Cleveland Browns 2012 Plan: Safety UFA Prospects They Should Sign
The final position I would like to see the team fill with a veteran UFA is the free safety spot. The
FS is the last line of defense. In 2011 the D played well but gave up way too many long TDs because the safeties were taking the wrong angle to the play or just out of position.
They need someone to pair with T.J. Ward that can be the center fielder to prevent the big play from going to the end zone.
While Eric Hagg shows some progress, he is too much of a SS to play with Ward. We have seen both Usama Young and Mike Adams misjudge the speed of players and miss key TD-saving tackles.
With an improved front line (hopefully including a new DE), the addition of a FS would help even more in 2012.
Michael Griffin, Titans, 6’0”, 203, 28
Griffin was the 19th overall pick in 2007. He started the last 10 games of 2007 and has
started for the Titans since.
He has had 17 interceptions with 44 passes defended and 389 total tackles. He has good speed and instincts to get to a position to make plays.
He is very solid against the run and plays zone defense very well. He is not quite as good at man
coverage but has good ball sense.
He is better at both types of coverage than any S the Browns have on the roster now. The best factor is that he has missed starting only one game and has not missed a game due to injury his whole career.
This will be another high profile UFA that the Browns would not even consider in 2011. We will see
how active the team will be in 2012.
Tyvon Branch, Raiders, 6’0”, 200, 26
Branch was the first pick in the fourth round of the 2008 draft (pick 100). He played in
eight games that year but has started the last three seasons. He has 16 passes defended and three interceptions. He also has 347 tackles.
While Branch is not as skilled as LaRon Landry of the Redskins, he also has not missed a single game with an injury. Branch has cornerback speed and safety toughness.
He was the leading tackler in 2011. He has above-average athleticism for a safety with the ability to jump with TEs for the ball.
The Raiders will do their best to resign him but he may want to explore other options. He should be a reasonably priced S that the Browns might be willing to consider.
Thomas DeCoud, Falcons, 6’2”, 192, 27
DeCoud was a late third-round pick of the Falcons in 2008 (pick 98). He played ten games that
year and has been the starter since. He has 17 passes defended with eight interceptions and 234 tackles.
He is a good athlete with decent S speed. He is a good tackler but not as active as
His major asset is his height. He is able to battle the TEs with his size and strength. The Falcons will try to re-sign him but have more critical areas with UFAs that will be a higher priority.
If the Browns are looking at S, he may be the kind of player they would go after.
Dashon Goldson, 49ers, 6’2”, 200, 28
Goldson was a fourth-round pick in 2007 (pick 126). He played ten games that year and
nine in 2008 but only got two starts that year. He has started in the last three years for the team.
He has 23 passes defended with 11 interceptions and 277 total tackles.
He has good athleticism with above average strength and ball awareness. He is a good tackler with decent speed but is not as instinctive as the others on this list.
He would be a less expensive alternative for the Browns. San Francisco has quite a few UFAs to
address, including their starting QB Alex Smith. Goldson may fall through the cracks.
I have omitted LaRon Landry, who I really liked coming out of LSU, only because he has had so many games lost to injury.
While he was the fourth overall pick in 2008, he has played only 17 games in the last 2 years.
That is what I think. Tell us what you think.
If you like this, join me on the Internet radio version of News, Notes and Rumors M-Th at 6 PM EST on http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com. He
has also published several novels on http://www.eBooks-Library.com/Contemporary/
and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.
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