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Browns 53-man roster: Battle at WR could end with a unique twist

Could the Browns keep Jakeem Grant, David Bell, Marquise Goodwin along with the top receivers?

Cleveland Browns Offseason Workout Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

One of the reasons that many think WR DeAndre Hopkins doesn’t make sense for the Cleveland Browns is the number of quality receivers already on the roster. While Hopkins is better than a few of them, the Browns have already made additions that are likely to make the team’s 53-man roster.

Hopkins is reportedly not being pursued by Cleveland but that doesn’t end the logjam at wide receiver.

Returning from last season are two receivers that will for sure make the Browns 53-man roster:

  • Amari Cooper
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones

GM Andrew Berry added two receivers by trading the team’s second-round pick to the New York Jets that will make the initial roster:

  • Elijah Moore - Acquired in the trade
  • Cedric Tillman - Selected with the draft pick acquired in the trade

After those four, the following, mostly young, players are set to compete for roster spots this season:

  • David Bell - 3rd round pick
  • Marquise Goodwin - Free agent signing this offseason
  • Jakeem Grant - Free agent signing last offseason
  • Demetric Felton - Also noted as a RB by the team
  • Anthony Schwartz - 3rd round pick
  • Jaelon Darden
  • Daylen Baldwin
  • Mike Harley Jr.
  • Ra’Shaun Henry

During a private workout, 2022 draft pick Michael Woods II tore his Achilles and will be out for the season or he would be included in the completion.

In 2020, Berry’s first year running the team, Cleveland kept six receivers on their initial 53-man roster. The following two seasons, only five made the first roster. According to ESPN’s Jake Trotter, one possibility to solve the logjam could be to keep seven (7!) receivers this season:

Trotter notes Grant’s name as the seventh receiver but, if return skills are a priority, Darden will also get a shot at that role.

Barring injuries, which should be assumed in pretty much anything related to the NFL, Goodwin’s speed and Bell’s route running have them poised to take the fifth and sixth receiver roles. However, special teams are important at the receiver position, not just as returners. Backup receiver are often called upon to be gunners on coverage units as well. Given his age, Goodwin is unlikely to take on those snaps.

Keeping a seventh receiver who can return kicks as well as cover kicks (the Josh Cribbs special) makes sense. Cleveland could end up keeping only three running backs to account for the extra receiver.

Who do you think makes the Browns 53-man roster at receiver? Join the comment section below to share your thoughts. Is seven too many?