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Johnny Manziel's elbow key to makeup of Browns' predicted roster

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The Cleveland Browns will have an unusual final 53-man roster. It appears the team will keep at least seven receivers; coach Mike Pettine said it could be eight. That’s a very high number. I’m predicting the team keeps only two quarterbacks as well — but that is based on Johnny Manziel being healthy. The Browns had 12 draft picks. Not all of them will make the team.

Here's a predicted 53-man roster coming out of the preseason and heading into Saturday's roster moves.:

QUARTERBACK (2)

Josh McCown

Johnny Manziel

This assumes Manziel’s elbow is OK. If so, he’s the backup and the Browns roll the dice with two quarterbacks. If not, the Browns have to figure a way to keep a third. Do not discount the possibility that they bring in a different No. 3 after cuts, especially if Matt McGloin is cut by the Raiders.

RUNNING BACK (3)

Terrance West

Isaiah Crowell

Duke Johnson

The coaching staff loves Shaun Draughn, but the Browns can make it work with these three backs.

FULLBACK (1)

Malcolm Johnson.

There are high hopes for this sixth-round pick. It's a projection due to the time Johnson missed with a shoulder injury.

TIGHT END (3)

Gary Barnidge

Jim Dray

E.J. Bibbs

Bibbs did too much right not to keep him. He’s a tight end who might be able to do something with the ball after the catch. Rob Housler just didn’t do enough to earn a spot.

WIDE RECEIVER (7)

Dwayne Bowe

Brian Hartline

Andrew Hawkins

Taylor Gabriel

Travis Benjamin

Marlon Moore

Terrelle Pryor

Vince Mayle is not included because he didn’t earn it. This is one negative on Ray Farmer’s drafting — in two of the best receiver drafts in a long time, he wound up with a slow guy who had trouble catching the ball. Pryor’s spot is based on a projection. If it went off what he did in preseason, he’d be cut. But the team sees potential in him, and playmaking, so they give him a chance. As for Bowe and not Josh Lenz, Bowe is guaranteed $9 million. That demands production from him. He stays.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)

Joe Thomas

Joel Bitonio

Alex Mack

John Greco

Mitchell Schwartz

Cameron Erving

Andrew McDonald

Vinston Painter

Coaches were impressed with the quiet professionalism and attitude of McDonald. Painter’s versatility gives him a spot. The starting five are solidly locked in.

DEFENSIVE LINE (8)

Randy Starks

Danny Shelton

Desmond Bryant

John Hughes

Xavier Cooper

Billy Winn

Jamie Meder

Armonty Bryant

Obviously I was wrong in assuming before camp opened that Phil Taylor would have a spot but Winn would not. Good for Winn for proving me wrong. Dylan Wynn did a lot right, but there’s a numbers game here and he just misses. Bryant’s versatility and playmaking ability earn him the final spot, though it’s at line and not linebacker.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (4)

Paul Kruger

Scott Solomon

Barkevious Mingo

Nate Orchard

Mingo’s fast recovery from knee surgery helps solidify the depth at this spot. Solomon had a strong third preseason game.

INSIDE LINEBACKER (3)

Karlos Dansby

Craig Robertson

Chris Kirksey

Not much debate needed here. These are all quality players. Rookie Hayes Pullard heads to the practice squad. One caveat: The Browns' backup offensive line hardly distinguished itself all preseason. If the team decides to keep seven instead of eight, a spot opens up here for Tank Carder.

CORNERBACK (6)

Joe Haden

Tramon Williams

K'Waun Williams

Justin Gilbert

Pierre Desir

Charles Gaines

The Browns won’t give up on Gilbert this early. But they need to see him contribute more. K’Waun Williams is a quality player, but he also seems injury-prone. That must be a concern. Gaines improved every day of camp and preseason.

SAFETY (5)

Tashaun Gipson

Donte Whitner

Johnson Bademosi

Ibraheim Campbell

Jordan Poyer

Campbell was very impressive. He has a future if he continues to grow. Bademosi makes it for his special-teams ability.

SPECIALIST (3)

Travis Coons

Andy Lee

Charley Hughlett

Coons won the preseason competition with Carey Spear to be the place-kicker, but the Browns will take a long look at any veterans released in final cuts. Lee will be one of the team’s most important weapons as the punter.