Cleveland Browns 2017 training camp position preview: The safeties
A quick preview of one of the most improved position groups this offseason for the Cleveland Browns defense, the safeties.
Though they share much of the responsibility with the cornerbacks, the Cleveland Browns’ safeties were part of the reason the team performed so miserably in the area of pass defense in 2016.
This season, in an effort to reverse this troubling trend, the Browns have taken strides to improve at both the cornerback and the safety position.
The safeties especially have changed fairly dramatically. With the addition of Calvin Pryor via a trade with the New York Jets and Jabrill Peppers brought in through the draft, help is on the way to Cleveland.
The Browns still have Jamar Taylor, who is set to take command of Cleveland’s secondary alongside cornerback Joe Haden, composing a strong pass defense at least as far as the starters are concerned.
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The one weakness which stands out is the clear lack of depth at the safety position. Beyond Taylor, Peppers, and Pryor, experience is nearly non-existent. The Browns do have Ed Reynolds who stepped in near the end of last season and gave all he could. But barring some sort of turnaround of epic proportions, Reynolds is not starter material.
Though they needed to give up one of their more reliable linebackers in Demario Davis, acquiring Pryor does give the Browns some flexibility at the safety position.
As a free safety, Pryor can play the role that Jordan Poyer had last season, and could quite possibly be an upgrade. He will most likely share time with Peppers, who is poised to also have an immediate impact.
The Browns will have to work everything out defensively with a surplus of free safeties, but certainly won’t mind the flexibility. Peppers has the potential of becoming one of the more athletic members of any NFL secondary, and his play-making ability should benefit the Browns both defensively and on special teams.
Size and depth are two questions when it comes to Cleveland safeties, but overall, the position group looks much stronger on the surface entering this season than it did coming into last.
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Now, the hope is that this group can remain healthy and find the necessary chemistry to turn their potential into a successful season defending against opposing passing attacks.