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/or practice squad.
Here is my first official roster projection for the 2010-2011 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 six 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 two players from a different team after they've cleared waivers.
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. For the second year in a row, my initial count came to 55 players, meaning I had to cut two players I initially wanted. Those players were Raymond Ventrone and Brandon McDonald:
General Roster Projection Notes
- Brandon McDonald: I still think McDonald can contribute as a substitute defensive back, but right now I'd rather get a look at what Francies has to offer. McDonald has seen a good amount of time as a starter and has failed to shine, and I don't see the potential for him to "grow" any further.
- Raymond Ventrone: It would've been nice to have him on special teams, and this one came down to Ventrone vs. Clifton Geathers. Geathers is a sixth-round pick and a young defensive lineman we can develop though, so it's important to try to hold on to him. Also, we added one special teams specialist (Chris Gocong) which means we can subtract one too.
- Jason Trusnik: I made this cut in my initial run-through, but that doesn't mean it was any easier than the two cuts above. Trusnik was a versatile contributor last season, and if there's a way to keep him on the roster, I'd like for it to happen. I felt like picking Trusnk over David Veikune, but I need to be fair to last year's second-round pick to see how he can actually play when given a chance. If Trusnik stays, the likely candidate to leave is Marcus Benard, a young pass rusher.
- Eric Barton: Everyone seems to be writing Barton off, including me. Wouldn't it be something if Mangini and company still have plans for him to start alongside Fujita or something?
- Wide Receiver: The offense was pretty easy to decide, except when I got to the No. 5 receiver. It should be an even race between Engram, Mitchell, and Haggerty. Mitchell and Haggerty will probably end up taking Engram's spot in my next roster projection, as long as they start doing well in camp. I have a feeling that Delhomme might get a bit of work in with Engram though, and if the veteran pair look good together, the team might just keep him.
- Robert Royal: It should be neck-and-neck between Royal and Alex Smith. Whoever can block better is the player I want, and I think it'll end up being a push in that category. The tiebreaker is at receiver, where Smith excels.
- John St. Clair: He's on my roster right now, but only because I felt I had to keep two backup offensive tackles. Floyd Womack can play tackle too, so perhaps we can just waive St. Clair and take a chance on one of the other rookies. Ultimately, I think the Browns will scout the waiver wire when final cuts are made and will add a player they like over St. Clair.
Feel free to share your roster projections here, or some changes you would make to mine. Cleveland Browns training camp officially begins tomorrow, July 31!