Running Back (3): Nick Chubb, Dontrell Hilliard, D’Ernest Johnson
Throughout the offseason, there’s been some discussion about the Browns running back corps. Duke Johnson asked to be traded and then sat out of the voluntary OTAs while waiting for the team to grant him that request. The GM and head coach each came out and said they had a role for Johnson, but he remained adamant about wanting to play elsewhere.
Just before the first preseason game, Cleveland finally gave in and sent Johnson to the Houston Texans in exchange for what could wind up being a fourth-round pick. With him gone, Dontrell Hilliard will step up as the No. 2 back on the roster — at least for the first eight games.
Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb will likely split time once Hunt’s suspension is over, but when the season begins, the former NFL rushing leader won’t count as a roster space as he will be on the suspended/reserve list.
Chubb enters this season looking to build upon a rookie campaign that saw him go for 996 yards and eight touchdowns. The second-round pick out of Georgia proved to be one of the best young backs in the game and has no problem carrying the load.
The third spot goes to D’Ernest Johnson, who has yet to get into a regular-season NFL game. He will have the first half of the season to try and prove he should remain on the roster once Hunt returns, but that’s a rather stacked backfield for him to try and crack.