Joe Thomas isn't going anywhere. The Browns LT signed a six-year contract and his future looks bright. (US Presswire)

The bye week brings speculation for all NFL teams. The youth and inexperience that fills the Browns roster add to the debate about who is a keeper and who has proven himself unworthy of a starting position.

Here is an analysis of each starter or frequent contributor and the category in which they fall:

Set it stone

LT Joe Thomas: The Browns signed the perennial Pro Bowler to a six-year contract in 2011 for a reason. This is a no-brainer.

C Alex Mack: Ravens DT Haloti Ngata called Mack the best center in the AFC North. Definitely a keeper.

RT Mitchell Schwartz: The rookie second-round pick has improved dramatically in pass protection and run blocking.

RB Trent Richardson: He's had back-to-back 100-yard games. Just wait until his ribs stop aching.

WR Josh Gordon: Perhaps this is a bit of a stretch. His overall athleticism dwarfs that of his fellow Browns receivers, but that's not saying much.

DT Ahtyba Rubin: Rubin is a tireless, energy-driven tackle who covers the entire field.

MLB D'Qwell Jackson: Age is creeping up, but Jackson is the best defensive player on the team right now and one of the top tacklers in the NFL.

CB Joe Haden: He's still a bit inconsistent in coverage, but is among the league's best when he's on top of his game.

SS T.J. Ward: One of the best safeties around at defending the run, his coverage skills are also improving. No interceptions since 2010, though.

PK Phil Dawson: Nobody is more dependable. That he has yet to earn a Pro Bowl berth because total points scored seems to be the lone criteria is a travesty. Is 17-for-17 in FGs this year.

Jury's still out

RG Shawn Lauvao: He's OK as a straight-ahead blocker and in pass protection, but struggles as a pulling guard. Needs to show more mobility to help Richardson run wide.

LG Jason Pinkston : Same as Lauvao -- and now he's out for the year with blood clot in his lung. His career is in jeopardy.

QB Brandon Weeden: Has displayed a fine arm, but consistent accuracy and decision-making still a problem. Has earned the chance to show his wares through 2012.

WR Greg Little: If he's over the dropsies, he belongs in the "set in stone" category. Perhaps he'll never be a 1,000-yard receiver, but should be solid starter.

WR Travis Benjamin: A speedster who has been a pleasant surprise on underneath and medium-range routes. Has been dependable, but not explosive.

TE Jordan Cameron: The potential as a premier pass-catcher exists, but drops and blocking skills lead to uncertainty.

DE Jabaal Sheard: His sack total has shrunk from 8.5 last year to 1.5 this year and he has not been disruptive in the face of more offensive attention.

DE Frostee Rucker: A half-season is not long enough to determine if he's a long-term solution or stop-gap at that position.

DT Phil Taylor : A healthy first half might have made him a keeper, but he's just returned from pectoral surgery. Give him time.

DT Billy Winn: This pleasant surprise is just a rookie. A fine inside pass rusher with run-stopping ability. If he continues his progress, he's a keeper.

OLB James-Michael Johnson: He's getting experience as a starter and has shown promise. Simply too early to tell.

CB Buster Skrine: He's an aggressive, confident corner who has performed better after a terrible start in 2012.

Time to look elsewhere

WR Mohamed Massaquoi: He's brittle and inconsistent. The Browns have given him enough time and now have better options.

FB Owen Marecic: Four targets, four drops. Mediocre lead blocker. This 2011 pick was a mistake. Move on.

TE Benjamin Watson: Clearly on the downside of his career. He is not the future at that position.

OLB Kaluka Maiava: He's starting because Chris Gocong is out. The Browns No. 1 draft need is a pass-rushing stud on the outside. Maiava is not the answer.

CB Sheldon Brown: Actually, he's having a fine season. But he's aging and he needs help against NFL burners. The Browns must soon find a replacement. They don't seem inclined to move him to safety.

P Reggie Hodges: He's kicked too many short line drives and shanks this year. This team can do better.

Stay dialed in on the Cleveland Browns on Twitter at @CBSBrowns throughout the season with on-site updates from RapidReports correspondent Marty Gitlin.