Last season the Browns were thin at the cornerback position. Many were stunned that they broke camp with just a handful of players including Sheldon Brown, Eric Wright and then rookie Joe Haden. The group managed to stay relatively healthy, but many times gave up big plays.
This year the Browns have started camp without Wright, who signed with the Lions. Haden is now the top cover man in the backfield. Sheldon Brown is a smart veteran player, but will be another year past 30 this season (32). The Browns added Buster Skrine in the 6th round of the draft this season, and signed undrafted rookie James Dockery. Add in Mike Adams (also plays safety) and Coye Francies plus a few other camp invites and you have the cornerback depth chart. Usama Young has also played the position, but was most likely brought to Cleveland to play safety.
Make you a little nervous?
Conventional thinking was that the Browns would look to add a veteran in free agency, especially if they let Eric Wright go. But the big names have come off the market already. Not that we expected the Browns to sign Asomugha, but many felt they would have had a Jonathon Joseph or Josh Wilson type in their sites.
Now if they are interested in signing a player to start opposite Haden or be that third corner they are staring at Carlos Rogers from Washington or Corey Graham from Chicago. Sure, there will be cuts later and an opportunity to add a little depth, but it seems like the team may be content to enter the season with the depth they have.
Haden and Brown are good players. Haden has the potential to be a great cover man. But should either of these two go down and the Browns are looking at a lot of inexperience and career back-ups. Contrast that with the rest of the division. Cincinnati and Baltimore have solid CB units. Pittsburgh retained Ike Taylor and William Gay. Perhaps that last comparison is advantage Cleveland.
Is there someone out there that the Browns should be targeting? It seems they will roll the dice with the young players they brought into camp. It will be interesting to see what Coye Francies does with a coaching change. He didn’t seem to get much of a chance to play under the last group. I can’t imagine the front office will keep him over the younger guys they brought in if he doesn’t have the potential to start down the road.