In his weekly Sunday column, Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto talked about the Browns' depth at the cornerback position, whether Joshua Cribbs could take some playing time away from Mohamed Massaquoi again, the early reviews of the team's pair of young defensive tackles, and how the veteran coaches added to the staff this offseason has not gone unnoticed.
After the jump, we highlight what Pluto said about John Hughes and Billy Winn, and how his current impression of the team's safety position differs from what I wrote in The Sunday Five this morning.
Here is what Pluto said about Hughes and Winn:
5. The Browns were happy with third-rounder John Hughes and sixth-rounder Billy Winn in the early camps. The two rookie defensive tackles now are more important with Phil Taylor out for at least the first eight games because of surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle. No one is tackling yet, so it's hard to draw grand conclusions. But the Browns drafted Hughes with the idea that he can immediately become a rotation player in the middle of the line.
6. The Browns had Winn rated higher than the sixth round, and they were extremely pleased to grab him at the bottom of the draft. Heckert's approach to defense is to stack up the linemen and cornerbacks.
It is good to hear something about Hughes and Winn, because most of the early reports I had encountered talked about offensive players like Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson, Travis Benjamin, Brad Smelley, and Josh Cooper. The big question on my mind is still, "who is ahead of who on the depth chart between Hughes and Winn?" As backwards as it sounds, it might be more beneficial to keep one guy -- Hughes -- in his anticipated role of being a rotation player, while pushing a guy like Winn -- who was "somewhat of a steal" -- into the starting position. An idea is to have a constant rotation between Hughes, Winn, and a guy like Scott Paxson, but you also want to develop some sort of continuity and have one guy be labeled as the starter, right?
The other comment made by Pluto involved the safety position and youngster Eric Hagg:
5. With Michael Adams signing with Denver, the Browns appear content with T.J. Ward and Usama Young as their starting safeties with Hagg in reserve. But the Browns coaches have been so pleased with Hagg in the early camps (and how he played late last season), they believe he could end up starting some games.
This could definitely end up being the case, and we probably shouldn't jump to any firm conclusions at this point. It could be very obvious once training camp rolls around who the projected starter is. Mike Adams vs. Usama Young was a top position battle last year in camp, and it looks like it's shaping up to be an Eric Hagg vs. Usama Young position battle this year. Young never made it a competition last year due to injuries in camp; we'll see if he stays healthy this year so that he can put up a fight.