On September 5 at 4 p.m., the Browns, and all of the other teams in the NFL, will have to cut their roster down to 53 players. While the majority of players that are fighting for a roster spot will have a small impact on the team they play for, there are some positions where teams will only carry one player in that position, so these players can be a big part of a team’s success.
One of those positions is fullback.
In the 2019 season, the Browns didn’t use a fullback. When Kareem Hunt returned for his suspension, he was used as a sort of fullback, but it wasn’t a surprise that the Browns added fullbacks in the offseason. The Vikings, the offense that new Browns coach Kevin Stefanski led, used fullback C.J. Ham to great success. Having the sixth-most rushing yards in the NFL last season.
In the off-season, the Browns added two fullbacks. The major addition and the presumed starter is Andy Janovich. Playing for the Broncos since he was drafted in 2016, he’s been a major part of that offense over the past few seasons. In 2017 and 2018, when he played the full season, the Broncos ranked in the top half of rushing yards in the NFL. Last season, Janovich had a gruesome elbow injury, which meant he only played in seven games, but he is healthy and ready to contribute for the Browns.
The other addition at the fullback position for the Browns was Johnny Stanton. He did an interview with CST that can be read HERE. Stanton was signed by Stefanski’s Vikings in 2018, but an injury in his second career preseason game led to him being placed on the IL. He was eventually released from the Vikings before being drafted by the XFL’s Wildcats. However, he didn’t play a game for the Wildcats before being signed by the Browns.
In a normal season, Browns fans would have access to the training camp and the preseason games that would allow them to get a glimpse into which way the position battle is leaning, but with the preseason games being canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been much tougher to get a view on which player is the starting fullback. When looking at the experience of Janovich and Stanton, Janovich will likely be the starting fullback but expect Stanton to make the end of the roster or the practice squad because Janovich has gotten injured in two of his four seasons in the NFL.
Both players have the talent to be impact players for the Browns and expect them to be utilized to help their rushing game continue to be a force to be reckoned with in Cleveland.