Cleveland Browns: 2014 AFC Roster Projection

Cleveland Browns' projected roster

August, 29, 2014
8/29/14
10:00
AM ET
Examining the Cleveland Browns' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)

Grossman secured the third spot with the way he played against Chicago.

RUNNING BACKS (3)

It's impossible to ignore the way Crowell ran against the Bears. He looked quick, strong and topped 100 yards. If the Browns released him, they'd never get him back on the practice squad. He earned a spot.

FULLBACKS (2)

Gray is about as solidly on the bubble as any player on the team. His versatility should have helped him, but he did not play tremendously well in the preseason.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)

Not exactly a well-stocked group. Gabriel earned a spot with solid play. Snead earns it based on potential, but don't be surprised if his spot goes to someone who was cut by another team. Snead seems more like a practice squad candidate.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

The Browns are well-fortified with the three tight ends they have.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

A group that seems very settled.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (7)

Another unit that seems pretty well stocked.

LINEBACKERS (7)

The Browns could keep eight here and not keep Snead or Gray, except nobody really jumped out as an active pass-rushing type. So go with these seven.

CORNERBACKS (6)

The Browns will scan the waiver wire here, and may be as active trying to strengthen this spot as they will be at receiver. Depth is needed. Badly.

SAFETIES (4)

It's a toss-up for the fourth safety spot between Poyer and Josh Aubrey. I like Aubrey, but he could be practice squad eligible. The coaches also seem to like Poyer.

SPECIALISTS (3)

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

Cleveland Browns' projected roster

August, 25, 2014
8/25/14
9:40
AM ET
Examining the Cleveland Browns' roster:

Quarterbacks (3)

The old Tyler Thigpen experiment didn't go too well. Connor Shaw seems like a practice squad candidate.

Running backs (3)

Coach Mike Pettine said Dion Lewis has separated from the other players, but that it remains an open competition.

Fullbacks (2)

Gray can do things, but it's looking like he might make it as a hybrid tight end/fullback if he sticks.

Wide receivers (5)

We’ll assume that Josh Gordon is suspended. If he’s not, add him and remove Johnson. Taylor Gabriel and Marlon Moore opened eyes Saturday night with long kick returns. The road to a roster spot for either is through special teams.

Tight ends (3)

The Browns are well fortified with the three tight ends they have.

Offensive linemen (9)

Wallace has been impressive playing behind Thomas. The right guard competition between Gilkey and Greco seems to have turned solidly in Greco's favor.

Defensive linemen (7)

Bryant's wrist injury, which may need surgery, is troubling to a unit that started camp with good numbers. How that plays out will be interesting.

Linebackers (8)

Mingo has played consistently well. Martin has flashed in some practices. Sheard is a linebacker who will also play with his hand down. A sixth receiver would mean the Browns keep just seven linebackers, but if it's eight the decision comes down to Justin Staples or Diles.

Cornerbacks (6)

Gilbert had a terrible outing against the Rams. The hope is that he’ll use it as a learning experience, although the club is happy Skrine (thumb surgery) is expected back for the opener.

Safeties (4)

The Browns clearly were concerned about safety depth, so they signed 30-something Leonhard. That bumps Johnson Bademosi, an aggressive player who has made some mistakes. Poyer started in Gipson's absence and got a ton of reps. The coaches must like him. But Josh Aubrey is another guy playing well; if he forces his way on the team, the Browns might keep one less linebacker or fullback.

Specialists (3)

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

Cleveland Browns' projected roster

August, 18, 2014
8/18/14
8:00
AM ET
Examining the Cleveland Browns' roster:

Quarterbacks (3)

The old Tyler Thigpen experiment didn't go too well. Connor Shaw seems like a practice squad candidate.

Running backs (3)

There hasn't been an Isaiah Crowell sighting in days. Dion Lewis' fumble in Detroit won't help him. Ogbonnaya has great value on special teams, as his touchdown-saving tackle on a punt return showed.

Fullbacks (2)

Gray can do things, but it's looking like he may make it as a hybrid tight end/fullback if he sticks.

Wide receivers (5)

We’ll assume that Josh Gordon is suspended. If he’s not, add him and remove Johnson. Willie Snead made strides in practice, but needs to do better.

Tight ends (3)

The Browns are well fortified with the three tight ends they have.

Offensive linemen (9)

Wallace has been impressive playing behind Thomas. The right guard competition between Gilkey and Greco seems to have turned solidly in Greco's favor.

Defensive linemen (7)

Bryant's wrist injury, which may need surgery, is troubling to a unit that started camp with good numbers. How that plays out will be interesting.

Linebackers (8)

Mingo has played consistently well. Martin has flashed in some practices. Sheard is a linebacker who will also play with his hand down. A sixth receiver would mean the Browns keep just seven linebackers, but if it's eight the decision comes down to Justin Staples or Diles.

Cornerbacks (6)

Losing Skrine to his thumb injury is not good, but it does give Gilbert more time on the field. He has been the most impressive rookie on the team in camp.

Safeties (4)

The Browns clearly were concerned about safety depth, so they signed 30-something Leonhard. That bumps Johnson Bademosi, an aggressive player who has made some mistakes. Poyer started in Gipson's absence and got a ton of reps. The coaches must like him. But Josh Aubrey is another guy playing well; if he forces his way on the team, the Browns might keep one less linebacker or fullback.

Specialists (3)

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

Cleveland Browns' projected roster

August, 11, 2014
8/11/14
8:00
AM ET
Examining the Cleveland Browns' roster:

Quarterbacks (3)

I wonder if Warren Harding's election campaign in 1920 received one-tenth the coverage of Hoyer V. Manziel. Thigpen actually looked better in the game than he had in practice. Connor Shaw seems like a practice squad candidate.

Running backs (3)

There hasn't been an Isaiah Crowell sighting in days. Dion Lewis' fumble in Detroit won't help him. Ogbonnaya has great value on special teams, as his touchdown-saving tackle on a punt return showed.

Fullbacks (2)

Gray can do things.

Wide receivers (5)

We’ll assume that Josh Gordon is suspended. If he’s not, add him and remove Johnson. Willie Snead made strides in practice, but didn't in the game. He needs to do better.

Tight ends (3)

The Browns are well fortified with the three tight ends they have.

Offensive linemen (9)

Wallace has been impressive playing behind Thomas. The right guard competition between Gilkey and Greco seems to have turned solidly in Greco's favor.

Defensive linemen (7)

A 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)

Mingo has played consistently well. Martin has flashed in some practices. Sheard is a linebacker who will also play with his hand down. A sixth receiver would mean the Browns keep just seven linebackers, but if it's eight the decision comes down to Staples or Zac Diles.

Cornerbacks (6)

The most interesting competition remains between Skrine and Gilbert to see who starts opposite Haden. Gilbert has come on.

Safeties (4)

The Browns clearly were concerned about safety depth, so they signed 30-something Leonhard. That bumps Johnson Bademosi, an aggressive player who has made some mistakes. Poyer started in Gipson's absence and got a ton of reps. The coaches must like him.

Specialists (3)

No need to change anything here from last season, as all were strong and dependable contributors.
Examining the Cleveland Browns' roster:

Quarterbacks (3)

Hoyer and Manziel both got extensive looks in the first scrimmage. Hoyer has been consistent and sound, but Manziel showed in the scrimmage how he can make plays with his feet. The team gave Connor Shaw a look in the scrimmage, but he had two turnovers turn into touchdowns.

Running backs (3)

Tate and West are givens. Dion Lewis was a favorite of the team a year ago, but that was a year ago. Crowell ran some with the first team in the scrimmage, and it might be tough to bring him back to the practice squad if he's released.

Fullbacks (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 receivers (5)

Yes, I was wrong to think Benjamin might not make it. He's been getting serious practice reps in different spots. Count him in. We’ll assume that Josh Gordon is suspended. If he’s not, add him and remove Johnson. But don't sleep on Willie Snead, an undrafted free agent who has done some good things; he could force his way into the mix.

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 linemen (9)

I clearly read the Chris Faulk situation wrong. He's already been released. Wallace has been impressive playing behind Thomas. Jason Pinkston's sudden absence is concerning. Pinkston had issues with blood clots earlier in his career, but it's not known if this is a repeat. The right guard competition between Gilkey and Greco is turning interesting.

Defensive linemen (7)

A 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)

Mingo has played consistently well. Martin has flashed in some practices. Sheard is a linebacker who will also play with his hand down. A sixth receiver would mean the Browns keep just seven linebackers.

Cornerbacks (6)

The most interesting competition remains between Skrine and Gilbert to see who starts opposite Haden. Gilbert has come on.

Safeties (4)

The Browns clearly were concerned about safety depth, so they signed 30-something Leonhard. That bumps Johnson Bademosi, an aggressive player who has made some mistakes.

Specialists (3)

No need to change anything here from last season, as all were strong and dependable contributors.
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. Dion Lewis was a favorite of the team a year ago, but that was a year ago. This season's staff really is high on Crowell, and he's got a lot of early looks. It might be tough to bring him back to the practice squad if he's released.

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)

We’ll assume that Josh Gordon is suspended. If he’s not, add him and remove Armstrong. But don't sleep on Willie Snead, an undrafted free agent who has done some good things; he could force his way into the mix.

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)

Jason Pinkston's sudden absence is concerning, especially when Pettine merely said "possibly" when asked if he would be back. Pinkston had issues with blood clots earlier in his career, but it's not known if this is a repeat. 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)

Mingo showed a lot on the first day. He'll be given plenty of opportunities to play this season. Sheard is a linebacker who will also play with his hand down.

CORNERBACKS (6)

The most interesting competition remains Skrine and Gilbert to see who starts opposite Haden. Finding a cornerback who can play press-man coverage is vital in this defense, and Skrine showed up in excellent shape and has been very aggressive the first weekend.

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, and Gipson is the most underrated player on the team.

SPECIALISTS (3)

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

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