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Cleveland Browns 53-Man Roster Projection - Final Version & Player Notes

CB James Dockery (#31) and WR Rod Windsor (#13) celebrate after a Cleveland Browns touchdown in the team's final preseason game against the Bears. With both guys being bubble players, did they do enough to warrant a spot on the final roster?
CB James Dockery (#31) and WR Rod Windsor (#13) celebrate after a Cleveland Browns touchdown in the team's final preseason game against the Bears. With both guys being bubble players, did they do enough to warrant a spot on the final roster?

This will be my final 53-man roster projection for the Cleveland Browns, since cuts are due in by Friday night at 9:00 PM EDT. Following the Browns' 28-20 loss to the Bears, Shurmur said that players will be notified of the cuts some time in the afternoon. We will have an open thread on Dawgs By Nature in the morning for you to discuss all of the cuts going on league-wide, so be sure to hang around.

Here are the previous iterations of my roster projections if you would like to see my thought process from the beginning to the end of camp: Version 1 (Pre-Training Camp) | Version 2 (After Packers Game) | Version 3 (Before Bears Game)

This final version, which can be seen after the jump, reflects what went down in the final preseason game and what my "gut" feelings are (hat tip: Butch Davis).

Pos Final Roster Players Cut
QB Brandon Weeden
Colt McCoy
Seneca Wallace
Thaddeus Lewis
RB Trent Richardson
Montario Hardesty
Brandon Jackson
Chris Ogbonnaya
Adonis Thomas*
FB Owen Marecic
Brad Smelley*
WR Greg Little
Mohamed Massaquoi
Josh Gordon
Travis Benjamin
Joshua Cribbs
Jordan Norwood
Carlton Mitchell
Josh Cooper*
Rod Windsor*
Bert Reed
Jermaine Saffold
Owen Spencer

TE Ben Watson
Jordan Cameron
Evan Moore
Alex Smith
Dan Gronkowski
OL Joe Thomas
Jason Pinkston
Alex Mack
Shawn Lauvao
Mitchell Schwartz
John Greco
Ryan Miller
Oniel Cousins
Stanley Daniels
Dominic Alford*
Jarrod Shaw
Garth Gerhart
Matt Cleveland
Jake Anderson

Jeff Shugarts
DL Ahtyba Rubin
Jabaal Sheard
Frostee Rucker
Emmanuel Stephens
Brian Schaefering
Scott Paxson
Juqua Parker
John Hughes
Billy Winn
Marcus Benard
Auston English
Brian Sanford
Kiante Tripp
William Green*
Ronnie Cameron*
Ernest Owusu
LB D'Qwell Jackson
Kaluka Maiava
James-Michael Johnson
L.J. Fort
Craig Robertson
Benjamin Jacobs
Quinton Spears
Emmanuel Acho
JoJo Dickson
S T.J. Ward
Eric Hagg
Ray Ventrone
David Sims
Usama Young
CB Joe Haden
Sheldon Brown
Dimitri Patterson
Buster Skrine
Trevin Wade
James Dockery
Tashaun Gipson*
Johnson Bademosi
Emanuel Davis
Antwuan Reed
ST Christian Yount
Phil Dawson
Reggie Hodges
Jeff Wolfert
Spencer Lanning

Already on PUP: DT Phil Taylor
Already on IR:
LB Chris Gocong, LB Emmanuel Acho, FB Eddie Williams
Projected Suspension List: LB Scott Fujita

Here are the changes that were made since the previous version:

Moved to Active Roster (Left Side): OT Oniel Cousins, LB Benjamin Jacobs
Moved to List of Cuts (Right Side): OT Stanley Daniels, S Usama Young

General Roster Projection Notes

  • On the surface, there weren't too many things that changed. I'll explain my decisions below.
  • I don't think Stanley Daniels did anything to lose the roster spot I gave him in version three of my projections. On the same note, since Oniel Cousins did not play again, he did not do anything to show he warranted a roster spot. Why the swap? I was hoping that John Greco would show enough at left tackle to make Cousins expendable, and I did not come away impressed enough.

  • When the regular season comes, Greco will already be filling the role of emergency center and backup guard. I'm not sure if he can wear all of the hats as a backup. Maybe we can try to mature Ryan Miller some more at left tackle through practice and let Cousins see action as the backup right guard.
  • The other change swapped two defensive players: LB Benjamin Jacobs and S Usama Young. I was a little alarmed to see that Young did not play at all against the Bears. The coaching staff has made up their mind on him already. He might not be in jeopardy, but I am taking him off for now.

  • I originally went with just five linebackers to start the year (assuming Scott Fujita serves a suspension), but the injury scare to James-Michael Johnson changed that. JMJ suffered an oblique injury, and x-rays were negative. Still, we don't know if he is going to miss any time. With cuts due so shortly after the game, Jacobs is an insurance policy, even if he's just temporary. Jacobs led the team with seven tackles against the Bears and also made some plays on special teams.
  • I still don't see why Montario Hardesty is in danger of being cut, given the question mark that remains with Trent Richardson. However, Brandon Jackson looked solid against the Bears and has outperformed Hardesty over the past two weeks. He should be the team's primary backup behind Richardson to begin the year.
  • I was not a big fan of Adonis Thomas during the first preseason game. Over the past three weeks, he's done a good job fulfilling his duties. You had to love the extra block he threw on a scramble for Thaddeus Lewis against the Bears. He could make the roster over Chris Ogbonnaya, but I still he's more practice squad bound. I feel Ogbonnaya on the 53-man roster is my biggest "reach" of the entire list, although leaving James Dockery off is tough too.

  • If the Browns are going to get someone off waivers, let it be Tyler Clutts if the Bears let him loose. We liked him last year, and he was the multi-dimensional guy we thought Brad Smelley might be. That's not to say Smelley can't do those things, but he really wasn't given the opportunity. Clutts hit on all cylinders here. I hated seeing Owen Marecic whiff on a block early on that got Colt McCoy sacked. Honestly, I don't really care what happens with the fullback position at this point. I'm not going to be crushed if someone doesn't make the final cut.
  • I still like Rod Windsor as a receiver and want him on the practice squad. Getting blocked back into Reggie Hodges didn't help his credibility on special teams, though. Josh Cooper received minimal playing time, furthering my belief that he won't make the 53-man roster.
  • If Joshua Cribbs does not make the final cut, it will be a crime against humanity. I think he's perfectly safe, but many others have questioned whether he will make it or not. He is very important to this team's success, and in my opinion, is still the team's best wide receiver in terms of consistency.
  • Pat Shurmur's mind was already made up about the Browns' backup quarterback situation, he said in his post-game presser. He knows who No. 2 will be, but he won't tell. He didn't indicate that a decision had been made on the No. 3 guy yet. I'd still like to see the three guys I projected on the final roster. I wish Thaddeus Lewis would have had a better night -- a little discouraging to see so many misplaced balls to open receivers, one pass of which bounced off the ground and into Shurmur.
  • I made a few practice squad changes. I removed CB Johnson Bademosi and added CB Tashaun Gipson. It wasn't just because of his interception. The Browns are more likely going to want to develop a guy who did some good things at cornerback vs. special teams, and I think Gipson fit that bill. I also added DE William Green to the practice squad. He finished the game with four tackles.
  • My final practice squad projection is RB Adonis Thomas, FB Brad Smelley, WR Josh Cooper, WR Rod Windsor, OL Dominic Alford, DE William Green, DT Ronnie Cameron, and CB Tashaun Gipson.

Feel free to tell me any changes you would make to the list in the comments section below! Please note that this roster projection will also double as my game review for this week, since after final cuts are made, the typical "review" of the game is pointless.