I think the signing of Brandon Jackson could knock Obi off the team. Dion Lewis provides a talented back that has versatility and even the possibility of becoming a KR/PR if necessary.
1. Josh Gordon
2. Greg Little
3. Davone Bess
4. David Nelson
6. Josh Cooper
Thought: The WR bunch looks like it will be the talk of the summer, with Gordon, Little, and Bess looking like quite the formidable trio with a bright season ahead. Krupka's articles on Davone Bess leave me looking forward to seeing the Browns embarrass the Steelers', Ravens', and Bengals' defenses this season over the middle. Haven't seen much on David Nelson since his signing but I'm hoping he is ready and can be a big target, especially in the Red Zone. Travis Benjamin continues to improve and his speed could lead to some trick plays and some very long passes if he continues to be able to torch the opponents. Josh Cooper has also gotten some attention and right now seems as though he could potentially stick on the squad as the 6th WR and could see Norwood not make the team (save an UDFA surprising us). In the words of Pat Shurmur, we'll continue to see a number of guys battle for the last position at WR.
3. Kellen Davis
Thought: Hopefully Cameron's injury is just them taking precautionary measures. I have moved Barnidge in as the #2 TE, he has gotten first team reps to replace Cameron and has experience in Chud's offense from Carolina. As I referenced earlier, Kellen Davis could see some time on the field as FB potentially because of his size and ability to block.
LT- Joe Thomas, Chris Faulk
LG- Jason Pinkston, Garrett Gilkey
C- Alex Mack
RG- John Greco, Shawn Lauvao
Thought: First, let me agree that 9 O-Linemen is a lot. I was really torn on what to do, especially without much to work with about the line other than reports of who the Guards are. Obviously Joe, Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz are locks. I'm also inclined to believe Lauvao will be relegated to back-up duty behind Pinkston (if healthy) and Greco. I'm just not sure where to go with other guys here. I realize Faulk and Gilkey are eligible for the practice squad, but I'm really hoping they can get some time on the active roster to develop. Lauvao could be also be fighting for a spot on the team, and Rashad Butler is not a lock, but I think 9 O-Linemen provide depth and we could even see some of the other guys brought in for specialized running plays (I'm guessing Gilkey and Faulk can move a little quicker to block for Trent.) I've finally given up my dreams of Ryan Miller on the roster (practice squad?) and I don't see Cousins being around past July.
LDE- Ahtyba Rubin, Billy Winn
Thought: My starting 3 up front has not changed, however some things have. Shake-up here has to do with where exactly to put John Hughes. I think he naturally would be a better NT but lacks ideal weight for a NT (think Ted Washington's Belly for weight.) While I don't know how comfortable I am with Kitchen being the primary back-up for Phil Taylor, I really like the signing of Jean-Baptiste. I'm hoping to see the two Baylor Golden Bears control the NT position and with Rubin eat up the majority of blockers while Desmond Bryant blows into the backfield. Armonty Bryant lands on the practice squad to start the season for being an idiot. He can enjoy only seeing himself on the field while he plays video games at home and maybe he'll grow up. Continue to see some more progress on the D-Line in the next month or so.
LOLB- Paul Kruger, Quentin Groves
LILB- Craig Robertson, James Michael Johnson
RILB- D'Qwell Jackson, L.J. Fort
ROLB- Jabaal Sheard, Barkevious Mingo
Thought: Still unsure how to go about this group in regards to back-ups. Kruger and Jackson are locks and Sheard should begin the season as the starter at ROLB (have read some serious compliments from the coaches on Sheard.) I still think Robertson and JMJ will battle for the 4th starter at LILB and Mingo will begin the season as a situational pass rusher until he can drop back in coverage better, but I'm not sure how many guys Horton will want on the active roster. I am inclined to think 8 is the number right now. The only other two I could see having a shot at the active roster are Tank Carder and Adrian Moten for more ILB depth. The potential in this group has me looking forward to watching Kruger, Sheard, and Mingo crush Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh so we can watch all of those rotten Steelers fans cry.
1. Joe Haden
3. Chris Owens
5. Trevin Wade
Thought: Haden continues to be our ace in the secondary and initially I thought they would bring McFadden in slowly, but I think they're going to start him from day 1. I do think Chris Owens and Buster Skrine will have an interesting battle for the nickel slot, but Owens seems like he can beat out Skrine (especially after Skrine's penalties from last year) and Trevin Wade will continue to develop. After the Browns cut Barnes earlier in the month (another prediction I got right), I realized I should probably do some research as to who else could possibly make the roster at CB. I looked at Akeem Auguste and Josh Aubrey (both are UDFA.) Akeem Auguste stood out for me, having played at South Carolina, it seems like his biggest concern are injuries. I could see Auguste becoming one of the surprises to make the team similar to Gipson, Bademosi, Fort and Robertson last year.
1. TJ Ward
Thought: TJ Ward is a lock for SS and Gipson is getting more and more attention from the media as the FS, but Johnson Bademosi is as well. I think if Gipson and Bademosi push each other, both could find time in the secondary and we could see Horton using Bademosi's versatility to his advantage. Slaughter will have time to develop slowly behind TJ Ward and can contribute with Gipson and Bademosi on Special Teams.
P- Spencer Lanning
LS- Christian Yount
Thought: No changes on the Special Teams guys, although Bogotay could be more of a threat to challenge Shayne Graham than I thought. I think the experience of Graham will allow the Browns to not have to worry about Special Teams and anyone is better at Punter than Hodges last year.
SPECIAL TEAMS- 3
What's everyone think? Did I change anything or do anything too radical for your liking? I'd really like to hear more from all of you in regards to the roster. Hopefully we'll start hearing more about the roster in June when mini-camps start picking up and into July with training camp. Steelers suck!