Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Fixing the Browns' secondary
By Tim Kavanagh
Our post on Tuesday morning outlining some ways in which the Cleveland Browns can improve their own club and weaken their division rivals by signing away free agents from those teams included just one player that would be inserted into the defensive backfield, Steelers impending free agent CB Keenan Lewis. However, this is an area where the Browns need to improve -- regardless of the scheme up-front -- and they've got some options as to how they'll get this done.
Mike Kurtz of Football Outsiders did his run-through of the AFC North in the "Plugging the Holes" series this week, and though he concedes that Joe Haden and T.J. Ward can be part of a successful unit, he explains the rest of the problem like so:
"The other two spots here are wide open. Sheldon Brown is a free agent and likely won't be back after allowing a 51 percent success rate (57th); second-year corner Buster Skrine played both inside and outside with a 45 percent success rate (77th); and free safety Usama Young is thoroughly unremarkable."
Sounds like an area in need of some improvement. So what's the plan?
Mike KurtzPlugging the Holes: AFC North
"There are a couple of directions the Browns could go with these positions. The free-agent market features a number of imperfect cornerbacks who make good buy-low candidates: Brent Grimes, for example, was fabulous for Atlanta in 2011 but is coming off ACL surgery, while Sean Smith has never quite lived up to his potential but might look very good with Haden taking the opponent's top receiver. The Browns are in position to draft promising Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, which would potentially give them a fearsome pair of man corners after a couple years of maturation."