The Cleveland Browns have done a solid job building their roster under general manager Andrew Berry. Not every move he’s made turned out the way he hoped but this roster finally has some solid depth.
That’s why we see players who were selected on day two and early day three of the draft inactive for many of the games this season. In years past, those guys were out there from the start.
Now looking ahead to Week 9, the 4-3 Browns are hosting the 1-7 Arizona Cardinals, who just traded away Josh Dobbs, we can predict which players won’t be active on the field this weekend.
Active: Cedric Tillman, WR
Before diving into the inactive players, we should discuss Cedric Tillman. The Browns first selection in 2023 (No. 74 overall) hasn’t been active since Week 4 against Baltimore.
He has been a healthy scratch at times but also had a hip injury at one point that kept him out. This weekend, he should be on the field — if healthy.
Cleveland elected to trade Donovan Peoples-Jones to the Detroit Lions at the deadline. DPJ has just 97 yards on eight receptions this year but has been on the field for a surprising 83 percent of the offensive snaps. That means there’s going to be a lot more opportunities for guys like Tillman, who should be able to take advantage.
1. Deshaun Watson, QB
Deshaun Watson returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday but it’s hard to assume he’s going to play against Arizona in Week 9. Before making that prediction, we need to see him throwing the ball with the same velocity and confidence he had in Week 3 before the injury.
That being said, the Browns should absolutely get him on the field against the Cardinals if he’s capable. There’s a school of thought that he should be saved for Week 10 to take on the Baltimore Ravens but the Cards — who might be starting Clayton Tune — would be a much better option for Watson to get back into a rhythm against.
Of course, it all goes back to how the ball comes out of his arm and right now, it feels like we’re still going to be waiting.