This week marks the final week of the preseason and a key date is looming as teams must cut their rosters down to the NFL-mandated limit of 53 players on Sept. 1 by 4 p.m.
While the Cleveland Browns appear set at the top of the various position groups, there are still end-of-the-roster battles to watch, most notably at wide receiver.
On Saturday, head coach Hue Jackson expressed his desire to have six wide receivers on the roster, calling that a “good number.” So who are the six that will make the initial roster?
It is safe to say that veterans Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon - now that he has remastered the art of breaking the huddle — are locks to make the team. Go ahead and put down rookie Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins, who is showing what a player in his third year can do when given a chance, down for spots as well.
Damion Ratley, a sixth-round selection from Texas A&M has looked good in the preseason and should see a considerable amount of playing time in the final preseason game on Thursday against the Detroit Lions. Unless he is injured or has an incredibly poor game against the Lions, put Ratley down for the fifth spot.
That leaves one roster position up for grabs.
At the outset of training camp it appeared that veteran Jeff Janis would make the team. He was brought to Cleveland in free agency after spending four seasons with the Green Bay Packers, playing primarily on special teams.
The link to Green Bay, where general manager John Dorsey and front office mates Alonzo Highsmith and Eliot Wolf all worked, would seem to favor Janis, but he hasn’t done much in the passing game so far and his play on special teams has been erratic at best.
That could open the door for Derrick Willies, an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech.
Willies has the size — 6-foot-4 and 207 pounds — that coaches like, and he has been a vocal target of offensive coordinator Todd Haley, which could indicate that Haley sees something in Willies worth working with.
The final preseason game can be a difficult one to watch as the majority of a team’s top players do not play.
But with the Browns still finalizing the back end of the roster, there will be a few players at the wide receiver position worth keeping an eye on at Ford Field.