This isn’t a question of how far the Browns have come in the three years Tom Heckert has been building the roster. The 53 men who will start the Week 1 preparation for the Cleveland Browns will play a large part in determining what future owner Jimmy Haslem will do with the team.
I am going to use the playmaker grading system to determine how the Browns' 53 stacks up to the rest of the NFL.
The word "potential" sums up the group on offense with so much youth in key positions. The quarterback Brandon Weeden leads off the youth movement in terms of NFL experience, followed by Trent Richardson, Mitchell Schwartz, Josh Gordon, and Travis Benjamin.
The Grade: C
The defense has been hit by injuries and suspensions, which hurt the grade for this part of the roster. The unit has a good mix of veterans and rookies, which should add speed to a slow defense from last year.
The good news for the defense is it has at least one playmaker at every level. The defensive line has Jabal Sheard and Rubin, the linebacker group has D’Qwell Jackson, and the secondary has Joe Haden.
The Grade: C+
The special teams unit has normally been a strength for the Browns since they have come back, but last season not so much. Joshua Cribbs only had one return for a touchdown, the long snapper was cut, and the punter was lost for the season on the first day of training camp.
The 2012 preseason didn’t inspire a lot of confidence either, with two blocked punts. The strength of this group is they have some of the best players in the NFL at kicker in Phil Dawson, returner Cribbs, and punter Reggie Hodges. The problem for the special teams is the 15 rookies on the 53-man roster, most, if active on gameday, will play on special teams.
The Grade: C
The Full Roster:
The overall roster gets a grade of C for the low number of playmakers.
The Browns have too many questions at the key playmaker positions to get a high grade on the Week 1 53-man roster. If some of the young players turn into playmakers during the season, then the grade could change drastically.
Let's take a look at the player by player breakdown.