Now that the 2021 NFL Draft has concluded for the Cleveland Browns, 53-man rosters spots may be coming at a premium.
GM Andrew Berry filled many of their needs with draft picks such as Greg Newsome and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. But he also brought in some depth with players such as Tony Fields II and Anthony Schwartz.
With all those additions being made, we take a look at five current Browns players who may have to fend off some incoming rookies.
1. Mack Wilson, LB
Mack Wilson was probably the least impressive linebacker on the 2020 Browns in a linebacker room that was collectively pretty unimpressive. Wilson is a John Dorsey regime pick and will likely be the first linebacker out with his inability to play special teams.
Unless he outshines Elijah Lee, Malcolm Smith, and Anthony Walker who were all signed by the current regime, his path to a roster spot seems a lot like a hobbits path to Mordor.
2. Sheldrick Redwine, FS
Another John Dorsey pick, Sheldrick Redwine has been a serviceable player for the Browns but wasn’t able to force Andrew Sendejo or Karl Joseph off the field permanently last season. With the Browns taking two very versatile linebackers in Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Tony Fields, Redwine may be on the outside looking in.
3. Sione Takitaki, LB
Sione Takitaki’s pick-6 on Big Ben may have made him a Cleveland fan favorite but it may not be enough to keep him on the 53-man roster. Takitaki is a great run defender but this new Browns regime seems to value linebackers who can cover sideline to sideline. In a crowded linebacker room who just added to hybrids over draft weekend, Takitaki may be on the outside looking in.
Takitaki, Wilson, and Redwine all have the same problems of being past regime draft picks as well as not having the versatility the new regime is looking for.
New players like John Johnson, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Tony Fields, and an injured reserve return, Grant Delpit can bring more to the table than these three. They also don’t have the advantage of being re-signed by Andrew Berry like Malcolm Smith and Elijah Lee.
4. KhaDarel Hodge, WR
KhaDarel Hodge played well when he saw the field in 2020, but he is still at least fourth or fifth on the WR depth chart. With Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, and Rashard Higgins fermented as the top-3 receivers, there is some play to be the fourth but Donovan Peoples-Jones was also an Andrew Berry draft pick who played exceptionally well as a sixth-round rookie in 2020. They may see Peoples-Jones ceiling as higher than Hodges and with Anthony Schwartz being drafted, Hodge could be on the way out.
5. Jojo Natson, Wide Receiver
Jojo Natson is already working at a disadvantage because of his injury, and the coaching staff not getting to see what he could do for their special teams. He was re-signed for the 2021 season but that was before they took Demetric Felton in the sixth round of this year’s draft.
Felton has the skills to be a returner as well as contribute to the offense. The coaching staff could see Felton’s versatility as a plus and show Natson the door.
Nobody enjoys seeing people lose their jobs but the Browns have a very deep roster which means just because you lose your job doesn’t mean you won’t have one somewhere else. These players who could be on the bubble will be able to find roles on other teams.
Welcome to the new world order where you might just not be good enough to make the second or third-string on the Cleveland Browns.
It’s a beautiful world and Browns fans should hope we have to cut good players for years to come.