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Browns 53-man roster: One move fixes multiple problems with projection

A small trade for Cordarrelle Patterson fixes needs, opens up options

Cleveland Browns v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns have a great set of starters and a very solid roster overall but have a couple of concerns that need to be addressed. Specifically, there are questions related to the team’s backup running back spot, returner and kicker.

Cade York’s issues have been kicked (pun intended) around by everyone and their brother, sister, cousin, mother, father, grandpappy and even the family pets.

It is the other two issues that really jump out when looking at Chris Pokorny’s Browns 53-man projection.

Based on that projection, Demetric Felton is the Browns third-string running back behind Nick Chubb and Jerome Ford. The problem is that Ford is injured and may not be available in Week 1 leaving Felton to be the team’s primary backup to Chubb.

While the UCLA product has had moments of exciting plays, he has struggled in pass protection and when getting rushing attempts. Relying on Felton for an important number of snaps against the Cincinnati Bengals is too risky for a team that wants to start off fast and has playoff aspirations (requirements?) this season.

Based on the roster, Felton, Ford or Donovan Peoples-Jones would be the team’s primary returner right now. Felton dances a lot as a returner, Ford is injured and DPJ is the team’s starting outside receiver alongside Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore.

Not really good options, overall, for a returner with the current projection.

Enter GM Andrew Berry and a simple trade for RB/WR/KR/PR Cordarrelle Patterson of the Atlanta Falcons.

We covered Patterson as a trade target earlier this offseason but Cleveland’s need is even greater now. Drafted as a wide receiver, the 32-year-old has reinvented himself as a running back the last few seasons. Last year, in just 13 games, Patterson had 144 carries for just under 700 yards and eight rushing touchdowns. He also added 21 receptions.

In 2021, the versatile Patterson had the most productive year of his career with 153 carries for 618 yards and six rushing touchdowns on top of 52 receptions for 548 yards and five touchdowns.

While Patterson has rarely returned punts, he has been a prolific kick returner with nine touchdowns including one last season.

Given his age and contract, Patterson is a cut candidate with the Atlanta Falcons. Going young, the Falcons have already replaced Patterson in the backfield and have options at receiver. For Cleveland, waiting for Patterson to be cut could lead to a bidding war or the versatile player to look for an option where he could be more featured.

A small trade, sixth-round pick or some kind of pick swap, could give the Browns a perfect back running back and kick returner for a relatively cheap price. The trade of Josh Dobbs opened up $2 million in cap space that the team was not expecting to have this season.

Patterson would take Felton’s spot on the roster but could also open up other options. If Austin Watkins isn’t in the team’s plans, the Browns could go with five receivers knowing that Patterson could help out there as well. That could allow another young player to make the team instead.

Looking at Pokorny’s projection, finding a kicker would be nice but the need at running back and returner could be fixed with a Patterson trade.

Given his salary and the idea of trading a late draft pick for him (and based on this roster projection), do you think Patterson is the right fit for the Browns need?