Is the Cleveland Browns defense the best fit for Gerald McCoy?
The Cleveland Browns may be a finalist to sign Gerald McCoy and he may end up being a perfect fit in Steve Wilks’ defense.
The Cleveland Browns were the first team to bring in free agent Gerald McCoy after he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, but did not sign him to a deal before leaving town.
The Browns getting the first visit gave the perception that they were the front-runner to sign the 31-year-old, but Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reported that was not the case. However, Cabot did report that the Browns were on his short list.
Currently, the only other reported visit for McCoy is with the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday. McCoy said he wanted to honor the visit instead of rushing to sign a deal with the Browns, despite having a good visit in Cleveland.
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A part of the reason his visit with the Browns may have went well is because of his potential role in defensive coordinator Steve Wilks’ defense. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, a part of the reason the Buccaneers released McCoy was because he is a “bit of a free-lancer.”
Breer explained that McCoy would not have fit Todd Bowles’ defense in Tampa Bay, where players can not be free-lancers and have to stick to their assignment. But because of Wilks’ aggressive defense, McCoy may fit perfectly with the Browns.
"““He’s an explosive upfield penetrator that’s at his best when allowed to attack,” said one NFC pro scouting director. “He struggles when he has to play square to the line of scrimmage, which leads to him losing his gap more than you would like.”In that regard, the Browns (with attack-oriented DC Steve Wilks), who he visited last week, would be a better fit than Tampa would’ve been this year.” – Breer, Sports Illustrated"
Wilks wants to get up-field and create havoc in the backfield, so adding a player who can penetrate like McCoy would be a good addition for his defense. And surrounding McCoy with Myles Garrett, Sheldon Richardson, Larry Ogunjobi, and Olivier Vernon would provide him with more one-on-one blocking opportunities to take advantage of.
Even if the Browns had a good visit with McCoy, it is not a guarantee McCoy will be donning the orange and brown next season. The Ravens are in a good position to impress McCoy during their visit with the defensive tackle on Tuesday.
Last season, the Ravens boasted the best defense in the NFL and would be able to find ways to use McCoy’s talent to exploit offensive lines. Baltimore’s defense fueled their strong run at the end of the season and helped them win the AFC North crown. McCoy has made it known he wants to be joining a winner wherever he signs next.
McCoy also has a familiar face with the Baltimore Ravens and their coaching staff. McCoy has ties with Ravens defensive line coach Joe Cullen, who spent 2014-2015 as the Buccaneers’ and McCoy’s defensive line coach.
The Browns will hope McCoy’s ties with Cullen will not cause him to sign with the Ravens because his addition could pay huge dividends for the Browns and their aggressive defense. A big season with the Browns could also help McCoy potentially cash in another big deal next offseason.