The roster seems to be in a much better place than what it was the previous season. Both the offense and defense sides of the ball have seen quality upgrades whether that is the wide receiver room or the interior defensive line.
Here are the two takeaways from the 53-man roster for the Browns:
UDFA’s making the team is a recurring theme
Kudos to the Cleveland Browns scouting department. When it comes to finding undrafted players, Cleveland tends to find the diamond in the rough. In back-to-back years, at least one undrafted free agent makes the roster.
Last year it was safety D’Anthony Bell, this year it is safety Ronnie Hickman & linebacker Mohamoud Diabate. Diabate and Hickman were considered long shots to make the roster but due to solid performances in both camp & preseason, they were able to find a way onto the 53.
Diabate really turned heads with his performance throughout and it was evident. Whether it was forcing a safety with an exceptional tackle in the backfield or forcing a turnover it’s pretty apparent how talented Diabate is.
LB Mohamoud Diabate (43) continues to pop for Cleveland.— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) August 18, 2023
UDFA from Utah has been a positive at camp — plays like this will earn him snaps when it counts. pic.twitter.com/WdF22XUr8u
Cleveland Browns LB Mohamoud Diabate had an impressive outing vs the Eagles. 6 tackles, 2 hurries, & a forced fumble.— Full-Time Dame (@DP_NFL) August 20, 2023
This play resulted in a safety. Great recognition and trigger downhill to create backfield penetration. #DawgPound pic.twitter.com/R27BxB1OO4
Diabate talked about what it meant to make the roster and it’s safe to say he is grateful to be on the roster and has a positive mindset:
#Browns LB Mohamoud Diabate shared his current mindset:— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) August 30, 2023
"You do a good play, forget about it. Next play. You do a bad play, forget about it. Next play. So that's been my mindset. I've already forgot about the preseason. As far as I know, I didn't make any plays this year yet." pic.twitter.com/CbWYLmIOp2
As for Hickman, he showed off his ball skills early on in preseason tilts against the Washington Commanders & Philadelphia Eagles
Hickman talked about how he felt anxious but he felt he did what he could do. He did enough and it earned him a spot on the 53.
#Browns S Ronnie Hickman said he was laying in bed when he got the call he made the 53.— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) August 30, 2023
Said he was anxious but "I felt like I did what I could...it was no longer in my control." pic.twitter.com/a5n52yH3CY
Both Hickman and Diabate will not see significant snaps on defense but both are expected to contribute on special teams for this team. The Browns scouting department deserves credit for finding these gems.
GM Andrew Berry shows his willingness to part ways with draft picks, and believes this roster is capable of big things
One of the main criticisms surrounding general manager Andrew Berry is his unwillingness to part ways with draft picks that turn out to be whiffs.
So much for that.
Four players from the 2021 Draft Class are no longer on the team: wide receiver Anthony Schwartz, defensive tackle Tommy Togiai, running back Demetric Felton and safety Richard Lecounte.
As for the 2022 Draft class, defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey and kicker Cade York are also gone. Berry knows that this roster is talented enough to compete with the best of the best in the AFC. Willing to move off draft picks shows Berry is serious about the vision he has for this team.
Cleveland has a top 10 roster in the NFL, and now that roster has to come together in order to achieve the ultimate goal that they have.