By 4 p.m. Tuesday, the Browns roster will have been trimmed down from its training camp limit of 90 to the regular season max of 53. That won’t be the 53 players who likely will comprise the roster when they open the season on Sept. 10 against the Cincinnati Bengals, but it’ll be somewhat close.
Twice before, an attempt has been made at guessing what that 53-man roster will look like by the deadline. There was one made coming out of the offseason program, and another going into the final week of the preseason.
This isn’t a projection. This is a real-time look at the roster as it undergoes a transformation from the 70 or so who remained on it by the end of business on Monday to the 53 who will be there by the end of business Tuesday.
This will be updated as it goes along. Also understand, it’s only the initial 53, and most likely will not be what it looks like by 4 p.m. Wednesday, let alone the opener.
With each position group will be updated analysis throughout the day as each one comes together. Some of it isn’t very complicated, because there’s not much complicating matters, while others is made much more tricky because of potential trades or moves due to injury.
Anyways, keep checking back here throughout the day as this progresses into its final form.
Total for roster, as of 4 p.m. Monday: 72
On the roster: Deshaun Watson, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Kellen Mond
Didn’t make it: Joshua Dobbs (traded to Arizona Aug. 24)
The decision ultimately comes down to whether or not they want to keep Kellen Mond. It seems like there’s a strong wind blowing toward sticking with two quarterbacks on the active roster, and then possibly having one (Mond?) on the practice squad.
Running backs (6)
On the roster: Nick Chubb, Jerome Ford, Pierre Strong Jr., Demetric Felton Jr., John Kelly Jr., Hassan Hall
Didn’t make it: Jordan Wilkins (contract terminated)
The trade Sunday for Strong answers the question about what back who wasn’t on the roster at the start of training camp will be on it at the start of the regular season. With Ford, the question is about the hamstring and whether or not it will require time on injured reserve. With Chubb, there are no questions. With Felton, Kelly and Hall, the question is if any of them will make it past 4 p.m.
Tight ends (4)
On the roster: David Njoku, Jordan Akins, Harrison Bryant, Zaire Mitchell-Paden
Didn’t make it: Miller Forristall (waived), Thomas Greaney (waived)
Njoku showed in the preseason that last season’s breakthrough when he was healthy wasn’t a fluke. Akins has just been reliable, which is what they expected when they signed Watson’s former Houston Texans teammate. Bryant has been absent for some time with what is only being described as a “medical condition.” What impact that has on his status, or Mitchell-Paden’s, will be at least partially revealed by 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Wide receivers (10)
On the roster: Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cedric Tillman, David Bell, Marquise Goodwin, Austin Watkins Jr., Jaelon Darden, Mike Harley Jr., Michael Woods II,
Injured reserve: Jakeem Grant Sr. (ruptured patellar)
Didn’t make it: Anthony Schwartz (waived with injury designation), Jalen Wayne (waived)
The fans who let the performance of a former third-round draft pick trigger them like he was the No. 3 overall pick got their wish Sunday when Schwartz was waved with an injury designation. Grant’s ruptured patellar answers one question about his status for the roster, but leaves open questions about the return game. After Cooper, Moore, Peoples-Jones, Tillman, Bell and now Goodwin, who has to be on the roster before going on injured reserve as he works back into football shape from his blood clots, there’s questions about the decisions to be made. Do they keep seven receivers so they guarantee Watkins is on the roster? What about Darden, who has return skills that have previously put him in the top 10 in the league. Woods is currently on the active, but on the non-football injury list. So, that’s likely where he’s heading again, but it’s not been announced yet.
Interior offensive linemen (5)
On the roster: Joel Bitonio, Wyatt Teller, Ethan Pocic, Nick Harris, Luke Wypler
Didn’t make it: Michael Dunn (reportedly), Wes Martin (contract terminated), Drew Forbes (reserve/non-football illness), Colby Gossett (contract terminated)
The first four were never in doubt. Michael Dunn seemed like he was a lock to be the fifth until he was reportedly cut Monday. However, there seems to be a sense that the move was more procedural to help fit someone else on the initial 53, and that Dunn could be back sooner rather than later. Wypler felt like the question mark until that move, plus decisions to terminate Wes Martin and Colby Gossett’s contracts. He’s worked at guard in the final three preseason games, trying to provide some positional versatility that he didn’t have coming out of Ohio State as strictly a center.
Offensive tackles (4)
On the roster: Jedrick Wills Jr., Jack Conklin, James Hudson III, Dawand Jones
Didn’t make it: Tyrone Wheatley Jr. (traded to New England), Derrick Kelly II (waived)
That was always going to be the list. Wheatley spent part of training camp pushing to be considered as the fifth tackle. However, he’s now in New England after being traded for Strong.
Total on offense: 32, as of 4 p.m. Monday
Defensive ends (9)
On the roster: Myles Garrett, Za’Darius Smith, Ogbo Okoronkwo, Isaiah McGuire, Isaiah Thomas (injured), Alex Wright (injured), Lonnie Phelps, Jeremiah Martin, Sam Kamara
Didn’t make it: Chuck Wiley (waived)
The injuries to Wright and Thomas make this more challenging. They both have to start on the 53-man roster if they want to be able to come off it and play again this season. So how is that managed with the first iteration of the roster.
Defensive tackles (7)
On the roster: Dalvin Tomlinson, Shelby Harris, Maurice Hurst II, Siaki Ika, Jordan Elliott, Trysten Hill, Tommy Togiai
Didn’t make it: N/A
The question isn’t due to players needing a roster spot in order to go on IR. The question is due to the concerns that have surrounded this position group for the last year-plus. It feels like the first five could be OK in the end, but Elliott’s facing a critical prove-it year.
On the roster: Anthony Walker Jr., Sione Takitaki, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Jordan Kunaszyk, Tony Fields II, Mohamoud Diabate, Matthew Adams, Charles Thomas III
Injured reserve: Jacob Phillips (torn pectoral muscle)
Didn’t make it: Cam Bright (waived)
Walker and Takitaki didn’t play a snap in any of the four preseason games. That’s irrelevant to the fact those two, seen as clear defensive leaders, are expected to play in the opener. Owusu-Koramoah played in the two preseason games the rest of the starters did, so he’s worked his way back from last year’s foot injury. Kunaszyk’s knee injury in the preseason finale won’t change the fact he is on the initial 53, just whether he then gets place on IR. Fields had a strong preseason and is a more than capable special-teams contributor. So, too, is Adams, who was hand-picked by special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone during free agency. Diabate, meanwhile, has been the training camp defensive standout. So, where’s the cutoff point?
On the roster: Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome II, Martin Emerson Jr., A.J. Green III, Mike Ford Jr., Cameron Mitchell, Lorenzo Burns
Didn’t make it: Chris Westry (waived), Caleb Biggers (waived), Gavin Heslop (waived)
Injuries have created the most questions around this group. It’s felt like from the start there would be six cornerbacks kept. The questions concern Ward’s concussion, Mitchell’s shoulder and whatever is ailing Ford, who was shaken up in last Thursday’s practice during a collision. Those questions won’t keep any from being left off the 53-man roster.
On the roster: Juan Thornhill, Grant Delpit, Rodney McLeod, D’Anthony Bell, Ronnie Hickman Jr., Tanner McCalister
Didn’t make it: Nate Meadors (waived)
Four or five? Regardless, it feels like the fourth and/or fifth safety will come from the group of Bell, Ronnie Hickman Jr. and Tanner McCalister. Bell is the holdover from last year. However, Hickman has been a preseason star and it feels like McCalister is just getting slept on by some outside of the team’s facility. So, insert shrug emoji?
Total for defense: 37
On the roster: Dustin Hopkins (trade from Los Angeles Chargers, Aug. 28), Corey Bojorquez, Charley Hughlett
Didn’t make it: Cade York (waived)
General manager Andrew Berry didn’t wait for other teams to cut their kicker to hope he gets the one he wants off waivers. He went out on Monday and acquired the veteran Hopkins for a 2025 seventh-round pick. York, on whom the Browns pinned their hopes and a 2022 fourth-round pick, was told Monday his time in Cleveland was though. And so yet another season heads toward the starting gate and the Browns are hopeful this time their kicking savior has arrived.
Chris Easterling can be reached at email@example.com. Read more about the Browns at www.beaconjournal.com/sports/browns. Follow him on Twitter at @ceasterlingABJ
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Cleveland Browns initial 53-man roster tracker/analysis: Live updates