Browns Options To Address Cornerback Depth

A look at some options for the Browns to address much needed cornerback depth.
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Cleveland addressed a major need in the 2021 NFL Draft by landing a talented cornerback in the first round, Greg Newsome ll. The addition of Newsome provides the team with another cornerback who will battle for the spot to play opposite of Denzel Ward.

Greedy Williams coming back from injury will be Newsome’s competition for the second cornerback position. Whoever doesn’t win that battle should provide the team with quality depth, still playing a ton. When you get past those two players it is M.J. Stewart and Robert Jackson rounding out the cornerback room.

Guys In House

M.J. Stewart gave the Browns some decent moments in 2020, but look lost at times as well. Stewart is a guy best fit for special teams, playing on defense when absolutely needed. If everything goes right for the Browns defense in 2021 Stewart should not be playing meaningful snaps, unless on special teams - where he could take another step forward. He’s not a lock to make the team, but a nice camp and he could land on the team.

Back to Robert Jackson, a guy that has spent his two-year NFL career with the Browns, whether it was active roster or practice squad. Jackson played late in the season for Cleveland out of pure need, when they had absolutely no one. He wasn’t scared to tackle and tried to be physical at times, but was often targeted and didn’t stop much. Overall, the Browns would be wise to bring in some more competition to round out the depth chart. For these two guys to be your depth that you will be relying on, they would have to make an unreal jump in the offseason. It is just not likely to happen.

Gareon Conley

This one may make the most since for the Browns on a number of fronts, one being that he is from Northeast Ohio. Conley played his high school ball before he went to Ohio State and developed into a first round draft pick. Drafted by the Raiders, Conley may have been a reach - the Raiders franchise has been the definition of reaching for a while now.

Conley only played in two games during his rookie season, but was very solid in his second professional season. Starting 15 games for the Raiders and recorded three interceptions, a touchdown and 15 passes defended. Conley looked like he may have been heading to a level that few cornerbacks are capable of, then he fell off.

Going over to the Houston Texans in a trade, Conley’s play took a step back. In 2020 he didn’t play and it’s unknown just how healthy he is at the moment. If Conley is indeed healthy he is a nice option to bring in, he is still young at 25 years old and won’t be expensive.

Conley has seen some success in the NFL on the outside. He won’t be heavily relied on, the potential to be good in a limited role is very well there. If the ankles are okay, it’s a move you make as long as the price works out.

Jamar Taylor

Any Browns fan will recognize this name as Taylor spent a couple of years with the organization between 2016-2018. Taylor had three interceptions in his time in Cleveland and his fair share of good moments. Taylor played for some pretty bad Browns’ teams, so it was not very hard to stand out.

Now, 30 years old, Taylor has been a journey man around the league. Playing for the likes of Arizona, Denver, Atlanta, Seattle and San Francisco since his final season in Cleveland. Most recently Taylor spent 2020 with 49ers and had a pair of interceptions in eight games, including two starts.

Currently a free agent, Taylor isn’t going to draw much money and is a guy that is fit for a CB3 or even four role. Taylor is a lot like what Terrence Mitchell was for the Browns, he isn’t flashy or anything spectacular. Instead, he just competes and is dependable in coverage - as long as you are not asking him to do much.

This move isn’t likely, but it makes sense if you think about it. A veteran to come in to a young cornerback room and provide some depth is not a bad idea. Taylor was liked in Cleveland, but that was a couple of front offices ago. If the Browns want to indeed add a veteran in the secondary this should be a guy they take a look at, one that has some familiarity with the city of Cleveland.