Our final 2016 Cleveland Browns positional previews for training camp will cover the secondary, starting with cornerback, where there are 11 players in camp. In part 1, we'll look at Joe Haden, Tramon Williams, K'Waun Williams, and Justin Gilbert. In part 2, we'll dig in to Jamar Taylor, Charles Gaines, Pierre Desir, and Trey Caldwell. Finally, in part 3, we'll finish things off with Eric Patterson, Mikell Everette, and Tracy Howard.
1. JOE HADEN - NO. 1 STARTING CORNERBACK
Haden surprised the Browns in March when he informed them he was having ankle surgery. It is believed that he re-aggravated an ankle injury that he suffered in last year's game against the Arizona Cardinals. The team estimated that he would miss some or most of training camp, but would be ready to return for Week 1 of the regular season. Back in May, Haden ditched his walking boot and vowed that he will not miss any regular season games. The team desperately needs Haden to have a bounce back season in 2016, because when he is at the top of his game, he's the one player who can produce a trickle down effect to the rest of the defense in a positive manner.
Final Roster Odds: 100%
2. TRAMON WILLIAMS - NO. 2 STARTING CORNERBACK
Tramon Williams started the season out fine in 2015 as the replacement for Buster Skrine, but at the season went along and everybody else on defense continued to struggle, Williams became a sore spot defensively too. There were also a couple of games in which he was blamed for the loss -- such as being called offsides on a game-winning field goal attempt by the Chargers, and also allowing a long touchdown pass to the Super Bowl Champion Broncos.
This past June, Williams admitted that he was frustrated throughout last season. It probably didn't help that he was thrust into the No. 1 cornerback role due to Joe Haden's concussions. If Haden is at his best, one would like to think that Williams is a competent No. 2 cornerback for the Browns. Is he, though? Keep in mind that in 2014 with the Green Bay Packers, he was victimized by plenty of touchdown passes. Last year was rough for everybody. Now, Williams is 33 years of age, with several recent draft picks (Justin Gilbert, Charles Gaines, Pierre Desir, and Trey Caldwell) clamoring to move up on the depth chart. Williams should have a decent grip on his starting role, but at the same time, the team would love one of those youngsters to have a breakout camp.
Final Roster Odds: 95%
3. K'WAUN WILLIAMS - PRIMARY NICKELBACK
Early last season, K'Waun Williams suffered his third concussion in less than a year, forcing him to miss two games. He also missed one game later in the season due to a shoulder injury. Other than that, he was probably the team's most stable cornerback in the 13 games that he played.
Williams established himself as an above average nickelback during the Mike Pettine years, but with his injury history and a new defensive coordinator coming to town, Williams' job security isn't set in stone just yet. He'll have to fight off the other hungry, young talent behind him on the depth chart. Because of how consistent he's been over the past two years, I have faith in Williams' ability to come through.
Final Roster Odds: 95%
4. JUSTIN GILBERT - COMPETING TO SHOW HE BELONGS AT CORNERBACK
This is a make-or-break camp for Justin Gilbert. He's been practically red-shirted for the first two years of his career despite being an 8th overall pick in 2014. I'm sure a lot of his struggles were based on his personality and his stubbornness in believing that his athletic ability alone is all he needed to play the cornerback position.
The other part of his struggles can be blamed on Mike Pettine, who desperately wanted to draft Gilbert against others' wishes, and then basically distanced himself from Gilbert rather than nurturing him once he saw the type of person he was. The new Browns' coaching staff is willing to give Gilbert a clean slate, but included in that slate is the fact that they should be ignoring his draft status. Gilbert is no-longer a first-round pick who the team can take their time with. Instead, he'll be evaluated in camp, and if he looks like he can play a role to help this team in Week 1, he'll be on the roster. If not, he's gone. I think it's a true coin flip heading into camp regarding whether Gilbert makes it or not.
Final Roster Odds: 50%
Today's poll asks whether you think Justin Gilbert will be on the roster in Week 1.