4 Browns who could earn a roster spot in preseason Week 3

Browns, Johnny Stanton. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Browns, Johnny Stanton. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /
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Browns, Curtis Weaver. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: Curtis Weaver

There’s no room for Curtis Weaver on the roster. Yet, one great game from Weaver might force the Browns to make room.

As a guess, the Browns might normally target nine defensive linemen (including five defensive ends), six linebackers and ten defensive backs. Because Cleveland plays two linebackers often, they may go with six linebackers or even five if they think they can stash the right backups on the practice squad (i.e., if they believe the players they want will clear waivers and will sign with them as practice squad players rather than jump to another team).

One way or the other the Browns may find a way to add an additional defensive end. Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney, Chase Winovich plus third round pick Alex Wright and seventh round pick Isaiah Thomas have guaranteed contracts and have to make the team. Weaver won’t displace any of them unless it is an injury situation. That’s five defensive ends, and normally the end of the story.

However, this spring he has played very well. His grade from Pro Football Focus is 72.3 in 78 snaps. The sheer volume of snaps he has received indicates the Browns are serious about him. Pass rushing defensive ends do not grow on trees. So, how do they fit him on the roster? They might have to go short at defensive tackle or try to hide someone on the practice squad if they believe he can clear waivers.

This is a rather impolite question, how many DTs do they need to protect? The answer might be as low as three, and if so, the others could be stashed on the practice squad. That would allow a sixth defensive end to be kept on the 53-player roster. They would be less likely to be able to clear Weaver through waivers, is the guess here.

There are a few other players who are battling hamstring issues that may be long-term and require them to go on injured reserve for a while. What we don’t want to see is the player say, “Oh, I think I’m okay, coach!” and then have him aggravate the injury chasing Baker Mayfield in Carolina next month.

Let’s not mention any names, but you readers understand the issue and know the players involved. One way or the other, it seems like there can be a spot created for Weaver, who is finally healthy and ready to chase down quarterbacks for a living.

Weaver was a fifth-round pick of the Dolphins after a sensational career at Boise State where he sacked everyone except for the hot dog vendors. He had 34 career sacks in 35 games, with 47.5 tackles for loss in three seasons.

However, in training camp, he broke a sesamoid bone (a small bone that has to do with guiding the tendons) in his big toe, which prompted the Dolphins to waive him with an injury designation. The Browns were willing to take a chance on him. Surgery has corrected the problem and gotten him back on the playing field.

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