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Friday, July 18, 2014
Cleveland Browns' projected roster

By Pat McManamon

Examining the Cleveland Browns' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)
If an alien landed from outer space, he or she would look at this list and think it’s a guy with three starts, a rookie and a veteran who didn’t play last season. Which is accurate. Thigpen did little to impress in the offseason work, but the Browns have to keep a third behind Hoyer and Manziel.

RUNNING BACKS (3)

Tate and West are givens. Lewis was a favorite of the team a year ago, but that was a year ago. He could be a third back (at the expense of a cornerback or fullback) if he has the kind of training camp he had in 2013. Isaiah Crowell appears to be a strong candidate for the practice squad.

FULLBACK (2)

By taking a quick look at Chris Pressley in the offseason and then releasing him, the Browns showed they don’t want a road grader at the position. By moving Gray there later, they confirmed that they want their fullback to be more active. Ogbonnaya is the kind of guy teams like and need. Smart, plays anywhere and contributes on special teams.

WIDE RECEIVER (5)

For these purposes, we’ll assume that Josh Gordon is suspended. If he’s not, add him and remove Armstrong. A casual glance at the list from the same alien who looked at the quarterbacks would indicate why many believe things are dire for the offense if/when Gordon is suspended. Look for one or two of the young receivers to be on the practice squad.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

Gray moved to fullback during the offseason, so we’ll assume he stays there. The Browns are well fortified with the three tight ends they have.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9)

If there is a 10th, Reid Fragel joins the group. The Browns have built an offensive line that is talented, deep and smart. They have a lot of money invested here, but they have some good players as well.

DEFENSIVE LINE (7)

Another deep group with a lot of talent. Coaches should be able to keep fresh linemen on the field, and keep active linemen playing.

LINEBACKERS (8)

The coaching staff has high hopes for Mingo, who figures to get a lot of time if Sheard moves to a down end position as frequently as Sheard said he would. Dansby missed a fair amount of the offeason, and the Browns have to hope for more from Kruger than they got a year ago after he signed his big contract.

CORNERBACKS (6)
Leon McFadden's brief Browns career could end after one season. The most interesting competition will be between Skrine and Gilbert to see who starts opposite Haden. Finding a cornerback who can play press-man coverage is vital in this defense.

SAFETY (4)

No big mysteries here, but Bademosi makes the team based on his value on special teams. Whitner seems to be a very good veteran addition.

SPECIALISTS (3)

No need to change anything here from last season, as all were strong and dependable contributors.