Leon McFadden to get bigger role for stretch run
Aug 29, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Joe Anderson (19) makes a catch against Cleveland Browns cornerback Leon McFadden (29) during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
There has been a lot of criticism and concern over the Browns third round pick Leon McFadden. When he was drafted, many were penciling him into the starting lineup because they were so convinced that Buster Skrine was terrible. He got banged up in camp, which made winning the starting job impossible that he suddenly was their fourth corner, which caused some to already call McFadden a bust. The Browns have announced that after the bye week, McFadden should have a bigger role.
This makes a ton of sense for a few reasons. First, McFadden was able to get healthy and work to be able to produce. The bye week gives him more opportunities to get reps and show he is ready to do the job. They are not forced to throw him to the wolves and have been able to ease him into the job.
Second, despite the fact that Chris Owens has had success on the blitz, he has been terrible. To think there were people in the local media who thought the battle between Owens and Skrine for the starting job was neck and neck in training camp. Skrine has been fantastic while Owens is a one trick pony and that trick has nothing to do with covering anyone.
As a result, if McFadden is bad, it will be difficult to see a drop off from Owens. However, if McFadden can come in and make a difference, the Browns suddenly have a far more effective secondary that can really be effective. The pressure is off and he can just come in and work on his game. Hopefully, he can hit the ground running now that he is coming in for the stretch run and Ray Horton is confident that can happen.
The injuries have in camp were frustrating for McFadden as well as everyone else, but they really made it tough for him to keep up with everything when it came to getting badly needed reps. Nevertheless, the calls that he is already a bust (Dustin Fox) have been absurd. The Browns do need to find out if they need to address the nickel or if they are just looking to bring in depth and competition to develop beneath their top three corners going forward. Hopefully, McFadden can come in and show why they felt he was worth a third round pick and along with Barkevious Mingo and Armonty Bryant so far, this draft class, as small as it was, can show its value both now and for the future.