CLEVELAND, Ohio — Two weeks into NFL free agency, the Browns roster is beginning to take shape. There’s still work to be done and a draft to be had, but now’s a good time to take a closer look at the team’s depth chart.
Part 2 of our depth chart look focuses on the defense. The Browns added an edge rusher, defensive tackle and safety, among other additions, and still have room to grow in a number of areas.
It’s hard to really know the pecking order without seeing the field, but here are some guesses as to how the depth chart looks. It’s divided into two to three categories at each position:
Starter: Pretty self explanatory.
On the roster: Players likely to make it but not likely starters at the moment.
Battling: Players who will have to fight their way onto the 53-man roster.
It’s super early, of course, so this is highly subject to change.
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Starters: Myles Garrett, Ogbo Okoronkwo
On the roster: Alex Wright, Isaiah Thomas
This group feels thin, which makes it prime for another somewhat significant addition, even if it’s just through the draft. Neither Wright nor Thomas made much impact in their rookie season and the Browns could use a third and potentially fourth edge rusher, especially because they’re banking so heavily on Okoronkwo building on a short, but productive resume.
Starters: Dalvin Tomlinson, Jordan Elliott
On the roster: Perrion Winfrey Trysten Hill, Maurice Hurst
Battling: Tommy Togiai, Ben Stille, Roderick Perry III, Michael Dwumfour
The starter next to Tomlinson is an interesting battle. The Browns need a more mature and productive Winfrey and, if they get him, he could be the guy. Otherwise, the options right now are a second chance for Elliott, free agent rolls of the dice or players bordering on the practice squad. This position could be a draft target, too.
Starters: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Anthony Walker, Sione Takitaki
On the roster: Tony Fields II, Jacob Phillips
Battling: Jordan Kunaszyk, Matthew Adams, Storey Jackson, Sam Kamara
The starting group is flexible, especially as injury situations play out, but Fields’ emergence last year was a nice surprise as an option to make a jump this year if there’s an opportunity. Phillips was disappointing in his limited chance last season and, also coming back from injury, might have to fight some people off to stick around.
Outside: Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome OR Martin Emerson
On the roster: Mike Ford
Battling: Thomas Graham Jr., A.J. Green
I know, I know, Newsome has voiced his displeasure about playing nickel. But do you like Newsome? Do you also like Emerson? Do you want them both to play? Something’s got to give.
Meanwhile, Ford is a core special teamer while there’s room to add alongside Graham and Green, who could find opportunity working inside.
Starters: Grant Delpit, Juan Thornhill
Battling: D’Anthony Bell, Bubba Bolden
Bell can make it as a special teamer and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a draft pick added here.
Kicker: Cade York
Punter: Corey Bojorquez
Long snapper: Charley Hughlett
Bubba Ventrone is taking over a stable group in the kicking game and just has to get York to the level at which the Browns need him to perform.
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