Projecting Browns current depth chart for Week 15

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The Cleveland Browns, as of early Thursday morning, have 18 players from their active and practice squad rosters on their reserve/COVID-19 lists. They also have a number of players who could miss the game just due to injury.

The lists are long. Who is left to possibly play this Saturday is much more interesting at this point.

The Browns face off with the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 15 still with a chance to take the lead in the AFC North. While Cleveland is now a slight underdog, they have a fighting chance against a Raiders team that has lost five of their last six games.

So what does a projected Browns depth chart look like for Saturday’s matchup?

Quarterback

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Starter: Case Keenum

Backup: Nick Mullens (called up from practice squad for the game)

With Baker Mayfield out, the quarterback room gets very thin very quickly. Thankfully both Keenum and Mullens have some starting experience in the NFL. Both should be placed in separate bubbles to protect them from any and all risks going into Saturday.

Running Back

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Starter: Nick Chubb

Backups: D’Ernest Johnson, Demetric Felton, Andy Janovich, John Kelly (if called up from practice squad)

The only positional group not hit by COVID does have Kareem Hunt out due to injury. The depth is solid here and should continue to be the focus of the offense but the offensive line could make that more difficult.

Offensive Line

(AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Starters (left to right): Blake Hance, Joel Bitonio, J.C. Tretter, Michael Dunn, James Hudson III

Backups: Nick Harris (only one on active roster) Hjalte Froholdt, David Moore, Alex Taylor (all likely called up from practice squad)

The Browns literally have six offensive linemen on their active roster at this point and will need to add most or all of the guys on their practice squad to the active roster to protect for injury.

Hance was recently demoted behind Hudson and now likely starts at left tackle while Dunn, who hasn’t been on the field for the offense, steps in as a starter. The line will be interesting to watch this week.

Tight End

Starter: Harrison Bryant (if able to return from injury)

Backup: Miller Forristall, Nick Guggemos (if called up from practice squad)

Odds are this changes pretty quickly as David Njoku shared on social media that he is back but nothing has been made official. If Njoku is back, he is the starter.

Bryant returned to practice this week from his ankle injury but could be very limited after missing a couple of games. It will be very difficult for him to take on a full workload this week no matter what.

In Week 14, Cleveland used an extra offensive lineman to help with the lack of tight ends. This week they may be lacking at both positions.

Wide Receiver

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Starters: Donovan Peoples-Jones, Rashard Higgins

Backups: Ja’Marcus Bradley, Lawrence Cager, Alexander Hollins (Cager and Hollins as call ups from practice squad)

Higgins has been used sparingly while Bradley has been mostly a practice squad player and Hollins was just brought back to the practice squad. Peoples-Jones is the only receiver who has been consistent this season.

Anthony Schwartz continues to be downed by a concussion that has kept him out for multiple games. No sign that he will be returning this week.

Somehow, the receiver group may be the weakest position of all this week for the Browns. That is saying something.

Defensive End

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Starters: Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney

Backups: Porter Gustin, Joe Jackson, Curtis Weaver (all from practice squad)

When you have Garrett and Clowney, you may not need much more but it is helpful to have some rotational players. Gustin and Jackson have played a few times this season and should be ready to go. Cleveland could also rotate defensive tackle Sheldon Day outside at times as well.

Defensive Tackle

(John Cordes/AP Images for Panini)

Starters: Malik Jackson, Jordan Elliott

Backups: Sheldon Day, Tommy Togiai, Josiah Bronson

Without Malik McDowell, the Browns interior gets even weaker. The team claimed Josiah Bronson from New Orleans on Wednesday but he may not be up to speed to play by Saturday.

Linebacker

(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Starters: Malcolm Smith, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

Backups: Sione Takitaki, Jacob Phillips, Elijah Lee, Tony Fields II

Like Njoku, Anthony Walker has a chance to return this week. Phillips looked good at times in his return from missing the first 13 weeks of the year but was also rusty. Having a trusted vet like Smith is helpful in times like this.

Cornerback

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Starters: Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams

Backups: A.J. Green, M.J. Stewart (listed as a safety by the team), Herb Miller (if called up from practice squad)

Las Vegas has some interesting receivers that can make life tough for a cornerback room. Greg Newsome II continues to be out due to his concussion and Troy Hill is out due to injury and then got placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Not a lot of depth for the Browns at the position at this point.

Safety

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Starters: Grant Delpit, Ronnie Harrison

Backups: Richard LeCounte III, M.J. Stewart (noted in both DB spots), Jovante Moffatt (if called up from practice squad)

Placing Harrison in as a starter is slightly concerning given that he missed Week 14 due to injury. He returned to practice but could be limited this week as well. That leaves Delpit, in his first year playing in the league, as the team’s starting safety that is available and healthy.

LeCounte has had problems within the organization that has kept him off the field while Stewart will likely be needed as a corner. That leaves Moffatt coming up off the practice squad to help with the depth in the room.

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