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Roster prediction: Three tight ends replace Jordan Cameron

Continuing a very preliminary look at how the Cleveland Browns' roster might shake out come September, with a comparison to last season's numbers after the final cutdown out of preseason.

Tight end

Book ‘em: Gary Barnidge, Jim Dray, Rob Housler.

Left to ponder: Emmanuel Bibbs, Randall Telfer.

Last year/this year: Three last year, three this year, though Bibbs could make things interesting.

It’s worth wondering if the Browns decided Jordan Cameron was expendable when they went 4-1 in the games he missed last season due to concussion. Why pay a guy big money, the figuring would go, if the team won without him?

Regardless of the reason, the Browns let Cameron’s playmaking ability leave, and went with a trio of Barnidge, Dray and newly signed Housler, a group that quarterback Josh McCown said was being extremely underrated.

Coach Mike Pettine broke the group down this way: “We really have two different types of tight ends. The ‘Y’ is more the on the ball, blocker type where that’s Jim [Dray] and Gary [Barnidge]. The F is more of a move type, off the ball, more of a wing. You can flex him out some. Gary is kind of a ‘tweener.’ He can do both. We just like the depth in the room. We have three guys that they’re not identical skillsets there. There’s some overlap. Gary, like I said, is kind of both. Jim is more towards the ideal ‘Y,’ and Rob is more the ideal ‘F.’”

Telfer is a draft pick who won’t play for the bulk of the season -- and could wind up on injured reserve. He had surgery to repair a mid-foot injury shortly after his college season ended at USC. The Browns liked him enough to draft him anyway, and they will wait a year if they have to.

Bibbs looked good in the offseason. “He came out of nowhere,” Pettine said. Bibbs was a productive player at Iowa State, but cartilage surgery on his knee limited his early final-season numbers. He still finished with 45 catches and eight touchdowns, despite missing the final two games. He’s a former receiver playing tight end who simply showed up during practice.

If that continues, Bibbs could force the Browns to keep four tight ends and not keep a fullback, but he also could be a practice squad candidate.

They’ll keep: Barnidge, Dray, Housler (3). Bibbs goes to the practice squad, Telfer to IR.

Previously: Quarterback, Running back, Fullback, Wide receiver