UPDATE: On Sunday, the Browns made two roster moves:
It is time for our final 53-man roster projection for the Cleveland Browns. General manager Ray Farmer will have to trim the roster from 75 players to 53 players by 4:00 PM ET on Saturday, September 5th. This edition is based on the weeks of training camp reports, performances from the four preseason games, and the good ol' Butch Davis "gut feeling."
|Pos||Final Roster||Players Cut|
|Robert Nelson (projected IR)
The list above contains 53 players that I kept, and 22 players that I cut. Players with a strikethrough were already previously cut by the team.
The following players are not included in the table above, because they are already either on an injury or suspension list to begin the year: QB Connor Shaw (IR), RB Glenn Winston (NFI), WR Josh Gordon (suspension), TE Randall Telfer (NFI), OT Michael Bowie (IR), and CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (NFI).
General Roster Projection Notes
- Since the second edition of my list, I removed the following five players from my 53-man roster projection:
1. FB Malcolm Johnson
2. RB Shaun Draughn
3. WR Vince Mayle
4. NT Phil Taylor
5. K Carey Spear
- Since the second addition of my list, I added the following five players from my 53-man roster projection:
1. WR Terrelle Pryor
2. WR Josh Lenz
3. TE Rob Housler
4. DE Billy Winn
5. K Travis Coons
I will explain each of the roster decisions in the positional bullet points below.
- Quarterback: Unless the coaching staff feels that QB Johnny Manziel cannot play in Week 1, there is no need to have a third quarterback on the active roster (and if WR Terrelle Pryor makes the team, he could be the emergency quarterback). Cleveland will have to find a practice squad quarterback from another team, though.
- Running Back: Red alert! Red alert! One of the biggest roster moves I made was cutting FB Malcolm Johnson, as the situation seems very reminiscent of when the team ditched MarQueis Gray last year after he was the "starting fullback" for most of camp. Johnson has not been impressive as a blocker, and during the games, he hasn't clicked yet as a receiver. Perhaps his camp injuries have slowed his progress a bit, but hopefully we can land him on the practice squad.
I also cut RB Shaun Draughn. I don't think he'll be on the initial 53-man roster, but I think a day or two later, we will claim a running back off waivers from another team because of RB Duke Johnson's concussion.
- Wide Receiver: This position had the biggest overhaul. Gone is WR Vince Mayle, and in are WR Terrelle Pryor and WR Josh Lenz. I stuck with Mayle all camp, giving him every opportunity to shine, but he didn't. Maybe the Browns can put him on injured reserve with a thumb injury, but that would be stretching it by NFL rules. I thought a fourth-round pick wouldn't make it to the practice squad, but based on how poorly Mayle has played, I can't see another team wanting him on their 53-man roster.
Pryor makes the team because of potential. Remember that only 46 players are active on gameday, so the rest of those players don't have to be active gameday contributors right away. Keeping a guy like Pryor on the roster could force a team like the Jets to dedicate a little bit of their practice time to defending the read-option or Wildcat, based on the looks Pryor had there in the fourth preseason game.
Lenz made it because he earned it, stealing a spot I was originally going to award back to WR Marlon Moore. Lenz has been used actively on special teams this preseason, and as a receiver, he's shown more ability than Moore has. What the Browns lose in Moore on special teams, they'll gain in someone like CB Charles Gaines.
- Tight End: Another moderate surprise, which ties in to the decision on FB Malcolm Johnson, is to keep both E.J. Bibbs and Rob Housler. Bibbs and the other tight ends can take on the fullback-type of role on a rotational basis. Housler had a slot start at the beginning of camp but has quietly made the most of his opportunities the past few games, and I think they can utilize him a bit on special teams.
- Offensive Line: No changes. That seventh offensive lineman spot is still a wildcard, but I'm sticking with OL Andrew McDonald.
- Defensive Line: There weren't many roster changes on defense, and I teetered back-and-forth between three players for one open roster spot: DL Billy Winn, DL Dylan Wynn, and ILB Hayes Pullard. I swapped their names in-and-out several times, but ultimately stuck with the veteran Winn. The depth of the defensive line was tested last season, and although the position has been refreshed in the offseason, I'm intrigued to see how the lighter Winn can perform after being praised by coaches for his effort in 2014.
- Linebacker: I stuck with ILB Tank Carder because I think ILB Hayes Pullard can make the practice squad. Wynn seemed to have a bit of an OLB role this week, but I am going to try to get him on the practice squad too.
- Safety: The safety position seems pretty-well locked in.
- Cornerback: CB Charles Gaines earned a roster spot last week, and if we're getting rid of one good gunner (WR Marlon Moore), we've got to keep the other in CB Johnson Bademosi.
- Special Teams: Stunningly, the Browns being shut out was good news for K Travis Coons, because that means he never did anything besides the opening kickoff, so he couldn't lose his job because of that game.
- The single asterisks on the cut side represent my projected practice squad, which includes FB Malcolm Johnson, WR Vince Mayle, WR Darius Jennings, OL Vinston Painter, OL Darrian Miller, DL Dylan Wynn, ILB Hayes Pullard, S Landon Feichter, and CB Kendall James. The tenth spot is reserved for a quarterback.
Feel free to share your roster projections here, or some changes you would make to mine.