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Roster prediction: Danny Shelton bolsters defensive line

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

Defensive line

Book ‘em: Randy Starks, Danny Shelton, Desmond Bryant, Phil Taylor, Ishmaa'ily Kitchen, John Hughes, Xavier Cooper.

Left to ponder: Billy Winn.

Last year/this year: The Browns kept seven on the final cut last season; they’ll keep seven this season.

The Browns felt really good about the seven they kept last season. They felt they had talent and depth. But injuries eliminated the depth, and the talent wore thin. By season’s end, some “depth” guys were starting.

The team addressed that situation this season — and a woeful run defense -- by making Shelton its first-round pick and by signing Starks. They hope these numbers hold up.

Defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil revealed during minicamp that Armonty Bryant will line up at linebacker more than defensive end this season. That does open up a spot at a crowded group on the line.

Last season the Browns kept seven on the defensive front. I don’t see them keeping more than that this season, especially if Bryant makes it as a linebacker.

That puts Winn on the bubble. He’s been a productive player, but he faces some significant numbers issues this training camp.

Taylor’s situation is interesting. He's coming off a significant knee surgery, and it’s tough for big men like him to come back from that. However, his $5.477 million salary is fully guaranteed, which might make it tough to cut him. Teams have gotten rid of players after lesser surgeries, though.

They’ll keep: Starks, Shelton, Bryant, Taylor, Kitchen, Hughes, Cooper. (7)

Previously: Quarterback, Running back, Fullback, Wide receiver, Tight end, Offensive line.