Browns announce initial 53-man roster heading into 2021 season (8.31.21)
For Immediate Release
Aug. 31, 2021
Cleveland trims its roster from 80 to 53 by NFL’s mandated deadline
By Andrew Gribble, ClevelandBrowns.com Senior Staff Writer
Berea, Ohio – The Browns on Tuesday made the following roster moves to trim their roster from 80 to the required 53 before the NFL’s 4 p.m. ET deadline.
Placed on reserve/injured:
G Drew Forbes (knee)
T Greg Senat (knee)
S Elijah Benton
WR Ja’Marcus Bradley
TE Jordan Franks
G Colby Gossett
DE Porter Gustin
LB Willie Harvey
WR KhaDarel Hodge
DE Joe Jackson
RB John Kelly
QB Kyle Lauletta
DE Cameron Malveaux
TE Kyle Markway
S Jovante Moffatt
C Javon Patterson
S Sheldrick Redwine
CB Emmanuel Rugamba
LB Tegray Scales
FB Johnny Stanton IV
T Alex Taylor (from injured reserve)
DE Curtis Weaver
DT Marvin Wilson
CB Brian Allen
DT Sheldon Day
LB Elijah Lee
WR JoJo Natson
Placed on reserve/suspended by commissioner:
WR Davion Davis
“Roster decisions are always a combination between the front office and the coaching staff making sure it’s not just the most talented 53, but the right 53 to serve the different roles we need on offense, defense and the kicking game throughout the season,” said Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry. “That communication is continuous throughout the month of August. There was a lot of good discussion and dialogue between the different groups. I think we were able to come to a really good consensus with the initial 53 guys we will have on the roster.”
The Browns’ initial 53-man roster and the themes that define it tell the story of Berry’s first two offseasons in his position.
Of the 25 players on offense, 22 were on the team last year, giving the Browns the kind of stability they expected after attacking that side of the ball before the 2020 season. That group includes fourth-year starting QB Baker Mayfield, the dynamic backfield tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, the Pro Bowl wide receiver tandem of Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. and the entire starting offensive line, a group that was considered by many to be one of the best in the NFL last season. The three new players on offense were all selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.
“It’s helpful to have the stability, especially for a unit that produced at a high level for us last year,” Berry said. “I think that continuity in Year 2 of the same system is only going to allow that group to take another step this season. We’re excited about bringing that many players back.”
The Browns made a significant number of moves on their defense during the offseason through free agency and the draft. As a result, the Browns have 12 new players — including DT Andrew Billings, who opted out of the 2020 season — among the 25 who made the initial 53-man roster.
The Browns are poised to have as many as seven new defensive starters on the field for the season opener in Kansas City.
“The best part about the defensive side of the ball is they’ve just taken the mindset of working hard and getting better every day,” Berry said. “They’ve been incredibly responsive to the defensive staff. We still have a long way to go as a team until we’re ready for the regular season but the progress has been steady throughout the month of August.”
All eight members of the Browns’ 2021 draft class made the initial 53-man roster and many of them figure to play significant roles throughout the season. Additionally, all seven members of the 2020 draft class are a part of this year’s initial 53.
“The rookies are players we identified throughout the draft process last year that not only were talented but fit our smart, tough, accountable culture,” Berry said. “While they did show growth over the past weeks, all of them know they still have room to grow and areas to work on so they can be viable contributors throughout the season. We’re excited about the growth and development all of them have made. We’re by no means finished with that group, or even the veterans on the roster, but we’re excited about the guys we have today.”
The Browns can make additional roster moves in the coming days via waiver claims and free agent signings. They’ll also look to construct a 16-man practice squad, a group of players that play a vital role throughout the season and serve as an additional layer of depth in the event of injuries on the active roster.
“It’s the initial 53, it’s not necessarily the final 53,” Berry said. “There are certain injury situations, certain position groups where you are still juggling the dynamics over the course of the next several days. It is fluid and it’s not just fluid within this first week. Roster building really is a 365-day-a-year process and it will remain fluid as we head into the regular season as well.”
Breaking down the Browns’ 53-man roster by position:
Quarterbacks (2): Baker Mayfield, Case Keenum
Running backs (4): Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, D’Ernest Johnson, Demetric Felton
Fullbacks (1): Andy Janovich
Tight ends (3): Austin Hooper, David Njoku, Harrison Bryant
Wide receivers (5): Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr., Donovan Peoples-Jones, Rashard Higgins, Anthony Schwartz
Offensive linemen (10): Jedrick Wills Jr., Joel Bitonio, JC Tretter, Wyatt Teller, Jack Conklin, James Hudson III, Michael Dunn, Nick Harris, Blake Hance, Chris Hubbard
Defensive linemen (8): Myles Garrett, Malik Jackson, Andrew Billings, Jadeveon Clowney, Takkarist McKinley, Jordan Elliott, Malik McDowell, Tommy Togiai
Linebackers (7): Mack Wilson, Anthony Walker, Sione Takitaki, Malcolm Smith, Jacob Phillips, Tony Fields II, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Defensive backs (10): Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams, Ronnie Harrison Jr., John Johnson III, Troy Hill, Greg Newsome, M.J. Stewart, Grant Delpit, A.J. Green, Richard LeCounte III
Specialists (3): Jamie Gillan, Chase McLaughlin, Charley Hughlett