Last year, the Browns starting cornerbacks were Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald. Safety Mike Adams replaced the erratic McDonald at corner late in the season.
Brodney Pool and Abe Elam manned the safety positions for most of the season, with Adams seeing plenty of time as well. Pool has since moved on to the New York Jets. Elam, who had no interceptions in 16 starts, returns.
The Browns made it very clear they were not pleased with last year's play in the secondary by taking a corner and two safeties in this year’s draft. Cleveland also made a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for veteran cornerback Sheldon Brown.
Competition should be fierce between rookie first round pick Joe Haden and veterans Brown, Wright, and McDonald for the starting corner spots. Second year player Coye Francies is also in the picture.
Francies didn’t see much action last year, but is very aggressive with nice size. Don’t count him out.
Whoever emerges as the starters at the cornerback positions, the Browns should be better off than they were last season. Cleveland should be deep and talented at the corners.
Cleveland had very little depth at the safety position last year. This year should be different. Rookies T.J.Ward and Larry Asante will join Elam, Adams, and Ray Ventrone in what should be a competition to watch.
Ward and Asante are punishing hitters, which is something the Browns defense has lacked for years. Adams is versatile, and can play both safety and corner while Ventrone sees most of his action on special teams. Elam had better step up his game if he wants to continue as a starter. Play making has not been his strength.
Competition will be everywhere at Browns training camp this summer. It should be fun to watch the day to day battles in the secondary.