The Cleveland Browns will hold their first full-squad session of training camp on Thursday, July 26th, and that means it is time for me to unveil my first 53-man roster projection of the season. This pre-training camp edition is my current perception for how things will go, but it could change drastically over the next couple of weeks based on reports from training camp and performances in the preseason games.
I will have two more roster projections as training camp progresses: one will be after the second preseason game, and the final one will immediately follow the final preseason game. Remember that there is only one cutdown date this year — straight from 90 to 53 players.
|Pos||Final Roster||Players Cut|
|Dan Vitale||Marquez Williams|
The list above contains 53 players that I kept, and 36 players that I cut. That comes out to 89 players, because WR Ricardo Louis will go on IR and no one has been signed to replace him yet. Technically, WR Josh Gordon is not on the 90-man roster now either, but I am optimistic with my projection that he will return for the regular season.
Every year, I fill in each player’s name on either 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, I came to 50 players, so I was able to bump three players over from my “cuts” list.
General Roster Projection Notes
- Quarterback is already locked in, barring injury: Tyrod Taylor will start, Baker Mayfield will basically be the backup, the Drew Stanton will be the happy mentor to the rookie.
- The running back position is also locked in for the top three running backs. Matthew Dayes has a shot at the roster if he wins the kick return role, but I think other players will win that job.
- Wide receiver is definitely murky, and my decision on Josh Gordon will become more clear as time goes on. Because there is still over a month until the start of the regular season, I want to be optimistic that even if he takes three weeks to himself, he can be ready for Week 1. Ricardo Louis’ season-ending injury improves the chances of Damion Ratley or Rashard Higgins making the roster. For now, I picked the rookie since Jarvis Landry will play the slot role, which Higgins specializes in, and I’m still keeping Ratley off for the practice squad.
- The Browns’ top three tight ends also seem locked in; I don’t see a fourth tight end being a priority when I’d rather use that number for an extra offensive lineman, defensive lineman, or defensive back.
- I’m playing it incredibly safe at offensive line to start things off because it is too early to tell how some of the young linemen will perform. I would have had Desmond Harrison make the roster over Greg Robinson, but Robinson is now starting camp on the PUP list with an ankle injury.
- Is it a bit much to carry 10 defensive linemen? Maybe, but I love the Browns being deep at that position. The heavy rotation worked very well last year, and with Larry Ogunjobi taking on a bigger workload this year with Danny Shelton gone, I see that open the door for Trenton Thompson making the roster. Defensive end is up-in-the-air for me, because I really don’t envision Carl Nassib being a lock for the roster, but the depth at the position is still very questionable after Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah.
- I only went with six linebackers. Last year, the Browns used four linebackers on defense, and the back end of the chart worked on special teams. They also can use a guy like Jabrill Peppers as a hybrid linebacker, so we don’t need a seventh player at the spot.
- Even though I listed rookie Simeon Thomas as a cornerback in our training camp previews, I only had three safeties making the roster. I moved Thomas over to balance the numbers a bit, since we’re not quite sure yet if he will be a cornerback or a safety.
- Part of me wonders if Cleveland will cut E.J. Gaines if he loses the starting competition with T.J. Carrie. For now, I’m keeping the best six cornerbacks on the roster.
- Despite the competition at kicker and punter, I’m keeping things the same as last year.
- The single asterisks on the cut side represent my projected practice squad, which includes RB Matthew Dayes, WR Damion Ratley, WR Da’Mari Scott, TE Julian Allen, OT Desmond Harrison, OT Christian DiLauro, DL Marcell Frazier, LB Justin Currie, S Montrel Meander, CB Denzel Rice, and INTL Tigie Sankoh (he counts for free as part of the NFL’s international program).
Feel free to share your roster projections here, or some changes you would make to mine. Note: Ezweav also posted his 53-man roster projection this past Sunday.