Only 53 men can make the make the Cleveland Browns final roster, meaning a lot of players will be fighting for their jobs when training camp starts tomorrow. The first major batch of cuts aren't due for awhile, but this is a thread where you can go on record as listing who you believe will make the team's final roster and practice squad.
Here is my first official roster projection for the 2009-2010 NFL season (there will probably be 1-2 more roster projections throughout training camp, reflecting how players are performing in training camp and the preseason):
The above list contains 53 players that I kept, and 27 players that I cut. I placed five 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 three players from a different team after they've cleared waivers.
WR Donte Stallworth is on the suspension list, and therefore not listed.
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. This year, my initial count came to 55 players, meaning I had to cut two players I initially wanted. Those players were Beau Bell and Hank Fraley:
General Roster Projection Notes
Beau Bell: It should be Bell vs. Maiava in training camp, with Maiava being the slight favorite since he was drafted by Mangini. The Browns have other players who can play both inside and outside linebacker such as David Bowens and Leon Williams; keeping both Bell and Maiava on the final roster might not be advantageous. I think Bell is still eligible for the practice squad too, which is where I put him.
- Hank Fraley: This is a similar situation, where Rex Hadnot can double as a guard and a center. Fraley can also play guard, but appeared to be on the downside of his career last season. This would be a tougher cut in the sense that Fraley is a veteran and a potential locker room leader.
Defensive Line: Instead of Bell or Fraley, the Browns could also take out one of Shaun Smith or C.J. Mosley. Smith has the potential to be a decent backup still, so we'll see how his attitude is in training camp. Mosley comes over from the Jets, but I don't think he has a spot locked up. Also, Louis Leonard could be substituted for Smith if Smith's attitude is poor.
- Young Cornerbacks: Depending on Francies' status, he could be swapped with Don Carey. I don't see us keeping both players on the final roster though; one can go on the practice squad.
Charles Ali: Although a good fullback, will Mangini think the Browns need two fullbacks? If Ali isn't kept, the Browns may go for Noah Herron instead as a fourth running back/backup fullback.
- Offensive Line: I think there's a good chance either Dustin Fry or Kurt Quarterman will take the place of one of the veteran linemen (St. Clair or Foster).
- Special Teams: Both Blake Costanzo and Nick Sorensen are assisted by their special teams experience.
Parker Douglass: If you're wondering where the backup kicker is, he was just waived after Brian Robiskie signed. It's surprising that we don't have any backup kickers/punters in camp.
Feel free to share your roster projections here, or some changes you would make to mine. Remember to come back tomorrow as training camp begins!