The dust has settled (sort of) on the reduction from 90 to 53 players. And now that the Browns’ roster is determined (sort of), more than a fourth of the players are rookies.
In all, 15 of 53 players are entering their first season in the NFL.
While looking for the best 53, G.M. Tom Heckert apparently wasn’t paying attention to the abundance of players without an abundance of experience. “I’m going to be totally honest with you, [team spokesman Neal Gulkis] just told me that,” Heckert told the media on Saturday. “I didn’t really know it was 15 so it’s obviously not something that we planned.”
The current 15 rookies are, in alphabetical order: defensive back Johnson Bademosi, receiver Travis Benjamin, linebacker Tank Carder, linebacker L.J. Fort, defensive back Tashaun Gipson, receiver Josh Gordon, defensive tackle John Hughes, linebackers James-Michael Johnson, defensive lineman Ishaa’ily Kitchen, offensive lineman Ryan Miller, running back Trent Richardson, offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz, defensive back Trevin Wade, quarterback Brandon Weeden, and defensive lineman Billy Winn.
Nine are draft picks; the other six (I are good with the number things) were undrafted.
The Browns also didn’t care about fitting anyone’s formula for how many players a team should have at each position.
“I don’t know if Pat [Shurmur] told you guys, but you can see there are some unorthodox — maybe too many guys at one position,” Heckert said. “We talked about it in our meeting the other day and we wanted to keep the best 53 or what we consider the best 53 no matter what position, if we have to go light at one position or heavy at another one, we were willing to do it so I think it worked out that way at least right now and we’ll see how it goes.”
Given the way the Browns have performed the past few years, it should be no surprise that 15 first-year players could claim jobs. In order to keep the guys who picked those players around for another year beyond 2012, however, those rookies need to step up. Quickly.