Outlook for the 2011 Cleveland Browns

Outlook for the 2011 Cleveland Browns
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Colt McCoy struggled during his rookie season, but believes he can master the Browns’ new West Coast Offense.
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Rookie Phil Taylor (Baylor) is going to improve the Browns’ run defense and help the team switch to a 4-3 defense.

The Cleveland Browns were 5-11 last season and while they were third in the AFC North, they were among one of the worst teams in the league last season. The Browns’ quarterback play was pathetic in 2010 and their whole offense rested on the shoulders of Peyton Hillis. On defense, the Browns gave up 129.4 rushing yards per game which ranked as the sixth most in the NFL.

In an effort to change their losing ways, the Browns fired former Head Coach Eric Mangini and hired former St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur to replace him. With a new sheriff in town, the Browns are changing to the West Coast Offense and switching to a 4-3 Defense led by new defensive coordinator Dick Jauron.

In the 2011 NFL Draft, the Browns passed on selecting the second best receiver in the draft in Julio Jones (Oklahoma) and instead traded their sixth overall pick to the Atlanta Falcons for their 2011 and 2012 first-round picks, 2011 and 2012 fourth-round picks and 2011 second-round pick. In a separate trade, the Browns moved up in the first-round by trading the Atlanta Falcons’ first-round pick and their own third-round pick. With Kansas City’s first-round pick, the Browns selected defensive tackle Phil Taylor and with their own second-round pick they selected defensive end Jabaal Sheard (Pittsburgh). Both picks will upgrade the Browns’ run defense. With Atlanta’s second-round pick, the Browns selected a playmaker in receiver Greg Little (UNC). With Atlanta’s fourth-round pick, the Browns selected a versatile fullback in Owen Marecic (Stanford). The rest of the Browns’ selections were all depth picks.

With the addition of their rookies, let’s take a look at the Browns’ current roster and see what positions are still in need of upgrades.

Quarterbacks (4)

Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace, Jake Delhomme, Jarrett Brown

Colt McCoy had a bad rookie season, completing 60.8 percent of his passes and averaging only 197 yards per game while throwing 6 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 8 games. McCoy has become a better leader though and has organized offensive skill sessions with his teammates during the Lockout. McCoy was drafted to become the face of the Browns’ franchise, but last year was thrown into the starting quarterback role due to injuries. McCoy will be the starting quarterback in 2011 and he should be able to develop chemistry that will benefit him in the future, but it won’t be able to help the Browns make the playoffs this year.

Seneca Wallace has a lot of knowledge of the West Coast offense from his days in Seattle which is likely one of the main reasons that the Browns decided to resign Wallace to a three-year $9 million contract. Wallace is one of the most capable backups in the league and his mobility will be crucial if Colt McCoy were to go down with an injury.

Jake Delhomme is scheduled to make $5.4 million in base salary for 2011 and will likely be cut because the Browns aren’t going to overpay for a third-string quarterback. Delhomme played in 5 games last season, but threw for 2 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Delhomme has 10 touchdowns and 25 interceptions over the last two seasons and is no longer capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL. If released, Delhomme could become a backup on another team and serve as a mentor for a young starting quarterback. Potential suitors could include: the Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, and Tennessee Titans.

Jarrett Brown was an undrafted free agent last season and is currently poised to become the Browns’ third-string quarterback assuming Jake Delhomme is let go. Brown is probably better off being on the practice squad because he still needs to develop, but it isn’t the end of the world if the Browns were to keep him on their roster.

Free Agent Analysis:

Cleveland doesn’t need a quarterback because Colt McCoy is ready to become a starter and Seneca Wallace is a capable backup.

Halfbacks (3)

Peyton Hillis, Montario Hardesty, Quinn Porter

Peyton Hillis was overworked last year, but managed to produce numbers good enough to name him the cover athlete of Madden 2011. In 2010, Hillis had 270 carries for 1177 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground and had 61 receptions for 477 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air. Prior to 2010, Hillis had only received 81 carries in his career and it was evident at the end of the season that it took a toll on him. In his first 8 games last season, Hillis had averaged 4.78 yards per carry, but in the final 8 games, his yards per carry dropped to 3.82. Hillis took a beating in 2010, and led running backs with eight fumbles, while tying for third in the NFL by losing five of them. Hopefully, the Browns will be able to use Montario Hardesty in 2011, and be able to give Hillis more of a breather.

Montario Hardesty is expected to have a complementary role to Peyton Hillis in 2011 after missing 2010 with an ACL injury. Hardesty is a former second round pick with pass catching ability and could become the Browns third-down back.

Quinn Porter signed a reserve/future contract with the Browns, but would have made the Packers roster last season had it not been for a sprained MCL. Porter has playmaking ability when healthy, but lacks the mental part of the game. Porter should be able to land the third-string half back job though, considering he was good enough to make the Packers if it weren’t for his injury

Free Agent Analysis:

Cleveland is set at halfback, but will probably bring in an undrafted free agent to compete with Quinn Porter.

Fullback (2)

Owen Marecic, Tyler Clutts

Rookie Owen Marecic (Stanford) is expected to replace Lawrence Vickers as the Browns starting fullback. Marecic has pass catching abilities, (something Vickers didn’t have) and has had experience blocking for the 2009 Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart. Marecic used to play linebacker as well so he’ll know what to expect from defenses when he lead blocks for Peyton Hillis.

Tyler Clutts signed a reserve/future contract, but likely won’t make the team because the Browns draft a young talented fullback.

Free Agent Analysis:

Cleveland drafted a fullback in the fourth round and Marecic is capable of starting in 2011.

Wide Receivers (8)

Greg Little, Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie, Joshua Cribbs, Demetrius Williams, Carlton Mitchell, Jordan Norwood, Rod Windsor

Rookie Greg Little (UNC) will be the Browns’ No. 1 receiver on opening day because he is very good at getting yards after catch and has the ability to break tackles. Little could win the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award because the Browns new offense will have the same terminology as his college offense. With that benefit in a shortened offseason, Little will be way ahead of his fellow rookies and with the talent he possesses, he should be able to compete at a high level right from the start.

Mohamed Massaquoi has been working with Pro Bowl receivers Wes Welker, Hines Ward, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, and Chad Ochocinco during the Lockout. So far, Massaquoi has been improving his route running and is learning how to break down film better. Massaquoi is in his third-year in the NFL, but hopefully with his new knowledge, he’ll be able to improve his game and become a breakout player. Massaquoi will be the No. 2 receiver and should be able to better the 36 receptions for 483 yards and 2 touchdowns that he put up in 2010.

Brian Robiskie saw an increased role in 2010 and produced 29 receptions for 310 yards and 3 touchdowns. Brian Robiskie is a Michael Jenkins-type of receiver and lacks playmaking ability as evident by his 1.9 average of yards after the catch. Robiskie will operate out of the slot this season, but isn’t likely to be the long-term answer at the spot.

Joshua Cribbs is more of a gadget player than a receiver, but new Browns coach Pat Shurmur thinks that Cribbs still has the potential to be a threat in the passing game. Cribbs has the size (6’1’’, 215 pounds) and the speed to become a legit receiving threat, but hasn’t been given the opportunity to showcase it. In 2010, Cribbs set career highs with 23 receptions for 292 yards and 1 touchdown, but wasn’t involved in the offense enough. Cribbs is an expert at breaking tackles and has potential, but the Browns need to figure out how to get their most exciting player the ball more. Cribbs will compete for the slot receiver position, which is a spot that he should thrive in because he can catch a slant and spin away from tacklers with ease.

Demetrius Williams is a deep threat that couldn’t make it in Baltimore, a team that is filled with possession receivers. Williams has the talent to make it in the NFL, but as everyone knows, “those who don’t perform, often become forgotten”. The Browns could be Williams last chance in the NFL because the Browns have been the NFL’s laughingstock at receiver over the last couple of years and if he can’t make it as No. 5 receiver with them, he’d probably be better off going to the CFL or UFL.

Carlton Mitchell is physically gifted, but needs to show improved hands and route running if he wants to become the No. 5 receiver. Mitchell has the potential to be a good third-down possession receiver, but if he can’t limit his drops, he’ll never become anything more than an inactive player on game days. Mitchell played in 5 games last season, but didn’t catch a ball.

Jordan Norwood has spent the last two seasons on the Eagles and Browns’ practice squads, but isn’t expected to take the next big step in 2011. Norwood is still young (24), but is out of practice squad options and will need to beat out Demetrius Williams and Carlton Mitchell in order to make the team.

Rod Windsor played in the AFL last year with the Arizona Rattlers and earned Rookie of the Year honors with 47 receiving touchdowns. Windsor dominated in the AFL, but there is a huge difference in the talent between the NFL and the AFL. Windsor will need a big preseason if he wants a chance to make the roster, but he will likely make the practice squad and be used as a “preparation receiver” in practices in the red zone.

Free Agent Analysis:

Cleveland is a rebuilding team that will not be able to contend with the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011 and wants to see what they have at receiver before deciding to bring in players. Brian Robiskie isn’t the prototypical slot receiver, but Joshua Cribbs will be given the chance to beat him and if Cribbs comes out on top, the Browns will be set.

Tight End (5)

Benjamin Watson, Evan Moore, Jordan Cameron, Alex Smith, Tyson Devree

Benjamin Watson had a career high 68 receptions for a career high 763 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first season with the Browns. Watson is a playmaking tight end with good blocking abilities, but needs to become a better red zone target in 2011.

Evan Moore is a poor blocker, but still somehow manages to play tight end instead of receiver. Moore averaged a team-best 20.1 yards per catch in 2010, so hopefully the Browns will give Moore the opportunity to better the 16 receptions for 322 yards and 1 touchdown that he produced in 2010.

Rookie Jordan Cameron (USC) is a former basketball player and has received comparisons to New Orleans Saints’ tight end Jimmy Graham. Cameron has incredible talent, but will ride the bench as long as Benjamin Watson is on the roster.

Alex Smith appeared in just three games last season, but could find a way to beat out Evan Moore as Benjamin Watson’s backup. Smith is a good blocking tight end and if he can showcase some receiving skills, he could push Evan Moore off of the roster.

Tyson DeVree hasn’t seen real action since his senior year at Colorado in 2007. Devree had 37 receptions that year for 402 yards and 8 touchdowns, so it’s not like he doesn’t have the talent to earn a spot. The Browns just don’t have room for him. DeVree is on a roster full of tight ends, so his chances of making the team are not very good.

Free Agent Analysis:

Cleveland has 5 tight ends on their roster and will releasing two tight ends before opening day.

O-Line (10)

Joe Thomas, Eric Steinbach, Alex Mack, Shawn Lauvao, Tony Pashos, Steve Vallos, Jason Pinkston, Brandon Braxton, Pat Murray, Phil Trautwein

Joe Thomas hasn’t gone a season without making the Pro Bowl in his four-year career and has quickly joined the elite ranks as one of the game’s premier left tackles. With a young quarterback in Colt McCoy, the Browns can count on Thomas to protect his blindside, allowing McCoy to have more time in the pocket

Eric Steinbach put together another solid season for the Browns and was rewarded by being named the second alternate at the guard position in the Pro Bowl. Steinbach has started 32 consecutive games in the last two years next to Pro Bowlers Joe Thomas and Alex Mack and each should continue to provide sufficient protection for Colt McCoy.

Alex Mack is emerging as one of the elite centers in the NFL and is a big reason why Peyton Hillis became a household name in 2010. Mack was rewarded with his first Pro Bowl appearance in only his second season in the league and it appears that the future is bright for Mack.

Shawn Lauvao is expected to become the Browns’ new starting right guard. Lauvao has quick feet and is athletic enough to become a solid guard in the NFL. Lauvao used to be a tackle in college, but spent his rookie season last year learning how to play as a guard. Lauvao was on the sidelines mostly last season, but was able to better understanding of what a right guard’s assignment is.

Tony Pashos is expected to be the Browns’ starting right tackle on opening day in 2011, despite only making it through 5 games last season. Pashos landed on the injured reserve with an ankle injury, but according to GM Tom Heckert, Pashos will be the starter as long as he’s healthy. Pashos has the size (6’6’’, 325 pounds) to become a good right tackle, but hasn’t been healthy over the past few seasons, so the position will remain a question unless the Browns opt to look into the free agent market.

Steve Vallos is a former starting center from the Seattle Seahawks, but can also play guard. The Browns are set at center with Alex Mack, but should Shawn Lauvao struggle at right guard, Vallos should be able to come off the bench and fill in capably.

Rookie Jason Pinkston (Pittsburgh) played offensive tackle in college but will switch inside for the Browns and be a backup in 2011. Pinkston struggles with edge rushers, so moving him to guard should allow him to achieve his full potential.

Brandon Braxton, Pat Murray, and Phil Trautwein each signed reserve/future contracts, but not all of them will make the Browns’ roster. In past years the Browns offensive line depth was a strength, but with current free agents Floyd Womack and Billy Yates set to test the market, the Browns only have 7 guaranteed offensive line spots locked up.

Free Agent Analysis:

Cleveland needs to resign Floyd Womack in case Shawn Lauvao struggles and should look into the free agent market for a right tackle. Tony Pashos hasn’t been healthy over the past few seasons and right tackle was a huge hole for the Browns last year. Potential Free Agents include: Khalif Barnes, Alex Barron, Kirk Chambers, Wayne Hunter, Sean Locklear, Barry Sims, and Langston Walker.

D-Line (8)

Jabaal Sheard, Phil Taylor, Ahtyba Rubin, Marcus Benard, Travis Ivey, Brian Schaefering, Titus Adams, Ko Quaye

Rookie Jabaal Sheard (Pittsburgh) will start at defensive end for the Browns after posting 9 sacks and 4 forced fumbles as a senior last season. Sheard won the 2010 Big East Defensive Player of the Year as a relentless, explosive pass rusher and it should translate smoothly over to the NFL. Sheard was considered by many scouts as a late first-round projection, but fell to the Browns in the second round.

Rookie Phil Taylor (Baylor) will start in 2011 alongside Ahtyba Rubin as a pair of “two gap” tackles. Taylor isn’t much of a pass rusher, but if he can receive some double teams, it’ll open the door for linebackers D’Qwell Jackson and Chris Gocong to make plays without blockers on them.

Ahtyba Rubin led all defensive linemen with 82 tackles last season. Rubin played the nose in the Browns’ old 3-4 system, but will become a “two gap” tackle and play a crucial role in stopping the run in 2011. Rubin isn’t a good pass rusher either, so the Browns will need to rely on new defensive coordinator Dick Jauron to devise blitzes that will create pressure on opposing to quarterbacks.

Marcus Benard put up 7.5 sacks last season, but will need to produce more this season, or opposing quarterbacks will have more time in the pocket because Benard is the only experienced pass rusher on the team.

Travis Ivey was Ahtyba Rubin’s backup at the nose last season, but became a starter at defensive end at the end of the season. Ivey is too big (6’4’’, 325 pounds) to play end in the 4-3, but should be able to capably fill at defensive tackle as a run stopper.

Brian Schaefering received consideration as a 3-4 defensive end on last year’s team, but will switch back to defensive tackle in the Browns’ 4-3 defense. Schaefering isn’t much of a run stopper, and as a result, he will receive only situational play time. If not for a lack of depth on the defensive line, Schaefering would be looking at possibly getting cut, but he should be safe this year.

Titus Adams is an extensive rights free agent, but his odds of making the roster are slim to none with four other defensive tackles ahead of him.

Ko Quaye is under contract, but is in the same boat as Titus Adams. If either stands a chance, they need to unseat Brian Schaefering.

Free Agent Analysis:

Cleveland needs to resign Robaire Smith. Cleveland lacks defensive ends on their roster and will need to find some pass rushers in the free agent market because Marcus Benard isn’t proven and Jabaal Sheard is a rookie. Potential Free Agents include: Jason Babin, Ray Edwards, Jonathan Fanene, Charles Johnson, and Bobby McCray.

Linebackers (7)

D’Qwell Jackson, Chris Gocong, Scott Fujita, Steve Octavien, Kaluka Maiava, Titus Brown, Eric Alexander

D’Qwell Jackson could have a big season in the Browns’ new 4-3 defense because he is a good sideline-to-sideline tackler and won’t have to take on guards as much in the new system. Jackson appeared in just six games over the past two seasons due to season-ending pectoral injuries in each of his arms. Prior to the injuries, Jackson was the NFL’s leading tackler in 2008 and if he can stay healthy, the Browns will have an even better run defense.

Chris Gocong was a dominant run defender last season and with Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin poised to see lots of double teams, he could compete for the most tackles in the NFL. Gocong is also solid in coverage and could be an every-down middle linebacker which would also help his chances in racking up tackles.

Scott Fujita is the Browns’ team leader and has been teaching the basics of a 4-3 defense to his team during the offseason. Fujita will start opening day at strong-side linebacker, and it is crucial for him to stay healthy because he has missed twelve games over the past two seasons.

Steve Octavien is capable of playing any of the Browns’ linebacker positions, but it remains to be seen how much of an impact he’ll have in the Browns’ new 4-3 defense. Octavien has played in the 3-4 system his entire career and it’s likely that he’ll only be used on special teams in 2011.

Kaluka Maiava is recovering from a right ACL surgery that he underwent last October. Maiava is learning a new defense and hasn’t played in a while, so he shouldn’t receive a significant role in 2011. He’ll probably be a special teamer and be a reserve linebacker.

Titus Brown suffered a concussion at the end of last season on kick coverage. Brown will be fine heading into 2011, but he’ll only be used on special teams and have a reserve role at linebacker.

Eric Alexander is a career special teamer that provides good depth at linebacker.

Free Agent Analysis:

Cleveland is set at linebacker, but will be looking at undrafted free agents to compete with their backup linebackers.

Cornerbacks (5)

Joe Haden, Sheldon Brown, Coye Francies, Buster Skrine, Ramzee Robinson

Joe Haden was terrific in coverage last season and led the Browns with 6 interceptions. Haden did well as a rookie, but should continue to grow in his sophomore season and possibly even make the Pro Bowl.

Sheldon Brown underwent offseason surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, but should be healthy by opening day. Brown has played in every game over his nine-year career, so the Browns shouldn’t have to worry about him. In 2010, Brown had 63 tackles and 2 interceptions, and earned the right to start opposite Joe Haden.

Coye Francies spent the majority of last season on the Browns’ practice squad after dealing with a groin injury throughout their 2010 training camp. Francies is currently poised to be the Browns’ nickel corner, but that’ll change once free agency hits. Francies has talent though, but has been overlooked ever since his 2007 gun arrest which affected his draft stock last year with him falling into the sixth round, despite being San Jose State’s top cover corner.

Rookie Buster Skrine (UT-Chattanooga) has been timed in the 4.2s and 4.3s on the track, but isn’t much of a cornerback. Skrine could have a role as a gunner on special teams though.

Ramzee Robinson signed a reserve/future contract after bouncing around from team to team on their practice squads. Robinson could actually make it on the Browns roster in 2011 though because they don’t have much depth on their current roster.

Free Agent Analysis:

Behind Joe Haden and Sheldon Brown, the rest of their cornerbacks are full of question marks. The Browns need a proven nickel corner, and will need to look into free agency to find one. Potential Free Agents include: Phillip Buchanon, Travis Daniels, Drayton Florence, Ellis Hobbs, Roderick Hood, William James, Karl Paymah, and Brian Williams.

Safeties (5)

T.J. Ward, Mike Adams, Eric Hagg, Raymond Ventrone, DeAngelo Smith

T.J. Ward led the Browns in tackles with 123 last season and had 2 interceptions. Ward is very good at getting involved in the run game, but given his struggles in coverage last season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Dick Jauron put Ward in the box and blitz more.

Mike Adams is the Browns’ starting strong safety right now, but don’t be surprised to see him move back to cornerback. Adams lost his free safety job to T.J. Ward last season, but still managed to have 45 tackles and a sack in limited action.

Rookie Eric Hagg (Nebraska) is going to be T.J. Ward’s primary backup, but could eventually challenge for the strong safety job. In college, Hagg led his team in interceptions with five and was voted as the Huskers’ 2010 Defensive MVP.

Raymond Ventrone makes the veteran minimum and plays mostly special teams. Ventrone is currently poised for to become Mike Adams’ backup and should have the same role on special teams in 2011.

DeAngelo Smith signed a reserve/future contract, but is likely to be cut before opening day.

Free Agent Analysis:

Cleveland isn’t going to overpay for Abram Elam, but they need to find a strong safety better than Mike Adams. Potential Free Agents include: Josh Bullocks, Deon Grant, Michael Lewis, Quintin Mikell, Lawyer Milloy, Gerald Sensabaugh, Donte Whitner, and Roy Williams.

Kicker (1)

Phil Dawson

Phil Dawson had the franchise tag placed on him for 2011 even though he sold his Cleveland home back in November. Dawson thought he wasn’t going to be back because the Browns kept refusing to resign him to a long-term contract. Dawson is 36 years old, so the Browns probably don’t want to give him a long-term contract towards the end of his career, when his production will be declining. Dawson converted 82.1 percent in 2010 and was perfect from under 40 yards, but made only 37.5 percent from beyond 40 yards.

Free Agent Analysis:

Cleveland is set for 2011 at kicker, but they will eventually need a kicker since Dawson is growing impatient with the team over a long-term contract.

Punter (1)

Reggie Hodges

Reggie Hodges tied for eighth in the NFL in 2010 with a net average of 39.0 yards per punt and landed 29 punts inside his opponents’ 20-yard line. Hodges only had 5 touchbacks which is pretty good for a punter who has deal with the weather effects of Lake Erie.

Free Agent Analysis:

Cleveland has Hodges signed through 2012 and he has performed well enough that the Browns don’t need to find a free agent punter to replace him.

Long Snapper (1)

Ryan Pontbriand

Ryan Pontbriand is a two-time Pro Bowler and his snaps are a big reason why Phil Dawson is considered one of the best kickers in the NFL.

Free Agent Analysis:

Cleveland doesn’t need another long snapper with a two-time Pro Bowler currently on their roster.

Kick/Punt Returners (1)

Joshua Cribbs

Joshua Cribbs averaged 20.4 yards per kick return and 8.4 yards per punt return. Cribbs return numbers were down last season, but his potential to break a big one each time he touches the ball is so high that the Browns are willing to give him another shot in 2011.

Free Agent Analysis:

Cleveland has a proven returner in Joshua Cribbs and even though his production dropped, he still has home run potential.

Browns Unrestricted Free Agents (16)

Mike Bell, Kenyon Coleman, Blake Costanzo, Abram Elam, Greg Estandia, Jayme Mitchell, Sabby Piscitelli, Derreck Robinson, Matt Roth, Robaire Smith, Chansi Stuckey, Jason Trusnik, Lawrence Vickers, Floyd Womack, Eric Wright, Billy Yates

Mike Bell is not expected to resign with the Browns after rushing for only 71 yards on 31 carries with the team last season. Bell will attract some teams who are looking for a back with receiving skills, and might be able to land a third-down role somewhere.

Kenyon Coleman was released by the Browns because he is a better fit to play defensive end in a 3-4 system, but the Browns are opting to switch back to the 4-3 defense under new defensive coordinator Dick Jauron. Coleman will land on some team as a rotational end. Coleman is a quality run defender with experience, so he could find a younger team and take a mentor role.

Blake Costanzo was key special teamer for the Browns last season, but landed on the injured reserve in midseason with a groin injury. Costanzo is a career backup linebacker and could resign with the Browns if he accepts a contract near league minimum

Abram Elam has played both free and strong safety in his career and should be able to find a starting job with at least one of his potential suitors. The Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars among teams rumored to be looking for a safety.

Greg Estandia won’t be back with the Browns next season because they have too many tight ends on their current roster.


Jayme Mitchell could return to the Browns as a possible starter next year. Mitchell’s agent spoke to new defensive line coach Dwaine Board and he reportedly told the agent that Mitchell would be given a chance to start if he were to resign.

Sabby Piscitelli plans to test the market rather than resign with the Browns. Piscitelli has struggled in coverage and as a tackler in his career, so it’s unclear as to how valuable he believes he is.

Derreck Robinson won’t be back because he is a 3-4 defensive end.

Matt Roth is not coming back to the Browns this year and will test the free agent market instead. Most analysts believe that he will land with the Patriots because the defensive system that Belichick runs is similar to the system that his previous coaches ran.

Robaire Smith is recovering from a bruise on his spinal cord and could be back with the Browns only at a low price. If he were to come back, he’d be a backup defensive tackle. If he were to sign with a 3-4 team, he would be a rotational end.

Chansi Stuckey won’t be back with the Browns next season because he lacks playmaking ability. Stuckey set a career high with 40 receptions last season, but averaged only 8.7 yards per reception and had zero touchdowns. Stuckey should be able to find an opportunity to compete as a No.4 receiver, but it won’t be with the Browns because they just drafted a possession receiver in Greg Little.

Jason Trusnik is a good special teamer but has started in 15 games over his career. Trusnik is a versatile 3-4 inside/outside linebacker won’t be back with the Browns because they’re switching to a 4-3 defense. Trusnik should be able to find a team, but he likely won’t be handed a starting job.

Lawrence Vickers is going to be a free agent because he is a block-only fullback and doesn’t fit the Browns’ new West Coast offense. Vickers should find a job though because his blocking skills will be valuable to teams that want to run the ball.

Floyd Womack started 24 games for the Browns over the last two seasons, but could be brought back as a backup. If Womack returns, he will provide insurance in case Shawn Lauvao struggles again in his sophomore year.

Eric Wright was benched midseason after being burnt a lot at the beginning of last season and probably won’t be back with Coye Frances set to be the nickel and Sheldon Brown set to start opposite Joe Haden. Wright has talent though and should be able to find a team

Billy Yates became a better run blocker around the middle of the season, but his season ended early with a biceps injury placing him on injured reserve. Yates won’t be back because his replacement Shawn Lauvao has proved to be capable of holding the starting right guard job.