Oct 20, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; A Cleveland Browns helmet sits on the field during warmups prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Projecting the Cleveland Browns 53 Man Roster

Training Camp is just opening and 90 players will walk through the doors of Berea with hopes of being Cleveland Browns on Opening Day. Yet only 53 of those players will make the squad, with a few going on to the practice squad. With the way the team is setup it also won’t be a surprise for a few transactions after the 53 man roster is made official. The Browns are likely to pick up a player or two cut from other teams to give the team a better balance of youth and experience. Lets take a look at last year’s 53 man roster after cutdown day:

Offense Defense/ST
Quarterbacks – 3 D-Line – 7
Brandon Weeden Desmond Bryant
Brian Hoyer Phil Taylor
Jason Campbell Ahtyba Rubin
Billy Winn
Running Backs – 3 John Hughes
Trent Richardson Ishmaa’ily Kitchen
Brandon Jackson Armonty Bryant
Chris Ogbonnaya
  Linebackers – 10
Wide Receivers – 4 Jabaal Sheard
Greg Little Craig Robertson
Davone Bess D’Qwell Jackson
Travis Benjamin Paul Kruger
Josh Cooper Barkevious Mingo
Josh Gordon (SUSP) Quentin Groves
L.J. Fort
Tight Ends – 4 Tank Carder
Jordan Cameron Paul Hazel
Gary Barnidge Eric Martin
Kellen Davis
Brad Smelley Safeties – 4
T.J. Ward
Offensive Line – 12 Tashaun Gipson
Joe Thomas Johnson Bademosi
John Greco Josh Aubrey
Alex Mack
Jason Pinkston Corners – 4
Mitchell Schwartz Joe Haden
Shaun Lauvao Buster Skrine
Rashad Butler Chris Owens
Garrett Gilkey Leon McFadden
Oniel Cousins
Jarrod Shaw Special Teams – 2
Caylin Hauptmann Spencer Lanning
Martin Wallace Christian Yount

Just looking at that list shows you how flexible and how much change happens from the first 53 man roster. The Browns didn’t even have a kicker on their roster before the first game. What is important is the number of players kept at each position. The Browns obviously valued the offensive line and defensive front 7 in the last regime. What can we learn from Mike Pettine’s Buffalo Bills defense from last year and what he might value for the upcoming season:

The Bills opened the season with 8 defensive linemen, 6 linebackers, 6 safeties and 6 cornerbacks. Needless to say the Bills prioritized the secondary compared to the Browns a year ago. The Browns had a total of 8 players in the secondary compared to the Bills 12. The Browns had 4 more linebackers showing how important that position was to the previous regime. It is likely to say that if Pettine and Ray Farmer are breaking ties on the defensive side of the ball, the secondary will win those ties. Lets take a look at how ESPN projected the Browns final roster numbers to look like and a few surprises:

Quarterbacks – 3
Running Backs – 5
Wide Receivers – 5
Tight Ends – 3
Offensive Line – 9
D-Line – 7
Linebackers – 8
Corners – 6
Safeties – 4
Special Teams – 3

Pat McManamon adjusted the roster compared to last year’s numbers. The offensive line is less 3 players with more running backs filling in the offense. He, like most, doesn’t include Josh Gordon in his numbers as we all expect him to be suspended. He has Tyler Thigpen beating out Connor Shaw for the 3rd QB spot which is a coin flip at this time. Dion Lewis over Isaiah Crowell, who he expects to make it to the practice squad, was another surprise on the offensive side of the ball. The big surprise on the defensive side is Leon McFadden not making the squad after 1 year with the team. The additions of Justin Gilbert and Pierre Desir in the draft could seal his fate, as well as his smaller size.

McManamon’s roster is a good projection for the final 53 man. Yet expect Crowell to fight hard for a spot on the team and another young player to come out of nowhere to be the camp sensation. Ben Gay and Dion Lewis have both been such from the running back position in the past. The final 53 man roster is surely not the roster that will start Week 1, much less Week 17. Need proof? Take a look back at the Browns 53 man from last year.

How do you think Pettine and Farmer will choose the final 53 man roster? 

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