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Browns training camp: Early 53-man roster projection

After three days of practice, and some injury updates, a new Browns 53-man roster projection

Syndication: Akron Beacon Journal Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cleveland Browns are three days into this year’s training camp. Projecting what their initial 53-man roster will look like is a shot in the dark but there seem to be a lot of certainties as well.

Since our last Browns roster projection, which came after the trade for DE Za’Darius Smith, we have seen DT Perrion Winfrey get released and WR Marquise Goodwin diagnosed with blood clots.

Those two moves, along with some whispers from training camp so far, have led to a couple of changes to our projections. Wide receiver may have the biggest head-scratchers so some quick explanations:

  • Daylen Baldwin has seen time with the first and second teams already in camp. With Goodwin potentially sidelined, Baldwin could get a spot despite being a big receiver that lacks speed.
  • Jaelon Darden beats out Jakeem Grant for the final receiver spot and as the team’s primary returner. Grant is still working on the side after last year’s Achilles tear. The 24-year-old Darden has 52 punt returns and 21 kick returns in his two years in the league.

A few other roster projections might catch your eye, we will discuss them after the list and encourage you to discuss them in our comment section at the bottom of the page.

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, Daylen Baldwin, Jaelon Darden
TE - 3 David Njoku Jordan Akins, Harrison Bryant
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, Za'Darius Smith Ogbo Okoronkwo, Alex Wright, Isaiah McGuire*, Lonnie Phelps^
DT - 4 Dalvin Tomlinson, Siaki Ika* Jordan Elliott, Maurice Hurst
LB - 5 Anthony Walker, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah Sione Takitaki, Matthew Adams, Mohamoud Diabate^
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

There are a lot of difficult decisions as the Browns balance their immediate needs with the future. For example, LB Jordan Kunaszyk played well in a part-time role last year but rookie UDFA Mohamoud Diabate has a chance to stick around for a few years on a cheap deal.

Figuring out how DC Jim Schwartz will value defensive ends versus defensive tackles will also be interesting. GM Andrew Berry noted that Smith, like Myles Garrett and Alex Wright, could slide inside to help at defensive tackle so Phelps made the roster over Tommy Togiai, Trysten Hill and Michael Dwumfour.

At safety, D’Anthony Bell could get challenged by Ronnie Hickman, Bubba Bolden and Tanner McCalister for the final roster spot.

Where do you agree or disagree with our projections after just a few days of training camp?