Earlier this week, the Cleveland Browns signed free agent cornerback Dimitri Patterson of the Philadelphia Eagles. I didn't think much of the signing, because I thought he was just going to end up being camp fodder or a special teams player at best. As it turns out, defensive coordinator Dick Jauron might have bigger plans in store for Patterson.
Everyone should read this article from the Plain Dealer yesterday, in which Mary Kay Cabot talks about Patterson. The seventh-year player certainly sounded confident that he will have a role on the team this year. His tone conveys to me that the front office made it clear that he was not brought here to be camp fodder, but rather to fulfill the void left after Eric Wright decided to sign a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions instead of the Browns.
"If they need me to play inside, play outside, play safety, they know my skill set," said Patterson. "I can play all four positions and I did that in Philly. I'm just here to do whatever I can do to help this team come back."
You can add Patterson to my post on Thursday about eradicating Mangini's players. Patterson played for Jauron last year in Philly as a starter for part of the season. Obviously the Eagles decided to make some major upgrades at cornerback this offseason, but I am always in favor of taking underachieving starters and thrusting them back into a lesser role. I think the experience that they gained can only help them be a better player.
The Browns didn't waste any time moving Patterson ahead of Coye Francies and Buster Skrine on the thin depth chart. On Thursday, he saw action at nickel back with the first-team defense, while Francies and Skrine played with the second unit. According to Daniel Wolf's tweets from Friday morning's practice, with Joe Haden sidelined, Patterson is playing cornerback with the first-team defense:
Live at #Browns camp: With Haden out (or resting or whatever), Patterson is starting CB w 1st team D. U Young starting too.
It's not a guarantee that Patterson will make the final roster, but given the lack of experience after Joe Haden and Sheldon Brown, it sounds likely that he will. He'll be one of the players to watch on Saturday as fans fill Cleveland Browns Stadium for an afternoon practice session.