Thursday, April 5, 2018

Full secondary

There is no question whatsoever the Browns will select a quarterback with the top selection in the National Football League’s college draft later this month.

It’s the fourth pick of the lottery, the one the Browns received from the Houston Texans last season, that brings into question whose name will land on the card delivered to Commissioner Roger Goodell.

There are a significant number of possibilities to render that choice, at least right now, difficult to predict. But one thing is virtually certain. It will not be a defensive back.

What? When guys like Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick and Denzel Ward of Ohio State most certainly will be on the board? Not even then?

Nope. Can’t see it.

Have you looked at the Browns roster lately? It lists 17 secondary candidates to fill maybe eight or nine spots on the final roster.

Breaking it down, it shows 11cornerbacks and six safeties, several talented and versatile enough to play most of the four positions in the defensive backfield. 

So why in the world would General Manager John Dorsey and his guys even think about adding to the secondary roster? Aren’t 17 candidates enough to make a determination as to who opens the season back there?

Why muddy the situation by bringing in more players unless it’s a case of throwing as many darts against a board in hopes some of them will stick. Strength in numbers? Again, can’t see it.

Dorsey needs ro turn his attention to an area of the defense that significantly impacts the secondary – the pass rush.

How many times last season did we see defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, noted for his aggressive style, resort semi frequently to soft zone coverage because of a so-so pass rush?

If you can’t get to the quarterback, man coverage is mostly ineffective. If the quarterback has a lot of time to throw, even the best corners in the NFL have a tough time in coverage.

They rely on the guys up front to make opposing quarterbacks deliver the ball before they want. Disrupt the timing. When that happens, secondaries are much more effective.

A good pass rush is the secondary’s best friend. It shortens their coverage time and gives them a better chance of making a play. That’s the area that requires a much closer look.

Of the 17 candidates, 11 are returnees, including cornerback Howard Wilson, a fourth-round draft pick last season who fractured his kneecap last May and spent the season on injured reserve.

Among the six newcomers, corners E. J. Gaines and T. J. Carrie are certain to make the final roster, if not nail a starting job. And Damarious Randall, who came over in the DeShone Kizer trade, is already penciled in as the starting free safety.

So why, then, would Dorsey even think about grabbing someone like Ward or Fitzpatrick with the fourth pick if the secondary is virtually set? That’s why he probably won’t, at least in the first two rounds, if at all.
*       *       *
Had a good laugh today. Quarterback Kevin Hogan has asked the Browns to trade him.

What made me chuckle is the Browns gave Hogan and his reps permission to see what’s out there and see if anyone bites. Of course they did, knowing they will release him if that effort comes up empty

Question: What took Hogan so long to make the request? Surely he had to see his time in Cleveland was over.

Another question: What team would be willing to deal for the marginal NFL quarterback when they know the Browns are going to release him anyway?

The Jacksonville Jaguars recently – and surprisingly – surrendered a future conditional seventh–round pick for Cody Kessler, whose credentials shine just a wee bit brighter than Hogan’s.

There was no way Hogan would be back for the 2018 season in Cleveland as Dorsey emptied the quarterbacks room from last season’s history-making club.

Good laugh, though.


  1. Another DB Certainly Could Wait Until A Later Round. Would You Pick Chubb Or Barkley At Four Considering The Last Year's Pass Rush And Last Year's Running Game?. A Dominant Running Game Or A Dominant Pass Rush? That Fourth Overall Pick May Be As Important As The First Overall Pick.

  2. I'm conflicted currently on whether to take Barkley or Chubb at 4 if they are there. Choosing either one has a strong argument in favor of doing so. And yes, it is a vital pick, one I hope the Browns keep unless they swap places with Denver at 5.