December 18, 2014

Elyria
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Taking a stab at the Browns roster

This seems to be the trendy thing to do. NFL beat writers taking a guess at the regular-season 53-man roster while it stands at 80 with draft picks yet to be signed and training camp six weeks away.

I’ve had varying degrees of success predicting the final roster toward the end of training camp – never all 53 players correct – but I’m always up for a challenge. And because I spent a decent chunk of the last month watching the Browns practice, here goes.

The toughest decisions were the final couple of spots on the offensive line and at linebacker.

QUARTERBACK (3): Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy

Comment: Sorry, Brett Ratliff, they’re not keeping four.

RUNNING BACK (5): Jerome Harrison, Montario Hardesty, James Davis, Peyton Hillis, Lawrence Vickers

Comment: There’s no guarantee the Browns keep four tailbacks along with the fullback Vickers. Hillis could be the odd man out if he doesn’t find a role on special teams.

WIDE RECEIVER (5): Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie, Chansi Stuckey, Joshua Cribbs, Carlton Mitchell

Comment: Rookie free agent Johnathan Haggerty could earn a spot, especially if Cribbs is doing too much other stuff to be a part of the receiver rotation.

TIGHT END (3): Benjamin Watson, Alex Smith, Evan Moore

Comment: Robert Royal was supposed to be one of the key free-agent pickups last season, but had no impact and is out after one season.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8): Joe Thomas, Eric Steinbach, Alex Mack, Shawn Lauvao, Floyd Womack, Tony Pashos, Paul Fanaika, Scott Kooistra

Comment: The Browns have talent and depth across the line. John St. Clair loses out to youth.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6): Shaun Rogers, Ahtyba Rubin, Robaire Smith, Kenyon Coleman, Cliff Geathers, Brian Schaefering

Comment: Not much competition here. Veteran C.J. Mosley could stick if the Browns keep seven linemen.

LINEBACKER (9): Scott Fujita, Chris Gocong, D’Qwell Jackson, David Bowens, David Veikune, Kaluka Maiava, Jason Trusnik, Matt Roth, Blake Costanzo

Comment: More than a dozen guys have a chance to make the roster in what should be the most interesting battles. Fujita is guaranteed a spot, but beyond him anything’s possible. Marcus Benard, Eric Barton and Titus Brown could play their way onto the team.

CORNERBACK (7): Eric Wright, Sheldon Brown, Joe Haden, Mike Adams, Brandon McDonald, Coye Francies, DeAngelo Smith

Comment: The position was upgraded in the offseason. Francies, a 2009 draft pick, is vulnerable.

SAFETY (4): Abram Elam, T.J. Ward, Larry Asante, Nick Sorensen

Comment: Ray Ventrone could earn a spot based on his special teams play.

SPECIALISTS (3): Kicker Phil Dawson, punter Dave Zastudil, long snapper Ryan Pontbriand

Comment: If Zastudil’s knee isn’t healed, Reggie Hodges could stick around.

- Scott Petrak