As we enter the final weekend before the cut down to 53 I was wondering what positions are currently being contested. If we assume that the following players are locks:
DL: Garrett, Clowney, Elliott, Bryan, Togiai, Winfrey, Wright, Winovich & Thomas (9)
LB: JOK, Takitaki, Phillips, Walker (4)
CB: Ward, Newsome, Emerson, Williams, Green (5)
S: Johnson, Delpit (2)
OL: Bitonio, Teller, Conklin, Wills, Pocic, Hudson (6)
WR: Cooper, DPJ, Bell, Felton (4)
TE: Njoku, Bryant (2)
RB: Chubb, Hunt, Johnson, Ford (4)
QB: Brisette, Dobbs (2)
With the three special teams already selected we are left with 20 locks on defense and 18 locks on offense. That leaves 12 open roster spots.
I intentionally left Harrison and Hubbard off of the list of locks as I can see them as being trade candidates due to the overall depth at those positions. I considered Johnson for the same status.
I expect that the Browns will have a roster structure approximately as follows:
Defense: 10 DB, 5 LB, 10 DL
Offense: 6 WR, 4 TE, 4 RB, 2 QB, 9 OL
Players with position flexibility will have an advantage.
I expect the Browns to kick DEs inside on obvious passing situations so they will probably carry more DEs than DTs. Maybe a 6/4 split?
Players like JOK, Fields & Harrison create S/LB flexibility which we might need in order to bolster the run defense.
Did players like Rochell (DE), Allen (LB), Bell (S), Moffatt (S) & Jolly (CB) show enough to make the roster.
AB seems to be loath to give up on draft choices early so Fields (LB) & LaCounte (S) may have an advantage.
Will Winovich (DE) and Thomas (DE) be considered as potential augments to the LB room against teams like Baltimore with superior rushing attacks?
Schwartz (WR) is an AB draft choice with a high ceiling and underwhelming performance to date. Probably too much potential to let him go in year #2.
Have Forristall (TE), Stanton (FB/TE) or Griffin-Stewart (TE) shown enough to be the TE3?
Will the Browns use an athletic offensive lineman as the TE4 to create an opening?
Will they trade a RB?
Forbes (G) is a previous draft choice who has basically missed his first three seasons. Since he wasn’t an AB choice did he show enough to stick?
Will Conklin start the year on the roster or will he need time on the IR? The same question for Woods (WR) who is an AB draft choice.
Do we have anyone on the team who can return kickoffs and punts?
Harley (WR), Baldwin (WR) & Bradley (WR) have shown some flashes but can they be Special Team contributors to make the roster?
Trade Harrison and add LaCounte & Bell to the safety room.
Keep a 6th CB (Jolly or Miller).
Keep Fields as the 5th LB.
Add Rochell to the DL room.
Keep only 2 QBs
Trade Johnson and keep 3 RBs
Keep Stanton and Griffin-Stewart as TE
Keep Schwartz, Woods & Felton as WR
Keep Dunn, Hance & Hubbard as OL backups
Post cut down opportunities:
The Browns have about the 13th waiver priority. Will there be cutdown casualties (ex. Reagor, WR, Phil or Shenault, WR, Jax) who fill needs? Are such opportunities better approached as trades?
I think that the Browns will be most interested in adding some DT depth and a WR with return ability.
Any of the final 12 to the roster could be post cut down cuts if the right opportunity presents itself to AB from another team’s cuts.