Cleveland Browns Roster 2013: Latest Cuts, Depth Charts and Analysis

Andrea Hangst@FBALL_AndreaFeatured Columnist IVAugust 26, 2013

Cleveland Browns Roster 2013: Latest Cuts, Depth Charts and Analysis

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    It's Week 4 of the preseason, which means it's the hardest period of time for many in the NFL—cut week. Teams must reduce their rosters to 75 players by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday and down to their 53-man, regular-season rosters by 6 p.m. ET on Saturday.

    As such, the Cleveland Browns have some difficult decisions to make.

    Here, we'll take a look at every player the Browns release, the depth charts that the cuts leave in their wake and who lands on the practice squad. 

53-Man Roster Cuts

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    The Browns have reduced their roster to 53 players after a round of cuts on Friday night and another on Saturday. Here are those players who have been released by the Browns:

    • OL Braxton Cave
    • WR Mike Edwards
    • TE Dan Gronkowski
    • DB Abdul Kanneh
    • RB Miguel Maysonet
    • DB Kent Richardson
    • P/K Colton Schmidt
    • OL Aaron Adams
    • DB Akeem Auguste
    • K Brandon Bogotay
    • LB Justin Cole
    • RB Jamaine Cook
    • DL Hall Davis
    • WR Tori Gurley
    • LB James-Michael Johnson
    • WR David Nelson
    • WR Naaman Roosevelt
    • DL Brian Sanford
    • DB Jamoris Slaughter
    • LB Justin Staples
    • K Shayne Graham

    According to a Sunday afternoon press release and confirmed by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the Browns have also parted ways with the following players:

    • RB Brandon Jackson
    • LB L.J. Fort
    • OL Caylin Hauptmann
    • OL Jarrod Shaw
    • FB Brad Smelley
    • TE Kellen Davis

    Among the surprises are the Browns' willingness to part with more running backs despite their thinness at the position, though their plans became more clear after the announcement of the signings of two more backs off of waivers.

    The fact that with both Brandon Bogotay and Shayne Graham gone, the Browns presently do not have a kicker on the roster. Clearly, this is something they'll pick up among the free agents who are rapidly becoming available.

    Linebacker James-Michael Johnson's release is a bit startling considering his strong preseason, but the switch from a 4-3 defensive front to 3-4 likely meant that the player simply didn't meet the scheme.

    Wide receiver David Nelson was hoped to be healthy enough to participate in training camp, at least partially. However, he only had one active game in the preseason as his 2012 knee injury took longer to heal than first expected. Without playing or practice time, the Browns couldn't use a roster spot on him despite how promising he had looked prior to the injury.

    Rookie safety Jamoris Slaughter seems to be a prime candidate for the practice squad; that's also where at least one of their released running backs could land as well. 

Previewing and Analyzing the Practice Squad

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    The Browns announced their practice squad on Monday morning. Of an allowed eight players, they have signed seven. Those players are as follows:

    • WR Jasper Collins
    • DB Kip Edwards
    • DB Darius Eubanks
    • DB Terrence Frederick
    • WR Tori Gurley
    • DB Julian Posey
    • DB Jamoris Slaughter

    Most interesting about this practice squad is that only two—Slaughter and Gurley—spent training camp with the Browns. The rest are external signings, which meshes with the roster changes the Browns have already made just two days into the process. 

Final Depth Chart

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    Here is what the Browns' depth chart looks like headed into Week 1 of the regular season:

    QB: Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, Brian Hoyer

    RB: Trent Richardson, Bobby Rainey, Dennis Johnson

    WR1: Josh Gordon, Travis Benjamin

    WR2: Greg Little, Davone Bess, Josh Cooper

    FB: Chris Ogbonnaya

    TE: Jordan Cameron, Gary Barnidge, MarQuies ray, Keavon Milton

    LT: Joe Thomas, Rashad Butler, Martin Wallace

    LG: John Greco, Jason Pinkston, Garrett Gilkey

    C: Alex Mack, Patrick Lewis

    RG: Shawn Lauvao

    RT: Mitchell Schwartz, Oniel Cousins

    LDE: Ahtyba Rubin, John Hughes

    NT: Phil Taylor, Ishmaa'ily Kitchen

    RDE: Desmond Bryant, Billy Winn, Armonty Bryant

    LOLB: Paul Kruger, Quentin Groves, Eric Martin

    LILB: Craig Robertson, Tank Carder

    RILB: D'Qwell Jackson, Brandon Magee

    ROLB: Jabaal Sheard, Barkevious Mingo, Paul Hazel

    LCB: Joe Haden, Leon McFadden

    RCB: Buster Skrine, Chris Owens

    SS: T.J. Ward, Johnson Bademosi, Josh Aubrey

    FS: Tashaun Gipson

    P: Spencer Lanning

    K: Billy Cundiff

    H: Spencer Lanning

    LS: Christian Yount, Billy Winn

    KR: Johnson Bademosi, Travis Benjamin, Buster Skrine

    PR: Travis Benjamin, Davone Bess, Josh Cooper, Mike Edwards, Naaman Roosevelt

Starters and Injury Notes

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    Because of the cuts that are looming, there's no guarantee that every player currently listed as a Browns starter will remain that way once the weekend is over.

    However, it's worth taking a look at who is atop Cleveland's depth chart and who is still working their way back from injuries.

    These are Pro Football Focus' (subscription required) starters for the Browns based on their Week 3 preseason lineup against the Indianapolis Colts. The Browns' official website does not list a depth chart at present. 

    Starters

    QB: Brandon Weeden

    RB: Trent Richardson

    WR1: Josh Gordon

    WR2: Greg Little

    TE: Jordan Cameron

    FB: Brad Smelley

    LT: Joe Thomas

    LG: John Greco

    C: Alex Mack

    RG: Oniel Cousins

    RT: Mitchell Schwartz

    LDE: Ahtyba Rubin

    NT: Phil Taylor

    RDE: Billy Winn

    LOLB: Paul Kruger

    LILB: D'Qwell Jackson

    RILB: Craig Robertson

    ROLB: Quentin Groves

    LCB: Joe Haden

    RCB: Buster Skrine

    FS: Tashaun Gipson

    SS: T.J. Ward

    K: Shayne Graham

    P: Spencer Lanning

    H: Spencer Lanning 

    LS: Christian Yount

    PR: Travis Benjamin

    KR: Johnson Bademosi

    Injury Notes

    With no official depth chart to work off of, it's already clear that some of these players are starters based on injury.

    Oniel Cousins started against the Colts at right guardwhere Garrett Gilkey has also seen timebecause of ankle injuries suffered by Jason Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao. 

    Lauvao will miss the first two or three regular-season games whereas Pinkston's status is uncertain.

    Elsewhere, linebacker Barkevious Mingo is out with a bruised lung, running back Dion Lewis is done for the year with a broken leg and The News-Herald's Jeff Schudel is reporting that tight end Jordan Cameron is day-to-day with a groin strain.

    Also day-to-day is outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard. Quentin Groves is the starter in his place. Desmond Bryant has been battling back spasms, which is why Billy Winn was a starter against the Colts.

1st Round of Roster Cuts

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    Teams must pare their rosters down from a maximum of 90 players to 75 by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday. As of now, after releasing six players, the Browns have 83 men on their roster.

    Though the team has made no formal announcement, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports that these cuts have been made:  

    • WR Jordan Norwood
    • CB Vernon Kearney
    • DE Dave Kruger
    • WR Cordell Roberson
    • ILB Tommy Smith

    Ulrich would later confirm that Norwood has been released.

    On Tuesday, the Browns reached their 75-man roster. According to the official release, they cut:

    • LB Kendrick Adams
    • OL Dominic Alford
    • WR Dominique Croom
    • DL Nicholas Jean-Baptiste
    • FB Owen Marecic
    • OL Ryan Miller
    • TE Travis Tannahill

    The Browns also placed running back Montario Hardesty on injured reserve and offensive lineman Chris Faulk on the reserve/non-football injury list.

    Cleveland also released cornerback Trevin Wade with an injury settlement, according to Brian McIntyre of Yahoo! Sports.

    The only surprise here is Norwood, who has missed a chunk of training camp and two preseason games with a hamstring injury. As Ulrich notes, Norwood's release could free up a roster spot for second-year receiver Josh Cooper. 

    Hardesty dodged a bullet by being placed on injured reserve rather than not being cut outright. Hardesty didn't participate much in training camp due to a hamstring injury; a knee procedure kept him out of the preseason. 

Depth Chart Post-75-Man Roster Cuts and Previewing 53-Man Roster Cuts

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    The Cleveland Browns do not have a depth chart currently on their official team website, so for our present purposes, we are going with the one detailed at Ourlads.com, adjusted for the team's recent cuts. 

    QB: Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, Brian Hoyer

    RB: Trent Richardson, Brandon Jackson, Miguel Maysonet, Jamaine Cook

    WR1: Josh Gordon, Travis Benjamin, David Nelson, Tori Gurley, Naaman Roosevelt

    WR2: Greg Little, Davone Bess, Josh Cooper, Mike Edwards

    FB: Chris Ogbonnaya, Brad Smelley

    TE: Jordan Cameron, Gary Barnidge, Kellen Davis, Dan Gronkowski, 

    LT: Joe Thomas, Rashad Butler, Martin Wallace

    LG: John Greco, Jason Pinkston, Garrett Gilkey

    C: Alex Mack, Jarrod Shaw, Braxton Cave

    RG: Shawn Lauvao, Aaron Adams, Caylin Hauptmann

    RT: Mitchell Schwartz, Oniel Cousins

    LDE: Ahtyba Rubin, John Hughes, Brian Sanford

    NT: Phil Taylor, Ishmaa'ily Kitchen

    RDE: Desmond Bryant, Billy Winn, Hall Davis, Armonty Bryant

    LOLB: Paul Kruger, Quentin Groves, Justin Staples

    LILB: Craig Robertson, Tank Carder, James-Michael Johnson, Justin Cole

    RILB: D'Qwell Jackson, L.J. Fort

    ROLB: Jabaal Sheard, Barkevious Mingo, Paul Hazel

    LCB: Joe Haden, Leon McFadden, Trevin Wade, Abdul Kanneh

    RCB: Buster Skrine, Chris Owens, Akeem Auguste

    SS: T.J. Ward, Johnson Bademosi, Josh Aubrey

    FS: Tashaun Gipson, Jamoris Slaughter, Kent Richardson

    P: Spencer Lanning, Colton Schmidt

    K: Shayne Graham, Brandon Bogotay

    H: Spencer Lanning, Colton Schmidt

    LS: Christian Yount, Billy Winn

    KR: Johnson Bademosi, Travis Benjamin, Buster Skrine, Naaman Roosevelt, Mike Edwards

    PR: Travis Benjamin, Davone Bess, Josh Cooper, Mike Edwards, Naaman Roosevelt

    Tori Gurley, Mike Edwards and Naaman Roosevelt are all candidates for release when the Browns reduce their roster to 53 men on Saturday. Free safety Kent Richardson, cornerback Abdul Kanneh and defensive ends Hall Davis and Armonty Bryant are also on the roster bubble.

Free Agents the Browns Have Signed or Are Rumored to Be Pursuing

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    The Browns finally have their kicker. Tom Withers of the Associated Press says the team has signed free agent Billy Cundiff.

    The Browns confirmed the signing of free agent linebacker Paul Hazel, via their website, who most recently played for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He is an undrafted rookie.

    Brian McIntyre of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Browns have claimed linebacker Eric Martin off of waivers from the New Orleans Saints.

    The Browns have confirmed the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's reports that the Browns have signed the following six players via waiver claims:

    • TE MarQuies Gray
    • TE Keavon Milton
    • RB Dennis Johnson
    • RB Bobby Rainey
    • OL Patrick Lewis
    • LB Brandon Magee

    Of these signings, Rainey is the most interesting. Upon Rainey's and Johnson's signings the Browns immediately parted ways with Brandon Jackson, and Rainey, a former Baltimore Raven, should take up the No. 2 job vacated by his release. 

    This is a roster very much in flux. The Browns have yet to sign a kicker, which means more roster moves are in the very immediate future.