The Cleveland Browns roster looks categorically more formidable than it did at this time last season, meaning there aren’t going to likely be many roster cut surprises when teams trim down to their 53-man rosters this week.
But John Dorsey and his team may have some surprises up their sleeves when it comes to shaping the bottom of Hue Jackson’s roster. After cuts go down, there’s no telling what the shrewd general manager might do in order to improve several areas of weakness.
While we can’t predict or account for those kinds of moves, we’ll use the information we do have available take a look at what the Browns roster could look like after cuts do happen.
This is what I think the Browns roster will look like after covering training camp and analyzing the team’s three preseason games.
Browns 53-man Roster Prediction
|Pos.||Final Roster||Players Cut|
|Pos.||Final Roster||Players Cut|
|QB||Tyrod Taylor||Brogan Roback*|
|-2||Baker Mayfield||Drew Stanton|
|RB||Duke Johnson||Matthew Dayes|
|-3||Carlos Hyde||Dontrell Hilliard|
|WR||Josh Gordon||Jeff Janis|
|-6||Jarvis Landry||Evan Berry|
|Antonio Callaway||Da'Mari Scott*|
|Damion Ratley||Derrick Willies*|
|Rashard Higgins||Blake Jackson|
|TE||David Njoku||Orson Charles|
|-4||Seth DeValve||Steve Baggett|
|OL||Joel Bitonio||Anthony Fabiano|
|-9||Kevin Zeitler||Christian DiLauro|
|J.C. Tretter||Geoff Gray*|
|Chris Hubbard||Avery Gennesy|
|Austin Corbett||Kevin Bowen|
|Spencer Drango||Shon Coleman|
|Desmond Harrison||Fred Lauina|
|DL||Myles Garrett||Jeremy Faulk|
|-9||Emmanuel Ogbah||Lenny Jones|
|Larry Ogunjobi||Daniel Ekuale*|
|Trevon Coley||Marcell Frazier*|
|Caleb Brantley||Zaycoven Henderson|
|Chris Smith||Nate Orchard|
|Jamie Meder||Blaine Woodson|
|MLB||Joe Schobert||Justin Currie|
|-2||James Burgess Jr.|
|OLB||Jamie Collins||Jermaine Grace|
|-4||Christian Kirksey||B.J. Bello*|
|Mychal Kendricks||Brady Sheldon|
|S||Damarious Randall||Derron Smith*|
|-5||Jabrill Peppers||Montrel Meander*|
|Derrick Kindred||Elijah Campbell|
|Briean Boddy-Calhoun||Tigie Sankoh|
|CB||Denzel Ward||Denzel Rice|
|-6||T.J. Carrie||Christian Boutte|
|E.J. Gaines||Simeon Thomas*|
|ST||Zane Gonzalez||Ross Martin|
|-3||Britton Colquitt||Justin Vogel|
|*Practice Squad Player Selections|
Note: Yes, there are 91 players on the list. DB Tigie Sankoh does not count against the Browns 90-man roster until final cuts, as he was assigned to the team from the NFL’s International Player Development program. The Browns have the option to retain him on their practice squad as an 11th member, although he would not be eligible for active roster promotion this season.
Quarterbacks (2)—Tyrod Taylor; Baker Mayfield
The only question here is whether the Browns keep Drew Stanton as an emergency quarterback, and mentor for Baker Mayfield. It seems as though Mayfield has progressed enough that the team feels comfortable enough rolling with Tyrod Taylor and the rookie. Also, Stanton appears completely unable to execute the team’s offense, which may be a matter of playing with third-stringers, but I’m more inclined to trust his entire poor body of work than I am to attribute his struggles to that.
Running backs (4)—Carlos Hyde; Duke Johnson Jr.; Nick Chubb; Dan Vitale
Matthew Dayes may have an outside shot at making the roster, but Dan Vitale is valuable enough to keep over a running back who would not see many active games this season, if any.
Wide receivers (6)—Josh Gordon; Jarvis Landry; Antonio Callaway; Rashard Higgins; Damion Ratley; C.J. Board
This Browns receiver group has improved drastically in one offseason, making the only real contested position the final sixth receiver spot. Whoever gets that spot, and I think it’ll be C.J. Board, will also not likely dress on game days. As DBN’s Thomas Moore noted earlier today, Derrick Willies is Board’s main competition. Willies is a player I have liked after seeing him at training camp. He possesses a great combination of size, speed and ability that may make it difficult for Board to earn that final spot.
Tight ends (4)—David Njoku; Darren Fells; Seth DeValve; Devon Cajuste
Receiver Jeff Janis was brought in for his veteran presence and special teams ability, but he hasn’t shown anything spectacular, or even serviceable, in either role throughout camp and preseason. That opens the door for camp and Hard Knocks favorite Devon Cajuste, who has shown he can contribute on special teams and provide some reliable tight end play in the event DeValve or Fells are forced to miss any time.
Offensive linemen (9)—Joel Bitonio, Austin Corbett, J.C. Tretter, Kevin Zeitler, Chris Hubbard; Greg Robinson; Spencer Drango; Desmond Harrison; Austin Reiter
Versatility is the name of the game for the Browns offensive line. And as we have seen so far, depth is also a primary concern this season. Look for the team to add an additional player after roster cuts if they are unhappy with Drango and Reiter as their primary interior backups.
Defensive linemen (9)—Myles Garrett; Larry Ogunjobi; Jamie Meder; Emmanuel Ogbah; Caleb Brantley; Trevon Coley; Carl Nassib; Chris Smith; Chad Thomas
Nate Orchard may be the odd man out here if Gregg Williams prefers to continue utilizing rookie linebacker Genard Avery in pass-rushing situations. Orchard has flashed plenty of raw ability and potential but it just doesn’t seem to be adding into production on the field. Chris Smith is also a player who may be in danger, but I think Dorsey brought him in for a reason, and the team sees him as a key rotational pass rusher.
Middle linebackers (2)—Joe Schobert; James Burgess Jr.
James Burgess Jr. was a key defensive player last season and has shown he benefitted from that extended playing time. He has earned his place on this year’s Browns team.
Outside linebackers (4)—Chris Kirksey; Jamie Collins; Mychal Kendricks, Genard Avery
No surprises here. B.J. Bello is a player I really like, but he’s a victim to the numbers game. The Browns may try to retain him on their practice squad.
Cornerbacks (6)—Denzel Ward; Terrance Mitchell; Mike Jordan; T.J. Carrie; E.J. Gaines; Jeremiah McKinnon
Jeremiah McKinnon has been such a surprise standout this offseason. If this decision comes down to him and Denzel Rice, I have to give the slight edge to McKinnon after he balled out against the Philadelphia Eagles last week. But both have been nice surprises after making several stops before Cleveland on their NFL journeys.
Safeties (4)—Damarious Randall; Jabrill Peppers; Derrick Kindred; Briean Boddy-Calhoun
No surprises here. Boddy-Calhoun has been a playmaker, and everyone else on this list seems to be safe and in the Browns’ future plans.
Special Teams (3)—Zane Gonzalez; Britton Colquitt; Charley Hughlett
No changes from last season. Gonzalez has flashed a strong and accurate leg throughout camp and has been consistent in game situations. Solon native Ross Martin has a nice leg and may work out for another team somewhere down the line.