Browns

The Cleveland Browns cornerback situation as it exists today

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Joe Haden TJ WardThe Browns have a lot of cornerbacks on the roster, believe it or not. Everyone knows about Joe Haden and Buster Skrine at this point, but let’s go over the rest to see just how daunting a task it might or might not be to field a starting backfield with these guys. Remember, the Browns need a starter on the outside opposite Joe Haden and then will need to decide who best fits the needs as depth, nickel and dime coverage situations.

Of course, this is just what’s currently on the roster. There’s still time for free agency, post-draft trades, and also post-draft cuts. The best cuts usually come when a decent player is about to get paid like an elite player and gets cut ahead of a bonus. Not sure which players fall into that category but Browns fans will remember clamoring for the team to sign Eric Winston who was cut loose by the Texans as he was about to be owed $5.5 million in base salary.

Anyway, the here and now includes the following…

Leon McFadden – 22 years old – 5 ft 10 in – 190 lbs – 3rd round draft pick by the Browns in 2013

McFadden wasn’t necessarily every Browns fans’ top pick for corner in this year’s draft with many pining away for Dee Milliner in the first round and Tyronn Mathieu1 later on. The Browns chose an experienced college starter from San Diego State who has been compared to Brent Grimes and was asked to play a lot of man coverage.

The “bottom line” from NFL.com’s draft profile says all that we know about McFadden right now.

McFadden’’s a tenacious three-time All-Mountain West selection possessing the strength, quickness, attitude, and ball skills required of NFL starters, even if his size is not ideal to handle the physicality of veteran wideouts. Many shorter corners who play with similar strength and temperament have succeeded at the next level, which will help him nail down top-75 grades from scouts.

Trevin Wade – 23 years old – 5 ft 11 in – 192 lbs – 7th round pick 2012

Wade was forced into action in 2012 due to injuries and (ahem) other missed time to Joe Haden, Sheldon Brown and Dimitri Patterson. Wade seemed like a bigger player on the field last year than his 5 feet and 11 inches. It remains to be seen just how much the Browns are counting on Wade to be a factor this season competing for the starting spot opposite Joe Haden. You’d like to think that the Browns’ brass liked him so much that they chose against trying to sign a legit free agent at corner. Even without those words coming out of Berea, Wade is one of the prospects Browns fans are hoping to succeed in a big way.

Johnson Bademosi – 22 years old – 6 ft 0 in – 200 lbs – Undrafted Free Agent 2012

Bademosi made the Browns as an undrafted free agent because he could play special teams. He played some corner when Buster Skrine and Joe Haden went down and filled in pretty admirably. In Pat Shurmur’s system there was a rotating captain each week and Bademosi was recommended to be that captain by Phil Dawson, Joe Thomas and D’Qwell Jackson prior to a matchup with the Steelers.

Kevin Barnes – 26 years old – 6 ft 1 in – 185 lbs – Former 3rd round pick in 2009 – Signed one-year contract with the Browns

Barnes became the Redskins’ slot corner in 2011 and Pro Football Focus indicates that it didn’t go too well. “He gave up an extremely unhealthy 12 yards per catch from the slot and will need to really step up over the next 12 months if he wants to stick on with the ‘Skins.” Barnes didn’t stick with the ‘Skins. He was traded to the Lions for an undisclosed conditional draft pick. Apparently Barnes didn’t meet the conditions because he was waived and no compensation was ever given to the Redskins.

Chris Owens – 26 years old – 5 ft 9 in – 180 lbs – Former 3rd round pick in 2009 – Signed one-year contract with the Browns

Owens has been a nickel and dime corner for most of his career. He’s played in 58 games and started 12, all with the Atlanta Falcons. He has three career interceptions. Our friends over at Dawgs By Nature have all the pretty PFF charts showing his performances in all their color-coded glory.

Prince Miller – 25 years old – 5 ft 8 in – 198 lbs – Undrafted in 2010 out of Georgia

Miller has been a frequent flyer between practice squads with the Ravens, Patriots, back to the Ravens, Lions, Jaguars and Browns. Back in college he was a special teams team captain and even returned some punts.

Kent Richardson – 26 years old – 5 ft 11 in – 200 lbs – Undrafted in 2010

Kent Richardson was the defensive back of the year in the Arena Football League when he played for the Philadelphia Soul in 2012, his second year. He signed a futures contract with the Browns. Yes, there is an Arena League Highlight video of his accomplishments…

Josh Aubrey – 22 years old – 5 ft 11 in – 202 lbs – Undrafted free agent by Browns in 2013 from Stephen F. Austin

Josh Aubrey chose to go to Stephen F. Austin to play with his brother Jordan for four years. He was known as an aggressive, physical corner, albeit in a small conference. Just to give you an idea, SFA played against Baylor in 2011 when RG3 was still there. RG3 threw 20 for 22 for 265 yards, three touchdowns while also running for 78 yards on eight carries. Oh yeah, and the game was stopped after three quarters due to lightning with a 48-0 Baylor lead on the scoreboard.

Anyway, none of that has to do with Aubrey directly or conclusively, but he’s been given a chanceand the Browns will apparently see what he can do.

And that’s all I know of for now on the Browns corner situation. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think I forgot anyone. Please let me know if I did. Certainly could be prettier, but there are a lot of prospects that maybe not all of us have considered too heavily. There’s also time to hit the panic switch and sign some kind of veteran. Hey, maybe Sheldon Brown can come back on a one year deal.

Right?

Guys?

  1. He has no stupid nicknames here. []

  • Harv 21

    Count me in as a mild Trevin Wade fan, and agree he looks bigger on the field than he is. If anyone currently on the roster who can make the jump from fringe guy to average NFL corner, my vote’s with this guy.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Clamoring, pining I think someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed but I don’t blame you Craig after reading your commentary my worries about the secondary I’m as concerned as you. Seems like the Browns are going for the “quantity over quality” strategy throwing as many names at the problem hoping one works out.

    The good news is we’re still in April and as Craig mentioned there are still other possible scenarios to improve what is easily the weakest area of the team, the secondary.

  • mgbode

    obligatory note that Mathieu is a NFL FS, not CB. He just never had the cover-corner skills to play CB up a level + you lose his best attributes (free-lancing ballhawk)

  • BenRM

    Guys I work with are in love with Bademosi.

    Look, at the end of the day, the hope is that one of these guys plays just well enough to be an acceptable starter and let the front 7, Haden, and Ward do the heavy lifting.

    That’s a relatively low bar.

  • mgbode

    I think McFadden can/will make it as a legit starting NFL CB. I also think that he will have his struggles, blown coverages, etc. that happen with rookie CBs.

    If Wade comes on strong or Skrine learns to play without committing DPI on every long pass, then great. But, I wouldn’t mind Sheldon Brown or another veteran CB just in case that doesn’t happen.

  • BIKI024

    Horton has done an excellent job of coaching up his corners over his career and the stats back it up with AZ being Top 5 against the pass last year.

    Of course with his system, everything starts up with the Front 7 disrupting the flow/timing of the offense. But if you look at the talent he’s been working with, sans Patrick Peterson, (who is no better than Haden) there isn’t any bluechip talents and it seems Horton has done a great job of coaching them up. Before we start buggin out, let’s see how he fares with the grouping he has here in Cleve

    Arizona:
    DB2: W. Gay 5’10 190 – 5th round pick in 2007
    DB3: J. Fleming 5’11 206 – 3rd round in 2012
    DB4: J. Bethel 6″0 190 – 6th rounder in 2012

    so basically he was working with 2 rookies at nickel and dime last year.

    In Ray Horton We Trust!

  • Jaker

    Where is Greg Toler? He was a big player for them last year

  • BIKI024

    Whoops my bad, good looks..

    DB3: Greg Toler 6′ 192 – 4th rounder in 2009

  • Robbie S

    I actually really liked what I saw out of Bademosi last year. I wouldn’t mind seeing him compete for the Safety position to be honest. Trevin Wade is another guy I liked seeing on the field last year as well. Both looked better than Skrine.

  • Jaker

    I saw Barnes in Washington a few times over the last three years. He’s probably the odd man out on this roster. Assuming we don’t make any other additions at the position, I think the depth will look something like this : Haden, McFadden, Skrine, Owens, Wade, Bademosi.

    Bademosi can play S and ST as well, making him the best candidate for the last spot.

    Wade was at once a top 100 talent that slid in the draft, so he makes it on upside (year 2, the year to prove or lose it! Right Weeden?).

    Owens was solid as a nickel last season, should be fine as a dime or nickel here as well.

    Skrine was the most frustrating Brown at times last year (second to Shurmur, IMO), but he now has a lot of NFL experience going into year 3, and he’s pretty decent when not covering on the outside. I look for him to be pleasantly improved this year as a legit option at slot corner.

    McFadden will have a chance to earn the job outright, and I think his superior man overage skills land him the job week 1.

    Haden, well, just make sure you stay on the field.

    All in all, I’ll take this group

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Patterson is better then Haden, Gay learned under the Steelers before leaving for Arizona and the Cardinals defense fell off since their SB appearance. Of course being on the field 3/4 of the game didn’t help thanks to that offense.

  • BIKI024

    Gay learned under the Steelers.. guess who is DB coach was?

    Cardinals defense fell off? Check last year’s stats.

    Jury still is out on if Patterson is better than Haden. they both are at the top of the league.

  • mgbode

    yeah, but the Browns have been limbo kings since ’99 at finding a way under the lowest of bars

  • mgbode

    yeah, top5 pass defense last year despite their offense keeping them on the field a ton. also, Gay signed to be a backup in Pitt, Adrian Wilson signed a near-minimum deal in NE, and Rhodes is still an UFA. So, the NFL is saying they didn’t think Horton had a ton of talent to get that defense working.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I couldn’t get past 5-11 for Arizona and I like Haden and I’m glad he’s in Cleveland but I like Patterson more.

    Like I’ve said previously the main thing I hold onto for the new coaching staff is the fact that Chudzinski brought in what appear to be two very capable coordinators. Unlike past regimes where the HC felt he had to be the judge, jury and executioner aka his way or the highway.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    “All in all, I’ll take this group,” you don’t have a choice!

  • Ezzie Goldish

    I’m not sure I get the ripping on Skrine. The guy was outstanding as a dime and nickel back, and last year got thrust into the unenvious position of covering other teams’ #1s thanks to Joe Haden’s suspension. The reason we noticed how badly he looked was because unlike the Eric Wrights of the world, he stayed with his guys and got beat despite relatively decent coverage and because he’s rather small, so on the outside it’s easier to get killed on that. Playing inside especially in a nickel coverage or 3-3-5 which the Browns will likely play often, he will be quite good IMO. Throw in that he’s great on special teams as well, and I don’t get the love for Bademosi and Wade over him – they did well in lower roles just as he did. I think people are underrating the Browns’ secondary overall, though obviously it remains to be seen if McFadden can be that CB#2 and it’s unclear if Hagg or Brown or whomever will be the FS.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Yeah, if you want to point a finger, it should be entirely at the offensive side of the ball in Arizona. They gave up the most sacks in the league (and failed to draft a tackle this year), and they seemingly lacked talent at every position except the one that Larry Fitzgerald was inhabiting.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    No doubt poor Larry killed my one fantasy team. At least this year he’ll have Palmer throwing to him that is of course if Palmer can remain upright long enough.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Unfortunately for Skrine, it wasn’t just #1s beating him, it was everybody when he matched up on the outside. In the first Bengals game, he got torched by Green, Tate, and Hawkins for big gains. He’s a really nice nickel and dime corner… I don’t ever want to see him on the outside again.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    This would be my biggest worry… Palmer is completely immobile and he’s going to be a sitting duck behind that awful O-line. If he makes it through the first 4 games without an injury, I’ll be shocked.

  • BenRM

    Way to harsh my high, man

  • Jaker

    Nice

  • Jaker

    Edit: “All in all, this could be a lot worse. I like this group”…

    Better?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    God save the queen if we have to parse words in order to feel better! We all b screwed if that’s the case.

  • Harv 21

    yep, kid has talent but at his height you just cannot match him all game against talented 6’3″+ receivers who post him up or out-jump him. He clearly felt pass interference giving them the spot foul was a lesser evil than his man breaking his tackle and taking it to the house.

    He’s a typically flawed fifth round corner, and if he was 3 inches taller he would have gone in the second or third round. Let him cover the seam and use his speed and quicks to run with the smurfs. We still need that.

  • mgbode

    but Carson Palmer is a quitting d-bag, so we’ll all just laugh (poor Fitz)

  • Powell in Nac

    Concerning Josh Aubrey — I’ve been a fan and watched him develop during the years here at SFA. It’s true that he and Jordan (his twin brother) went to SFA because larger schools like A&M and Oklahoma were recruiting only one or the other but couldn’t take both. It’s also true about the Baylor game, but Josh always looked like he belonged with SFA played those big schools. I remember watching him hold A&M’s elite receiver to 18 yards in that game. The guy can cover – he’s fast (4.4,40) and really strong (21 reps at 225lbs) and jumps crazy high (38 inch vertical). Plus, his football instincts are NFL caliber — I think Cleveland can use him!

  • Jaker

    Relax, the Queen is fine

  • woofersus

    I was kind of thinking that myself, but it seemed like no analysts were saying it. When I watch tape of him, I see a safety.

  • BIKI024

    5’9 186lb Safety?? that might put him at smallest in the NFL, would need to put on about 20-25

  • mgbode

    it’s the moment you relax and are not serious that she’s vulnerable. that’s why those guards are so stone-like.

  • mgbode

    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/L/LeonJi23.htm

    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/SandBo99.htm

    there are others too. and those 2 guys were SS. at FS, with his skillset, he’ll be fine. also, Arizona has already said he is playing FS.

  • Jaker

    I played ‘Fat Bottom Girls’ in my head endlessly yesterday

  • Old Coach

    I agree, I thought Bademosi looked good when he filled in last year.

  • Kildawg

    Let the fight commence for CB #s 2-5, with #5 being a depth guy/major ST contributor. Bademosi would be better at FS, and a decent option in covering TEs. Don’t be surprised if one (or two) of these guys are traded for late round draft picks. Ray Horton knows how to coach up DBs, he did it for that team we hate most when they last won a Super Bowl.