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Nearly 42 percent of Browns roster went undrafted

The NFL is cold and calculated and offers a short shelf life for most players, but perhaps more than any other professional league it offers opportunity for unheralded college players.

The Cleveland Browns make this case with 22 undrafted players on their 53-man roster -- seven more than Pittsburgh, Cleveland’s divisional opponent Sunday.

That is nearly 42 percent of the team.

The list includes six rookies, including these contributors:

  • RB Isaiah Crowell: 160 rushing yards, three touchdowns.

  • CB K'Waun Williams: Eleven tackles, one sack, one pass deflection as an emerging nickel cornerback.

  • WR Taylor Gabriel: Second on the team in receiving yards (194) and third in receptions (10).

  • FB Ray Agnew: Started four games as lead blocker.

With cornerback Joe Haden battling a hip injury, Williams should play most of the game Sunday as an inside cornerback -- or even move outside if first-round pick Justin Gilbert continues to struggle.

"You come here, or go anywhere, you have to fight, regardless of if they have a lot of cornerbacks or not," said Williams, a former Pitt Panther. "You just have to come in, show that you can ball and make plays."

The large number of undrafted guys -- including quarterback Brian Hoyer and receiver Miles Austin -- might be a byproduct of a first-year coaching staff and new general manager. The system had to be flushed.

But signing players that had to fight for NFL jobs seems to suit the gritty personality the Browns try to embody.