Cleveland Browns: 5 Players the season is riding on

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 31: John Jenkins
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 31: John Jenkins /
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Cleveland Browns
ARLINGTON, TX – OCTOBER 08: Damarious Randall #23 of the Green Bay Packers breaks up a pass intended for Terrance Williams #83 of the Dallas Cowboys late in the fourth quarter of a football game at AT&T Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

5. Damarious Randall, Free Safety

One thing that the Cleveland Browns struggled with last season was their play at deep safety. Without a true centerfield-type player, they had to revert to using rookie Jabrill Peppers as their free safety. That move wasn’t seamless though.

Peppers isn’t a free safety and the former linebacker at Michigan was out of place deep in the secondary. To make up for his lack of instincts, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had Peppers lining up some 30-yards off the line of scrimmage so he could see what was going on and react.

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Simply put, this isn’t an ideal way to play defense in the NFL. One thing John Dorsey wanted to do this offseason was fix that issue. There were options in the draft like Mikah Fitzpatrick from Alabama. The Browns were heavily linked to him with their No. 4 overall pick, but then that idea faded when they traded quarterback DeShone Kizer to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for Damarious Randall.

The former first-round pick was a cornerback for the Packers but is returning to free safety — the position he played while at Arizona State. While he wasn’t bad at Green Bay, the hope is he becomes a true ball hawk for them.

Randall’s ability to lock up the free safety spot will be huge. With Derrick Kendrid and Peppers on the roster, they have two good options at strong safety. They just need to be able to keep them both at positions they’re meant to play.