Including players released, traded, not resigned and lost in free agency, the Browns are already without 19 that were on the roster in Houston for the final game of the regular season in 2004, and that does not include Courtney Brown, Kelvin Garmon or Jeff Garcia. Those three finished the season on injured reserve and have since been released.
By the season opener Sept. 11 against the Bengals, between 25 and 30 faces are likely to be different. That's what happens when a new regime takes over a franchise that was 9-23 over the last two seasons.
DRAFT STRATEGY - Despite being very active in free agency plus acquiring a starting quarterback and potentially a starting running back through trades, the Browns still have more holes than draft picks. For that reason, Savage will stay close to the phone while the Browns are on the clock in the first round - and the second round, for that matter.
"We don't want to just give the pick away if we were to try to move it, but we're prepared to go pretty far down if we feel like it's a good thing to do," Savage said. "We're open to anything. We're willing to pick, we're willing to stay, we're willing to move down.
"Obviously, the more (picks) the better for us, but if we come out of it (Saturday) with the three right picks I think we'll be happy."
The Browns started with a list of 500 potentially draftable players and whittled it down to 155. The list is evenly divided with 77 offensive and 78 defensive players. Though the Browns' seventh-round choice will be the 217th overall choice, Savage is confident at least one player on his wish list will still be available when he makes his final pick.
If the pick is not traded, and if the 49ers select Aaron Rogers and the Dolphins Ronnie Brown, the Browns are likely to choose Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards. They are unconcerned about any attitude problems Edwards reportedly has.
"You want a receiver to be a little bit on the edge," Savage said. "You want a guy who wants the ball thrown his way."
Somewhere along the line the Browns are expected to draft a quarterback, though not with the first pick. They have had Rodgers, Jason Campbell of Auburn and Alex Smith of Utah in for visits and they have visited Charlie Frye nearby at the University of Akron.
The Dolphins also are expected to draft a quarterback. Miami drafts second and the Browns third in the first round, but in the second round they flop positions. It's possible the Dolphins would anticipate the Browns choosing a quarterback in the second round, and that might persuade Miami to choose Smith in the first round. That scenario would leave Brown and Edwards for the Browns with the third pick, which would increase the possibility of a trade.
Before the draft ends, the Browns must address depth on the offensive line, particularly at tackle, and they must pump life into the 3-4 defense they are converting to. Among the players traded or released were four defensive linemen.
Though most of the interest is tied to the first-round pick because it is so high, Savage is determined to make this a seven-round draft for the Browns. He has also prepared a list of players he expects to be rookie free agents. In the Browns war room are three boards - the main board and two sideboards. One sideboard lists players with medical issues and the other with character issues that concern Savage. They are not looking to draft seven saints, but neither are they going to spend high picks on players with a checkered past.
"I look at the draft like a par 5 in golf, just advance the ball," Savage said. "As long as I'm putting for a par when I get to that green, we'll be okay. We'll take pars all the way through the draft. People are going to be looking for double-eagles and birdies. When you do that, you're going to yank one into the lake and way out into the woods.
"We don't want to do that. We want to continue what we've done in free agency - build the team with the right kind of guys and the right kind of players. We have a long way to go. This is just another step."