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Browns first depth chart of the regular season identifies expected returners

Despite the addition of Pierre Strong Jr., last year’s returners return to their roles

Washington Commanders v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

When the Cleveland Browns take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1 of the NFL regular season, a lot of changes can be found on both rosters. We reviewed where the Bengals stand after trading out defenders for offensive line help this offseason.

For Browns fans, excitement pours over about the additions to the defensive line to go along with more weapons for the offense. For the second year in a row, an injury to Jakeem Grant has once again thrown the return game up in the air.

Cleveland acquired RB Pierre Strong Jr. in a trade partly due to his return skills. Despite that, and perhaps due to a limited amount of time with the team, Donovan Peoples-Jones will once again be the team’s punt returner while Jerome Ford will return kicks, according to the team’s first depth chart of the season.

While the Browns have more receivers than last year, risking their #2 (DPJ) on punts is dangerous. Ford is also the team’s primary backup running back. A lot of risk for a phase of the game that rules have tried to take out.

The rest of the first depth chart is mostly what is expected except for Jordan Elliott still listed as a starter over Shelby Harris and Alex Wright not being listed as injured:

As a reminder, practice squad players (like OL Michael Dunn and QB PJ Walker) are not listed on depth charts.

What do you think about the Browns risking DPJ and Ford, given their roles on offense, as returners? Any other thoughts about the team’s first depth chart?