The Cleveland Browns continue to go young in their latest rebuild. Does that put defensive lineman Desmond Bryant on the veteran endangered list?
The Cleveland Browns have spent the better part of two years now working to create a young roster that, if everything goes according to plan, will grow together into a dominant presence.
That is evident across the roster, but no more so than along the defensive line. The Browns added Danny Shelton and Xavier Cooper in 2015, Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib and Tyrone Holmes in 2016, and Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi and Caleb Brantley in this year’s draft.
Along the way, the club has also purged itself of numerous veteran players — most notably those over the age of 30 – to the point where there are currently just four players on the roster who are 30 or older.
That quartet includes left tackle Joe Thomas and punter Britton Colquitt, who are not going anywhere, right guard John Greco, who may see his roster spot slipping away, and defensive lineman Desmond Bryant, who could be next in line to see his time in Cleveland come to an end.
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Bryant has been a solid, of unspectacular player, for the Browns since joining the team as an unrestricted free agent in 2013. He has made 41 starts for the Browns and totaled 14.4 sacks, not stellar numbers, but good enough for a team that has lacked a pass rush during his time in town.
His six sacks in 2015 was good enough to lead the team, which pretty much tells you all you need to know about Cleveland’s pass rush.
The nine-year veteran missed all of last season after suffering a torn pectoral muscle, however, and will be heading into training camp looking to grab what is quickly becoming a dwindling number of roster spots.
The Browns only kept eight defensive lineman on the 53-man roster when they broke training camp last year, and outside of an injury Shelton, Ogbah, Nassib, Garrett, Ogunjobi and Jamie Meder have roster spots locked up. If the Browns like what they see from Brantley, who they selected in the sixth round of this year’s draft, he will likely make the final roster as well.
So that is seven players right there, meaning that Bryant will be up against Cooper, Holmes and Nate Orchard – who is moving to defensive end in a bid to save his career — for what very well could be just one roster spot.
Bryant is not a bad player by any stretch and he has been a good person to have on the roster as he brings traits to the field that coaches like.
But the landscape is clearly changing on the Browns roster and Bryant could be caught up in a numbers game that does not favor him in any way.