Browns Players Who Need Impressive Camp to Avoid Being Cut

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2021

Browns Players Who Need Impressive Camp to Avoid Being Cut

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    The Cleveland Browns are going to have a hard time cutting the 2021 roster down to 53 this season. With several key additions in the draft and free agency joining a talented roster, some tough decisions are going to be made. 

    With a roster this talented, some of those decisions will be made in training camp. 

    Those who stand out will be given the opportunity to compete on a team that has serious playoff aspirations. But some talented players will ultimately be free to pursue employment with other teams. 

    It's important to note that while general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski found success in 2020, this is still a rebuild that's in progress. Some players were played out of necessity last year but may not have a spot this season.

    Here's a look at a few names who are going to have to impress right away when the team descends upon Berea. 

CB M.J. Stewart

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    No position on the roster is going to look more different for the Browns in 2021 than cornerback. Case in point, M.J. Stewart. 

    The 25-year-old was forced into major playing time in the final regular-season game against Pittsburgh and registered 10 tackles in the team's first playoff game. Now, he could be fighting for a roster spot. 

    That's because the Browns invested heavily in the position. The addition of Greg Newsome II in the draft along with Troy Hill in free agency and the return of Greedy Williams from injury puts three new faces for Stewart to compete with this year. 

    Stewart was OK in his limited time at corner last season. He held opposing passers to an 86.3 passer rating when targeted but gave up ratings of over 100 in each of his first two seasons with Tampa Bay

    With the new blood and the presence of A.J. Green who could have untapped potential as a project, the Browns may not find a need for Stewart's services unless he comes out on fire in camp. 

LB Mack Wilson

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    Another instance of an upgrading defense potentially leaving a contributor behind here. Mack Wilson went from starting 14 games and playing 89 percent of the snaps in 2019 to starting eight games and playing 35 percent of the snaps in 2020. 

    Given the competition that has been added at linebacker and his dwindling role with a front office and coaching staff that didn't draft him, he should be prepared to fight for his roster spot in camp. 

    The arrival of second-round pick Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah should be especially concerning for Wilson. The Alabama product has mostly played weakside linebacker and has struggled in coverage. Owusu-Koramoah plays the same position and spent time as Notre Dame's nickel cornerback last season. 

    Wilson doesn't have a special teams resume to fall back on either. He wasn't really involved with any of the special teams in 2020, and if he is out of the team's linebacker rotation he could be taking up a spot for someone who is going to play that role. 

    He'll need to prove his level of play can still be elevated in his third season. 

S Sheldrick Redwine

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    Sheldrick Redwine is another product of the John Dorsey era in Cleveland. Just like Mack Wilson, he saw his role reduced from 2019 to 2020. 

    The 2019 fourth-round pick had a rough rookie season, giving up two touchdowns on just 16 targets. He didn't do much to assuage that bad first impression in 2020 as he registered just one interception and one pass defense in limited action. 

    Now he will see increased competition for the safety spots on the roster. John Johnson III was brought in. The team is getting Grant Delpit back from injury. Ronnie Harrison was great after coming from the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the team drafted Richard LeCounte in the fifth round. 

    Unless Redwine shows vast improvement in camp, he has proven talent in front of him and younger players with upside who are going to look to pass him on the depth chart. 

    That's not a great place to be just weeks before camp starts.