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Analysis

With pads put on Tuesday, here’s a first crack at predicting the 53-man roster

BEREA — Training camp is five practices old, but it’s really only getting started.

After a lengthy ramp-up period, the pads finally come on today. (And maybe the Deshaun Watson suspension talk can take a recess during practice.)

Not only does the intensity spike and tempers inevitably flare in pads, but the truest evaluation of players happens. Strength and will are tested, and the linemen can finally hit somebody.

So as things are about to get good, here’s a first guess at what the roster will look like when cuts to the regular-season limit of 53 are made Aug. 30:

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Deshaun Watson suspended for six games; NFL undecided if it will appeal


QUARTERBACKS (2):
Jacoby Brissett, Josh Dobbs

Comment: A suspended Watson won’t count against the roster, but an experienced veteran could be added to back up Brissett and keep Dobbs as the No. 3.

Browns say they’ll continue to support Deshaun Watson, feel empathy for those triggered

RUNNING BACKS (4): Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Jerome Ford, Demetric Felton

Comment: D’Ernest Johnson gets traded before the cuts, and Felton doubles as a receiver.

FULLBACK (1): Johnny Stanton IV

Comment: When coach Kevin Stefanski arrived in 2020, he was committed to having a fullback, but that’s changed and Stanton isn’t guaranteed a spot.

RECEIVERS (6): Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, David Bell, Anthony Schwartz, Jakeem Grant Sr., Michael Woods II

Comment: Grant’s main role will be as the kick returner.

TIGHT ENDS (3): David Njoku, Harrison Bryant, Miller Forristall

Comment: Tight end usage will dip this year, but a fourth could be kept in lieu of a fullback.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9): Jedrick Wills Jr., Joel Bitonio, Nick Harris, Wyatt Teller, Jack Conklin, Chris Hubbard, Ethan Pocic, James Hudson III, Blake Hance

Comment: Hance is competing with Michael Dunn, Dawson Deaton, Alex Taylor and Hjalte Froholdt for the ninth and possibly 10th spots.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (9): Myles Garrett, Jordan Elliott, Taven Bryan, Jadeveon Clowney, Perrion Winfrey, Alex Wright, Tommy Togiai, Chase Winovich, Isaiah Thomas

Comment: Winfrey, Wright and Thomas are rookies.

LINEBACKERS (6): Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Jacob Phillips, Anthony Walker Jr., Sione Takitaki, Tony Fields II, Willie Harvey Jr.

Comment: Fields and Harvey could lose their spots to acquisitions at the end of the preseason.

CORNERBACKS (6): Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome II, Greedy Williams, Martin Emerson Jr., A.J. Green, Herb Miller

Comment: The deepest position on the roster.

SAFETIES (4): John Johnson III, Grant Delpit, Ronnie Harrison Jr., Richard LeCounte III

Comment: Jovante Moffatt could beat out LeCounte, a fifth-round pick last year.

SPECIALISTS (3): Kicker Cade York, punter Corey Bojorquez, long snapper Charley Hughlett

Comment: Bojorquez is battling with Joseph Charlton.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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