"The Sunday Five" is a loosely-titled piece where I talk about five NFL- or Browns-related topics related to this past week. In tonight's late-night bonus edition, we take a look at what it means that the team did not draft a safety, our record-breaking numbers this past weekend for Dawgs By Nature, and more. (Our early edition of The Sunday Five can be found here).
Prior to the draft, I addressed the issue of the team's depth at the safety position. All things considered, besides the wide receiver position, safety is the position that largely went unaddressed in free agency and the draft. Let's consider the facts from last year. Last year, the team signed free agent safety Usama Young as a candidate to start over veteran safety Mike Adams. Young suffered an injury in camp, and as a result, Adams won the safety job by default (although you could say that he won it by playing better in camp, too). Adams started 16 games at safety for the first time in his career. T.J. Ward played a few games at safety before suffering a season-ending injury. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Young for the remainder of the season.
Now, let's consider what the team has done this offseason at the safety position. Adams was a free agent, but the team chose not to retain him. That means that the team's current safety position looks like this: T.J. Ward, Usama Young, and Eric Hagg. Hagg had some experience last year, but not the amount to make you think he'll be elevated to a big-time role. Young had a couple of nice blitzes last year, but appeared to be the weakest player of the bunch. Are we really counting on those three guys to be the team's group of safeties? Cleveland did not even take a flier on a safety with one of their late-round picks. Instead, they took cornerback Trevin Wade in the seventh-round, a guy who was rated by some as a mid-round prospect.
At cornerback, could it be a real possibility that Sheldon Brown moves over to safety? It is something that the media has brought up for the past couple of seasons. Two years ago and even last year, it seemed like the front office would shoot the idea down. This offseason, I get the sense that the front office, and even Brown himself, weren't so quick to shoot the idea down. Instead of paying the big bucks to retain Mike Adams, the team opened their wallet to retain Dimitri Patterson this offseason. People wondered why we would spend so much on a nickel back, so maybe that's not the case. If he is making "starter money," maybe the team believes he can start this year opposite of Patterson, with Brown moving over to safety in the same role Adams played last year. Buster Skrine and Trevin Wade can come in to compete for the nickel back role. We'll see how things unfold as camp approaches, but given what has happened over the past two offseasons, I think Brown-to-safety might finally become a reality.
I thought our division rivals had pretty good drafts, particularly Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. It was pretty rough to see David DeCastro fall right into Pittsburgh's lap, and we'll see if Mike Adams' drop in draft value makes him a steal for Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, when you look at the Bengals' past two drafts, they have no doubt done an unbelievable job at revamping that team. What Cleveland did this year -- taking a quarterback and a running back to overhaul the...West Coast Offense -- reminds me of what the Bengals did last year when they got A.J. Green and Andy Dalton. Cincinnati might be one year ahead of Cleveland in terms of drafting, but with one more good year of drafting, you will look up and down this Cleveland roster and see a lot of high-quality, young talent that is finally able to put together a winning team consistently (...or so we hope).
It's time for our annual traffic numbers for DBN for the three-day draft weekend! (Last year's numbers can be found here). On Day 1 of the draft, we had 14 front page posts and 4,966 comments. We did not break a record in terms of front page posts (last year, we had 15 on Day 1 of the draft), but the number of comments was by far a new record (last year, we had 2,484 comments on Day 1). On Day 2 of the draft, we had 7 posts and 2,633 comments. Finally, on Day 3 of the draft, we had 11 posts and 1,972 comments. Combining all of those figures together, the three days of the draft had 32 posts and 9,571 comments, beating last year's three-day stretch of 30 posts and 5,566 comments. Thanks to everyone who made the weekend possible, including our great staff and our continuously-growing user base!