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5 things to know about how Browns 53-man roster came together

After careful evaluation, the Browns reduced their roster to 53 players Saturday afternoon, keeping a bevy of newcomers and parting ways with several familiar faces in the process.

Here are five things to know from Cleveland's final round of roster cuts and what's to come in the next few days as the Browns prepare for their season opener against the Eagles.

The kids are all right

After hauling in one of the largest draft classes in franchise history, the Browns kept all 14 members of this year's crop of newcomers.

"We knew heading into this that we could be young," head coach Hue Jackson said, adding he believes executive vice president of football operations Sashi Browns has positioned the club for success both now and in the future.

"We've talked a lot about needing to find the guys who embody the values that we like and will make us successful in this league so as we look at our 53-man roster, we've got a lot of young talent and guys that we want to develop," Brown said.

"And the key thing for us is to maintain and really create that young nucleus of talent that we'll build off of for some time and that's a blend of our veterans — (left tackle Joe) Thomas and (cornerback Joe) Haden and others, (linebacker Demario) Davis, (right guard John) Greco — but also with the youngest guys on our roster and rookies ... It's a nice blend of young guys but we are going to be young and that's what's exciting about it."

Brown said he's impressed with how Jackson and the coaching staff have molded the players on the roster, both youngsters and veterans.

"The rookies have developed, the veterans have developed, the staff has changed the work ethic and pace of what our practices have been and set an expectation here of kind of success and I think for us it's critical that we maintain that through the season," he said.

"I'm very confident that the group will, led by Hue's energy and enthusiasm but also with the supporting staff of the coordinators and position coaches he's assembled. Really good group."

Young but talented WRs room

After selecting four wide receivers in the draft this past spring, the Browns chose to keep the group together in what's been an effort to bolster the position group.

"We've gotten a lot bigger, we've got younger and I think we've gotten better," Jackson said.

In addition to those rookies (Corey Coleman, Ricardo Louis, Rashard Higgins and Jordan Payton), the Browns are also eager to see what Andrew Hawkins, Terrelle Pryor and Josh Gordon — who is suspended for the first four games of the season — can provide for an offense that showed promise in the preseason.

"Having Terrelle Pryor and obviously our draft pick Corey Coleman is good and it's great to see Terrelle come on. Obviously getting Josh Gordon back on our football team is huge," Jackson said. "You're talking about one of the better receivers in the league and we've got to make sure we hold this thing together until he can get back and we're looking forward to having him back."

To make room for the four newcomers, the Browns parted ways with Marlon Moore, Taylor Gabriel and Darius Jennings.

"You see all of our young draft pick guys from Rashard Higgins to Ricardo Louis to Jordan Payton," Jackson said, "those guys, they have ability so we're glad that we're here.

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Take a look at the Cleveland Browns roster as of September 1, 2017.

Value of trades**

Over the past six months, the Browns have approached building their football team in a calculated manner. Part of that strategy has included striking deals for players across the league like cornerback Jamar Taylor, the former Miami Dolphin who has emerged as a starter for the Browns.

Brown said it's all about "continuing to try and take every opportunity to improve our chances and position ourselves for success, sustainable success."

"We have a ton of discussions with different teams throughout the offseason and we're able to pull off some trades here that we think position us well and that were mutually beneficial," he said.

"Good players that can play on other rosters and teams saw some value and for us either just weren't fits or we felt like the better opportunity was to take some of the compensation that we were able to receive back.

"But we appreciate all the guys that came in here and busted their tails. Sometimes those are the tougher decisions to make rather than to trade a player or keep him on the roster for a bit more."

Chasing a dream

Among those who made the 53-man roster were undrafted free agents linebacker Dominique Alexander and cornerback Tracy Howard. The pair of rookies — who were Cleveland's only UDFAs to make the final cut — each shined over the past month, and their efforts were rewarded Saturday afternoon.

"(They) have come in and played their tails off and earned their spots, too," Brown said.

Alexander was a three-year starter at Oklahoma and one of the most productive players in Sooners history while Howard was a standout for the Miami Hurricanes

What's next

Over the next 48 hours, the Browns and most teams across the league will scour the waiver wire in search of players they believe can better their football teams.

"You'd like to have continuity and say you've got all your pieces in a row, but every team is really out there looking at opportunities to improve their roster, usually it's the back end of the roster, but there's always surprises at this time of year, guys that fall out and we've seen some of those names already out there," Brown said.

"So we'll look at every opportunity we can, our professional scouting group really does a great job and that's Glenn Cook and Dan Saganey head that up with the guidance of Ken Kovash and Andrew Berry. And we'll work with our research group and our coaching staff to come to the best possible decisions we can and there will be some opportunities out there for us."

Jackson echoed a similar sentiment, saying the next few days will be "very fluid."

"The phone will be ringing off the hook and you're running from room to room and time to time but it's all part of the process to get our football team the best we can get it before we get ready to play next Sunday," he said.

"And at the end of the day, that's what it's all about, to make sure we have the best team that we can have before Philadelphia. And again, I give a lot of credit to Sashi and (Berry) and (chief strategy officer) Paul (DePodesta), they've done a great job of orchestrating things to put us in the best situation so that we can have the best team starting next Sunday."​

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