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Updating Browns 53-man roster projection after Smith trade, McLeod signing

GM Andrew Berry keeps making moves for the Cleveland Browns

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The change from Joe Woods to Jim Schwartz as Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator will not only have an impact on the field but it is obviously having an impact off of it. GM Andrew Berry spent Woods’ years barely addressing the defensive line outside of one-year contracts for Jadeveon Clowney.

This offseason has seen Berry sign Dalvin Tomlinson and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo then use two of the team’s first four selections to add Siaki Ika and Isaiah McGuire for the defensive line. Despite those additions, Berry wasn’t done as the trade for Za’Darius Smith went down Friday night.

Since our first 53-man roster projection just 10 days ago, the Browns have also signed veteran safety Rodney McLeod. While we are used to Berry churning the bottom of the team’s roster, his latest moves impact the top of the roster so we must update our roster projection.

Smith and McLeod are in, both slotted in as backups even if Smith might be the starter with Okoronkwo technically the backup. A good problem to have trying to figure out which one “deserves” to be the starter. With two going on, two have to come off with Jordan Kunaszyk and Tanner McCalister getting the ax.

Kunaszyk’s special teams' role will be taken by free agent Matthew Adams with undrafted Mohamoud Diabte helping out as well. McCalister made the initial 53-man due to the need for a backup free safety. While McLeod is more of a strong safety, he has the coverage skills to slide into that role if needed.

(Drafted rookies are marked with a * while undrafted players are marked with a ^)

Browns 53-Man Roster Projection

Position Starter(s) Backup(s)
Position Starter(s) Backup(s)
QB - 3 Deshaun Watson Josh Dobbs, Dorian Thompson Robinson*
RB - 3 Nick Chubb Jerome Ford, Hassan Hall^
WR - 7 Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Elijah Moore Cedric Tillman*, David Bell, Marquise Goodwin, Jakeem Grant
TE - 2 David Njoku Jordan Akins
OT - 4 Jedrick Wills, Jack Conklin James Hudson, Dawand Jones*
Guard - 3 Joel Bitonio, Wyatt Teller Michael Dunn
Center - 2 Ethan Pocic Luke Wypler*
DE - 6 Myles Garrett, Ogbo Okoronkwo Za'Darius Smith, Alex Wright, Isaiah McGuire*, Lonnie Phelps^
DT - 5 Dalvin Tomlinson, Siaki Ika* Trysten Hill, Maurice Hurst, Perrion Winfrey
LB - 5 Anthony Walker, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah Sione Takitaki, Matthew Adams, Mohamoud Diabte^
CB - 6 Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome II, Martin Emerson AJ Green, Mike Ford, Cameron Mitchell*
Safety - 4 Juan Thornhill, Grant Delpit D'Anthony Bell, Rodney McLeod
Kicker - 1 Cade York
Punter - 1 Corey Bojorquez
LS - 1 Charley Hughlett

As was true in our initial, we come with an interesting blend of just three running backs and two tight ends but keep seven receivers to start with. If a player like Cordarrelle Patterson gets added, Grant’s spot on the roster becomes more unlikely.

Where do you agree/disagree with our projection? How deep do you think the team really is?