2018 Cleveland Browns starters, 53-man roster, schedule prediction

Veteran Carlos Hyde will open the season as the Browns' No. 1 running back. Ron Schwane/AP Photo

The Cleveland Browns cut their roster to 53 on Saturday. Here’s a look at their roster with starters in bold:

Quarterback (3): Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield, Drew Stanton

The Browns had a plan when preseason started, and they have followed that plan. Taylor begins the season as the starter and will hold the job as he long as he performs and/or the team wins. Mayfield’s play was impressive through the entire preseason. Stanton, though, never seemed to get into a rhythm.

Running back (3): Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson Jr., Nick Chubb

This position has talent and depth. Hyde is the unquestioned starter. He looked lean, quick and active from OTAs right through preseason. The depth here will not affect Johnson, who figures to get similar touches as a year ago. One quirk: The release of Danny Vitale leaves the Browns without a true fullback; backup tight end Orson Charles may fill that role some.

Wide receiver (6): Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, Rashard Higgins, Antonio Callaway, Damion Ratley, Derrick Willies.

Look for more potential moves at this spot when the Browns can announce their waiver claims. After the first two spots, there isn’t a lot of experience or sure-fire depth. And that assumes they can count on Gordon for the entire season.

Tight end (4): David Njoku, Darren Fells, Orson Charles, Seth DeValve

The Browns have high hopes for Njoku. The key is simple: Catching the ball. Fells has been a good addition, and DeValve won the spot over Devon Cajuste despite missing significant time with an injury.

Offensive line (9): Joel Bitonio, Austin Corbett, JC Tretter, Kevin Zeitler, Chris Hubbard, Desmond Harrison, Earl Watford, Aaron Neary, Greg Robinson

How the Browns line up for the start of the season will be watched closely this week. Bitonio moved outside early in camp, but Jackson said the team has to decide on his best spot and the best five linemen for the Steelers game. Spencer Drango, who took over for Joe Thomas last season, was cut, and Shon Coleman, given the first chance to take Thomas’ job, was traded. It’s far from ideal to have this many questions about the starting five this close to the start of the season.

Defensive line (9): Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah, Larry Ogunjobi, Trevon Coley, Carl Davis, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Chris Smith, Chad Thomas, Devaroe Lawrence.

Lawrence forced Nate Orchard out after his acquisition via trade from New Orleans on the day of final cuts, and Carl Nassib and Jamie Meder were released on Sunday after the Browns claimed Davis and Odenigbo. Garrett and Ogbah could be the lynchpin to the Browns defense. Garrett seemed to find a new gear in preseason, and Ogbah is a very good player. This tandem could pose a lot of problems for opposing quarterbacks.

Linebackers (6): Jamie Collins Sr., Joe Schobert, Christian Kirksey, James Burgess, Genard Avery, Tanner Vallejo.

The release of Mychal Kendricks due to his insider trading charges changes the feel of this group. Kendricks seemed ready to contribute in various roles, but he faces serious federal charges so football should be the last thing on his mind. Schobert and Kirksey now figure to get more snaps, and the overall depth of the group is not what it seemed it would be. There could be more moves at this spot on Sunday -- even though there are high hopes for Avery.

Secondary (10): Denzel Ward, Damarious Randall, Jabrill Peppers, Terrance Mitchell, Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Derrick Kindred, T.J. Carrie, Denzel Rice, E.J. Gaines, Tavierre Thomas

Ward is a key. If he can be the cover corner the Browns believe he can, the defense takes a step forward and coordinator Gregg Williams can call aggressive blitzes and pressures. If Mitchell plays like he practiced in preseason, the Browns have an effective tandem. Peppers moves closer to the line, but Randall’s health is a question mark after he sought a second opinion on a knee injury that kept him from playing in the third preseason game.

Specialists (3): K Zane Gonzalez, P Britton Colquitt, LS Charley Hughlett

After encouraging competition in the preseason, the Browns went with the guys they had a year ago in Gonzalez and Colquitt. Gonzalez needs to improve on his rookie season when he had some erratic moments. Colquitt and Hughlett are dependable veterans.