It is time for my 53-man roster projection for the Cleveland Browns. General Manager Andrew Berry will have to trim the roster from 87 players to 53 players by 4:00 PM ET on Tuesday, August 29. This projection is based on the weeks of training camp reports, the preseason games to date, and my general instincts.
Browns 53-Man Roster & Cuts Projection
|Pos||Final Roster||Practice Squad (Cut)||Players Cut / IR / Opt-Out|
|John Kelly||Jordan Wilkins
|Mike Harley Jr.||Marquise Goodwin
|Zaire Mitchell-Paden||Miller Forristall
James Hudson III
|Tyrone Wheatley||Drew Forbes
Tony Fields II
A.J. Green III
|Caleb Biggers|| Lorenzo Burns
The list above contains 53 players that I kept. Because practice squads are so big (16 players), I have created a specific column for those players too — although I did not fully fill it. Listed below would be just the 53-man roster, if I was correct on everything:
53-Man Roster Depth Chart (Projected)
|QB - 2||Deshaun Watson||Dorian Thompson Robinson|
|RB - 3||Nick Chubb||Jerome Ford, Demetric Felton|
|WR - 6||Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Elijah Moore||Cedric Tillman, David Bell, Austin Watkins|
|TE - 3||David Njoku||Jordan Akins, Harrison Bryant|
|OT - 4||Jedrick Wills, Jack Conklin||James Hudson, Dawand Jones|
|Guard - 4||Joel Bitonio, Wyatt Teller||Michael Dunn, Nick Harris|
|Center - 2||Ethan Pocic||Luke Wypler|
|DE - 5||Myles Garrett, Za'Darius Smith||Ogbo Okoronkwo, Alex Wright, Isaiah McGuire|
|DT - 5||Dalvin Tomlinson, Shelby Harris||Jordan Elliott, Maurice Hurst, Siaka Ika|
|LB - 6||Anthony Walker, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah||Sione Takitaki, Mohamoud Diabate, Matthew Adams, Tony Fields|
|CB - 6||Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome II, Martin Emerson||A.J. 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|
General Roster Projection Notes
- The quarterback situation is shaky if Deshaun Watson goes down, but let’s be honest: Kellen Mond wouldn’t be the savior, and by the team trading Josh Dobbs, it means they were ready to roll with Dorian Thompson-Robinson as the backup.
- Running back was a difficult decision. Nick Chubb is really the only roster spot we are certain about. For much of the season, we know Jerome Ford will be the second running back. He’ll definitely make the roster, but if he is not ready for Week 1, who is making the team to be the backup? And who would be the third running back anyway? I thought John Kelly at the beginning of camp, but Demetric Felton took reps at running back this camp and was shifty. I was thinking of writing him off still, but now with Jakeem Grant’s injury, Felton might be the return man again, and could pull double duty at running back. What about Jordan Wilkins, who has the most experience? Tough to decide, I feel like I’m going thin at running back here.
- At wide receiver, we’re saying goodbye to Anthony Schwartz. It’s impossible for me to know the health condition of Marquise Goodwin — sometimes you can put them on the roster temporarily, but I don’t think they’ll want to sacrifice too many of those spots when they might already do it with (Alex Wright) as you’ll see later. The biggest question mark here for me is whether Austin Watkins makes it. Everything about his depth chart movement (stuck on second- or third-team) tells me that he wouldn’t be a normal 53-man roster contributor. However, since he was hot this camp, he might require a stash. He could also make it, and then be waived later (to fly under the radar) and then go on the practice squad.
- Tight end is another tough one because we have no pulse on what the deal is with Harrison Bryant.
- At offensive line, my biggest decision was deciding between Nick Harris and Luke Wypler. If the team can trade Harris, they probably would, but I don’t think there is any market out there for him. Ultimately, I decided to keep both of them.
- On the defensive line, I’m using the strategy to keep Alex Wright initially, and then putting him on IR later so that he can return later this season. That would free up a roster spot for a waiver claim, or someone the team cut. Tommy Togiai was a toss-up; with a new defensive coaching change and veterans brought in, I think it’s easy to lose him in the shuffle.
- At linebacker, I passed on Mohamoud Diabate, but would like him on the practice squad. He had a nice camp, but I think a lot of the buzz came from one strong preseason game. What will out-weigh that is special teams contributions, which is what Matthew Adams, Tony Fields, and Jordan Kunaszyk have to offer. Is that too many linebackers? Maybe — but I don’t know if Anthony Walker and Sione Takitaki are ready to jump into full roles just yet.
- UPDATE (August 28): Kunaszyk reportedly has a torn MCL, so I am putting Diabate on the roster now.
- At safety, I’m trying not to buy into Ronnie Hickman just because of his interception numbers in preseason games. I think the team still likes D’Anthony Bell, and we also have to remember that just because you waive a guy like Hickman, it doesn’t mean 31 other teams are going to be dying to claim him for their 53-man roster. Put him on the practice squad.
- At cornerback, after the first three corners, I don’t know if we learned a lot about this team’s depth. Cameron Mitchell makes it because he’s a draft pick, but is A.J. Green still valued as the fourth cornerback? And does Mike Ford still have a spot for his special teams contributors and experience?
- Cade York. Ugh. At the very least, he can make the 53-man roster initially, because there was no other kicker in camp. But we will see during the week how other team’s roster cuts are, and whether the Browns try to sign or claim a different kicker.
- Note: I have the option to update my 53-man projection if injury-related or other news comes out today, as far as counting my accuracy goes. I always try to aim for at least 49/53!
What Do You Think?
Feel free to share your roster projections here, or some changes you would make to mine.