In part 2 of our Cleveland Browns cornerback preview for training camp, we'll dig in to Jamar Taylor, Charles Gaines, Pierre Desir, and Trey Caldwell.
5. JAMAR TAYLOR - COMPETING TO BE A BACKUP CORNERBACK
Miami Dolphins, dropping to No. 250 overall, to acquire veteran cornerback Jamar Taylor.Browns held the No. 223 pick (second pick in the 7th round) in this year's draft. Rather than making the pick, they swapped with the
Taylor was a second-round pick by the Dolphins in 2013. He barely played as a rookie before contributing as a reserve in 2014. Last year, he played in 12 games for Miami and started in six of them. Here is what The Phinsider, our Dolphins affiliate, said about Taylor:
Taylor never developed into his potential. The team expected him to be a starter in 2015, but he ultimately lost playing time throughout the year, to the point that the Dolphins were using players at the bottom of the depth chart ahead of Taylor due to lack of trust. A fresh start with the Browns may be exactly what Taylor needs, similar to former Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis, who grew into a Pro Bowl cornerback with the Indianapolis Colts after being traded before the 2012 season after being Miami's 2009 first round pick.
Mid-way through last season, PFF had Taylor ranked near the bottom of the NFL among cornerbacks. The Miami Herald also noted that he allowed 68% of the passes thrown his way to be completed. Despite those struggles, Taylor is excited about getting a fresh start, and the Browns must have been intrigued with revamping his career by trading for him. He'll be right in the thick of things with the rest of the cornerbacks in today's preview.
Final Roster Odds: 50%
6. CHARLES GAINES - COMPETING TO BE A BACKUP CORNERBACK
Charles Gaines was a 6th-round pick by the Browns last year, and early in camp, he was groomed as the backup nickelback to K'Waun Williams. He had a strong camp and preseason, and the team believed in him enough to use the "injured reserve - designated to return" spot on him after he was battling a hamstring injury at the end of camp.
The Browns activated Gaines at the end of the season and he played in 6 games, including 4 starts, and had 15 tackles and 1 forced fumble. It was hard to evaluate Gaines as an outside cornerback after seeing him at nickelback when he was effective in camp. Gaines played the outside so-so as a rookie -- he wasn't as bad as Johnson Bademosi or Justin Gilbert out there, but he didn't look like he had the speed to stay with receivers deep. Gaines' best chance to make the team this year will be if he's second on the depth chart at nickelback and can also take over some of the duties left behind by Bademosi on special teams.
Final Roster Odds: 60%
7. PIERRE DESIR - COMPETING TO BE A BACKUP CORNERBACK
Two years ago, Pierre Desir was a raw talent who the Browns drafted in the 4th round. It was thought that he would be basically red-shirted as a rookie, but he received an opportunity to play late in the season and was impressive.
With Justin Gilbert looking like a bust, fans were excited to see if Desir could break out with a sophomore surge. Although he played in 14 games with 6 starts, the surge never came for Desir. In fact, he appeared to take steps back in all facets of his game. His tackling abilities stuck out in a negative way as something I can only describe as "soft." There were times in which he would line up in press coverage, but then wouldn't even attempt to get his hands on the receiver at the line, allowing them to have a free release to beat him upfield.
I think only one player between Desir and Gilbert will make the roster. Based on being a team-player, I'd prefer for that to be Desir, but I just wish he had shown some sign of growth in 2015. All I'm really hoping for, and this is an overused excuse for many of the team's defensive players, is that the coaching/scheme was so bad last year that everybody, including the veterans, were in disarray.
Final Roster Odds: 50%
8. TREY CALDWELL - ROOKIE CORNERBACK
Trey Caldwell was a 5th round pick in this year's draft by the Browns and had a stat line from Pro Football Focus that may turn heads:
Caldwell was definitely a deep sleeper prospect in this draft, but he had the fourth-highest pass coverage grade of any cornerback in this class. He gave up just 325 yards through the air last year and came away with an interception and nine pass breakups.
At 5-9, 185 lbs, Caldwell projects as a nickelback with the Browns. He's probably not going to take K'Waun Williams' spot this year, so I expect him to be competing with Charles Gaines for that backup nickelback spot. He's also quick and fast, so he'll also compete with Gaines to be the gunner to replace Johnson Bademosi. Caldwell also handled kick return duties in college, but there's no word yet if he'll get a chance at going that with Cleveland.
Final Roster Odds: 75%
Today's poll asks if you could only keep two of these four players, who would you keep?