The Browns' initial 53-man roster is official, and we're breaking down the group position by position before the team returns to the practice field Sunday.
Quarterbacks (2): Case Keenum, Baker Mayfield
Analysis: The Browns shored up their quarterbacks room in a big way with the signing of Keenum, a veteran who has seen it all and, most importantly, knows the ins and outs of Kevin Stefanski's offense. The decision with this group always centers on whether you keep three or two. We'll learn more about the entirety of the Browns quarterback room when the practice squad is finalized.
Running backs (3): Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, D'Ernest Johnson
Analysis: Cleveland boasts one of the best one-two punches in the entire NFL with Chubb and Hunt, who is champing at the bit to contribute for a full 16-game season. Johnson made the most of every snap during training camp and, less than two years removed from thinking his football days were behind him while he worked on a fishing boat, continues to be one of the best stories on the roster.
Fullbacks (1): Andy Janovich
Analysis: It's a position the Browns haven't utilized much in recent years, but it will be vital to what Stefanski wants to accomplish on offense. Janovich has been impressive as both a blocker and pass-catcher since joining the Browns via trade from the Broncos.
Tight ends (5): Pharaoh Brown, Harrison Bryant, Stephen Carlson, Austin Hooper, David Njoku
Analysis: A high number, certainly, but every member of this group proved their worth during training camp. Hooper and Njoku provided big plays for the first offense, Bryant was voted as the most impressive rookie and Brown and Carlson both displayed significant improvement from last season.
Wide receivers (6): Odell Beckham Jr., Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge, Jarvis Landry, JoJo Natson, Donovan Peoples-Jones
Analysis: Behind Pro Bowlers Beckham and Landry, it was one of the most wide open competitions during training camp. And now, it's a room full of players who can fill multiple roles. Natson and Peoples-Jones have been battling it out on punt and kick return while Hodge is regarded as one of the best gunners in the league. Higgins, a fifth-round pick in 2016, is the third-longest tenured Brown.
The Browns' 53 man roster as of December 18, 2020.
Offensive linemen (9): Joel Bitonio, Evan Brown, Jack Conklin, Nick Harris, Chris Hubbard, Kendall Lamm, Wyatt Teller, JC Tretter, Jedrick Wills Jr.
Analysis: Beyond the projected starters, the Browns boast a ton of versatility, which is what you need from your reserve linemen. Brown and Harris can both play guard and center. Hubbard can play both of the tackle positions and guard while Lamm has experience at both tackle positions.
Defensive linemen (8): Eli Ankou, Adrian Clayborn, Jordan Elliott, Myles Garrett, Porter Gustin, Larry Ogunjobi, Sheldon Richardson, Olivier Vernon
Analysis: Even without Andrew Billings, who opted out before the start of training camp, the Browns still showed off plenty of depth during training camp. Gustin, who joined the team as a free agent midway through last season, had a particularly strong showing and played his way onto the initial roster. The same goes for Ankou, who helps fortify the depth where Billings had been expected to play.
Linebackers (6): Tae Davis, B.J. Goodson, Jacob Phillips, Malcolm Smith, Sione Takitaki, Mack Wilson
Analysis: We won't know what this group truly looks like until the first depth chart is unveiled and when there's more clarity about Wilson's expected return to the field. Smith, a former Super Bowl MVP, wasn't around for the first part of training camp but proved to be a valuable, veteran addition after signing with the team halfway through it.
Defensive backs (10): Ronnie Harrison, Kevin Johnson, Karl Joseph, Terrance Mitchell, Sheldrick Redwine, Andrew Sendejo, M.J. Stewart Jr., Tavierre Thomas, Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams
Analysis: This was a tough position to evaluate during training camp because of a barrage of injuries that sidelined a number of the players for stretches of time. It's unclear what kind of impact Harrison, who was acquired from Jacksonville in a trade Thursday, can have during the early part of the season but his arrival softens the blow a bit from losing rookie Grant Delpit for the season.
Specialists (3): Jamie Gillan, Charley Hughlett, Austin Seibert
Analysis: This group remains unchanged from last season and none of the players faced any competition during training camp. Still, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer has been pleased by what he's seen from them, and it's expected both Gillan and Seibert take big steps after performing well as rookies.