It is time for my final 53-man roster projection for the Cleveland Browns. General Manager John Dorsey will have to trim the roster from 86 players to 53 players by 4:00 PM ET on Saturday, September 1st. This edition is based on the weeks of training camp reports, performances from the four preseason games, and my general instincts.
|Pos||Final Roster||Players Cut|
The following players would not count toward the 53-man roster:
- Injured Reserve: WR Ricardo Louis, CB Howard Wilson
General Roster Projection Notes
- Since the first edition of my list, I removed the following four players from my 53-man roster projection:
WR Corey Coleman
DL Trenton Thompson
LB Mychal Kendricks
S Simeon Thomas
- Since the second edition of my list, I added the following four players to my 53-man roster projection:
WR Rashard Higgins
WR Damion Ratley
DL Nate Orchard
LB Justin Currie
I will explain each of the roster decisions in the positional bullet points below.
- Quarterback: As much as I like Brogan Roback for being funny, the team doesn’t need four quarterbacks, even on the practice squad.
- Running Back: It was a solid final preseason game for Matthew Dayes, but reps will already be hard to divide between the top three backs.
- Wide Receiver: One of the polarizing decisions I had to make was whether to keep Jeff Janis or not. He has been hurt or done nothing all preseason, but I have to keep telling myself that Cleveland signed him for a niche reason (gunner), and he will still likely be counted on to fulfill that. Whether rookie Damion Ratley makes the roster is up for debate too — I squeeze him on over TE Devon Cajuste. Rashard Higgins was on my cut list before camp, but he’s definitely earned a roster spot with a great camp. What a difference from a year ago.
- Tight End: People have wondered whether Seth DeValve’s roster spot is in jeopardy. I just don’t see how the team could cut an expected contributor because he was hurt during camp. DeValve has good hands and can stretch the field better than Cajuste can. I was pulling for Cajuste due to his Hard Knocks story, but that drop in the final preseason game was costly.
- Offensive Line: People are intrigued by what Desmond Harrison can offer as a backup tackle, but I don’t think he’s ready for a 53-man roster spot. The practice squad is the right spot for him to develop. I think the team would trade Shon Coleman if there was an interest in him, but don’t think they are deep enough at tackle to just outright cut him. Greg Robinson had a decent preseason if the club wants to keep him as insurance.
- Defensive Line: The defensive line position is all over the place due to Trevon Coley’s health. I don’t think veteran Chris Smith will be cut, but he hasn’t been seeing early-game reps. Rookie third-rounder Chad Thomas has had an uneventful camp, but shouldn’t be at risk of being cut. I said Carl Nassib vs. Nate Orchard was a battle I felt would be a “thing” early in camp, and Hard Knocks has played that out too. I was sticking with Nassib over Orchard, but then Orchard had an awesome pick six in the final preseason game. Ugh. As awesome as that one play is, I just don’t know if the staff will feel he is productive enough against starting-level talent. I found a last-second spot for him by taking rookie S Simeon Thomas off the main roster.
- Linebacker: The sudden departure of Mychal Kendricks definitely threw a wrench in the once-fruitful linebacker depth, and Genard Avery’s injury hurts matters too. James Burgess’ roster spot should be locked in more, but now I have Justin Currie making the final roster too (but he will probably be gone after waiver moves are made).
- Cornerback: Cleveland stockpiled on cornerbacks this offseason, and I’ve decided to keep all of them. T.J. Carrie and E.J. Gaines were supposed to battle it out for the other starting corner job, but faded from competition quickly. Still, I think Gregg Williams hated the lack of depth at the position last year and will want that whole room of guys to work with.
- Safety: The safety room is a bit thin after the first three, so I’m shifting CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun over there to fill out a number. I also think we could see Jabrill Peppers and Derrick Kindred on the field a lot together, helping alleviate some of the number issues at linebacker at times.
- Special Teams: The kicker competition ended early, with Ross Martin being cut before the final preseason game (but I was keeping Zane Gonzalez anyway). I don’t think Justin Vogel will unseat veteran Britton Colquitt.
- The single asterisks on the cut side represent my projected practice squad, which includes RB Matthew Dayes, WR Derrick Willies, OT Desmond Harrison, DL Daniel Ekuale, DL Zaycoven Henderson, LB B.J. Bello, LB Jermaine Grace, S Simeon Thomas, CB Jeremiah McKinnon, CB Denzel Rice, and DB Tigie Sankoh.
- Note: I reserve the right to tweak my 53-man projection by noon on Friday. Final roster cuts are due Saturday by 4 PM ET.
Feel free to share your roster projections here, or some changes you would make to mine.