Sean Jones, one of the last remnants of the Butch Davis era, has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, leaving a hole at strong safety.
After watching the Browns games last year, I can say a couple of things with confidence about Jones.
He was very good—not great—when playing in the box, and is an above average tackler. Frequently, Jones would be asked to make tackles down field on running backs that had barely been slowed down, and for the most part, he did a very good job. In '07, he made some huge plays near the goal line, and I love a strong safety that is willing to make those plays.
Also, Jones was below average in coverage, and seemingly made quite a few big mistakes. Jones either seemed to be slow, late to react, or in poor position in pass coverage. Obviously, a great deal can be said about the two young cornerbacks, but a strong safety in a 3-4 defense needs to also be good in coverage.
The Browns went after Abram Elam, and missed out. Obviously, and thankfully, they realize that Sorenson—who blitzes about 50 percent of the time he's not in for Jones—isn't the answer.
The Browns have to address this need before the season starts. I think a free agent makes the most sense, as I think it's a lot to ask a rookie to come in an play strong safety on day one.
Remember, Jones basically sat out half a year to learn the position.