Cleveland Browns: Claims awarded impacts depth with roster in flux

Browns (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Browns (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Roster fluctuation continues as the Cleveland Browns were awarded five players.

The Cleveland Browns needed to reach the 53 man roster by 4 PM on Saturday, which they did. However, that initial roster was certainly not going to be the one when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1.

As the worst team in 2017, Cleveland had the first claim in the waivers and will continue to do so heading into the regular season. Their waiver claims ended up resulting in five new players: Defensive tackle Carl Davis, defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo, offensive lineman Aaron Neary, defensive back Tavierre Thomas, and linebacker Tanner Vallejo.

Davis was a rotational, depth option for the Baltimore Ravens and that is what his role will be in Cleveland. Odenigbo is a defensive lineman who is best suited to play in the running game. There are areas in his game where he needs to improve, especially in the passing game. With Emmanuel Ogbah and Myles Garrett ahead of him, he will get that opportunity to improve as Ogenibgo has yet to play in a regular season game.

Like Odenigbo, Neary is a developmental player who has only played in one game in the NFL. He steps in as the backup center. The run on developmental prospects continue as Thomas was not drafted and is now at the bottom of the defensive back depth chart.

Vallejo has some experience but not much. He was with the Buffalo Bills the past two seasons and has 15 games under his belt. Following those additions, Cleveland moved on from center Austin Reiter, defensive end Carl Nassib, defensive tackle Jamie Meder, linebacker Jermaine Grace, and defensive back Jeremiah McKinnon.

Replacing Reiter with a center with just one game of experience is a surprise. Nassib was already on the bubble, to begin with, so replacing him is not a shock. Meder was not consistent enough and Grace and McKinnon are practice squad types of talent right now.

Outside of the occasional exception, no waiver player is anything more than just depth. With these waiver claims, the players are a backup who can be good for primarily special teams and ideally are decent enough to give the starters a breather. Sometimes both ends up happening.

Those moves are just the beginning as more are expected in the coming days. That said, two things stood out with these decisions. The first is that there was not a John Dorsey connection and no impactful players were added at wide receiver, offensive line, and cornerback. Yes, there were additions at the latter two but not to the degree where you can say player X is a pretty decent player.

The second is by looking at who was released today and who Cleveland replaced them with, it sure feels like Hue Jackson had more of a hand in these decisions than maybe he should have. That’s especially the case considering he kept bringing up how “players must earn their stripes”.

Next. Future potential options at LT are promising. dark

Well, I would say Reiter did and look where he is at now. Plus, look at the fact that there are three players who have one game or less of experience from other teams. Now, will those three inexperienced players or the other two remain come a week from today? That remains to be seen.