Baker Mayfield starts preseason finale against Lions

Big night for players on the bubble; cuts to come Friday, Saturday

Daryl Ruiter
August 30, 2018 - 10:50 am

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions renew their preseason “rivalry” in the Great Lakes Classic – or “the battle for the barge” Thursday night in Detroit.    

Baker Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in the draft, will start and is expected to play at least the first half, depending on how things go but with the barge up for grabs once again, several players who are on the bubble are fighting for jobs.

Let’s start with the offensive line where the starting 5 are set – Joel Bitonio at left tackle, Austin Corbett at left guard, JC Tretter at center, Kevin Zeitler at right guard and right tackle Chris Hubbard.

Corbett and Zeitler will play Thursday night just to get in some work but Greg Robinson, Shon Coleman and Austin Reiter need to give head coach Hue Jackson reason not to beg John Dorsey to scan the waiver wire for someone, anyone who can block better than they have this preseason.

With the top 3 spots at running back decided, Matthew Dayes is hoping to make the team, but likely as a core special teamer.

Receivers Derek Williams, Da’Mari Scott, C.J. Board and Jeff Janis appear to be fighting for the sixth and final roster spot with Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, Rashard Higgins, Antonio Callaway and Damion Ratley having claimed the first 5.

Hard Knocks fan favorite Devon Cajuste could swipe the third tight end roster spot from Seth DeValve, who has been dealing with a quadriceps/thigh injury since July 29, with a big night at Ford Field.

The only other question offensively that needs to be answered is do the Browns keep fullback Danny Vitale, who has been out since early August with a calf injury? That question won’t be answered until Friday or Saturday.

Defensively it appears that 23 roster spots are already spoken for meaning that there aren’t many spots remaining.  

Following the stunning news concerning Mychal Kendricks and his subsequent release Wednesday, the door has been kicked wide open for Justin Currie and B.J. Bello to nail down that sixth roster spot at linebacker.

Nate Orchard is fighting for a job at defensive end, but the position is already crowded with Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah, Chris Smith, Chad Thomas and likely Carl Nassib making the cut. Orchard appears to be in line to be a numbers casualty but can make Dorsey think twice about cutting him with a strong performance against the Lions.   

In the secondary 8 corner and safety positions appear to be spoken for meaning 2, maybe 3 roster spots are open. Mike Jordan and Simeon Thomas may have 2 of them secured which doesn’t leave much for back end players to play for other than audition tape for another team or the practice squad.  

A file photo of the Browns-Lions Great Lakes Classic trophy
Daryl Ruiter-92.3 The Fan

Last time – Preseason: Aug. 9, 2014 – Lions 13, Browns 12; Regular season: Nov. 12, 2017: Lions 38, Browns 24

Projected starters – Offense: WR Antonio Callaway, TE Devon Cajuste, LT Greg Robinson, LG Austin Corbett, C Austin Reiter, RG Kevin Zeitler, RT Shon Coleman, QB Baker Mayfield, TE Darren Fells, WR Rashard Higgins, RB Nick Chubb

Defense: DE Chris Smith, DT Larry Ogunjobi, DT Caleb Brantley, DE Carl Nassib, WILL Genard Avery, MIKE James Burgess, SAM Justin Currie, CB EJ Gaines, CB TJ Carrie, FS Brien Boddy-Calhoun, SS Derrick Kindred

Broadcast information – Radio: 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX and the University Hospitals Cleveland Browns radio network. TV: WEWS TV-5, NFL Network (Outside Cleveland market).

Kickoff – 7:03 p.m. Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan