Our final position in our 2016 Cleveland Browns training camp preview is at safety, where there are 7 players in camp. In part 1, we'll look at Jordan Poyer, Ibraheim Campbell, Rahim Moore, and Derrick Kindred. In part 2, we'll dissect Don Jones, Sean Baker, and Tim Scott.
1. JORDAN POYER - COMPETING TO BE THE STARTING FREE SAFETY
Last year, Poyer had a career high in tackles (43) and logged his first sack and first interceptions (2). He played in 14 games and made 4 starts throughout the season. Each of his interceptions came in games in which he started. In 2014, he led the team with 12 special teams tackles, and last year he had 6. If he is a starter, his role on special teams might fade away in favor of someone like rookie Derrick Kindred.
All of the Browns' safeties struggled to tackle last year, including Poyer. When he first joined the Browns, he had the reputation of being a hard-hitter. Coming out of college, scouting reports touted his ball skills and his ability to react quickly to quarterbacks, something he did against Ben Roethlisberger a year ago. I've thought that he was an average rotational safety over the past couple of years, but we'll see if can continue being a playmaker in a starting role. Tashaun Gipson came out of no where, so why can't Poyer?
Final Roster Odds: 100%
2. IBRAHEIM CAMPBELL - COMPETING TO BE THE STARTING STRONG SAFETY
Ibraheim Campbell is another player who last year's coaching staff really screwed up with regarding his utilization. He was a fourth-round pick by the club last year, billed as a backup strong safety to Donte Whitner. For the first half of the season, though, both Whitner and Tashaun Gipson were playing abysmal on defense (as were a lot of other players). Nate Orchard saw an uptick in playing time at outside linebacker as a rookie, so we wondered why Campbell wasn't being afforded the same opportunity.
When Campbell finally received an opportunity to see more reps and even start one game in Week 9, he stood out in a positive way by not missing any tackles and generally being in good position. After Whitner returned, the Browns sent Campbell back to the bench to where he basically did not play the rest of the season. It was like, "we finally found a guy who had a good defensive game for not just one, but two, games in a row, but we don't care about that."
Last year when the Browns drafted him, PFF said the following about Campbell:
Box safety who was a solid run defender with a fairly low missed tackle count – Campbell graded negatively there just once last season against Illinois. Also got his hands on a combined five passes in coverage to finish slightly positive against the pass, though it’s not his strong suit after surrendering a catch on more than 60% of passes thrown his way.
That's what I want to see from my strong safety, and I think it's what we saw in a limited sample size with Campbell in 2015.
Final Roster Odds: 100%
3. RAHIM MOORE - BACKUP FREE SAFETY
Rahim Moore was a 2nd-round draft pick by thein 2011. From 2011-2014, he was mostly a full-time starter for the Broncos. When his rookie contract expired in 2015, Moore agreed to a 3-year, $12 million deal with the . After starting the first six games of the season, though, he was so bad that he was benched and did not return to the field. Aaron Wilson of the Houston-Chronicle said that Moore "struggled with tackling, pursuit, and assignments."
Moore will compete for the starting free safety job withto see who will replace the departed . Moore isn't very good at defending the run, but has had some decent seasons in coverage; maybe Ray Horton can get him back on track. Moore likely chose Cleveland as his free agency destination because there was a starting safety spot open, and if he redeems himself on a 1-year deal, a bigger payday could be in store for 2017. Either way, I don't think that bodes well for him being in Cleveland long-term, which is why I feel the coaching staff will use him as depth but with the anticipation that Poyer will start. But there's no harm in taking a flier on a guy who was a solid contributor for Denver for several years, is looking to redeem himself, and is still relatively young.
Final Roster Odds: 90%
4. DERRICK KINDRED - BACKUP STRONG SAFETY
Derrick Kindred was the Browns' third selection in the 4th round of this year's draft. As described by Dane Bruglar's pre-draft review on him, he showed a lot of toughness in college by playing through a broken collarbone instead of having surgery:
A two-year starter at TCU, Kindred lined up at free safety in the Horned Frogs’ 4-2-5 scheme, showing consistent improvement each season. A week prior to the 2015 season, Kindred suffered a broken collarbone and the trainers recommended surgery, but he decided to play through the injury and didn’t miss a start as a senior. He didn’t allow the injury to deter his attacking mindset or aggressiveness, always hunting and seeking out contact. Kindred has above average straight-line speed for the position, which shows on kickoff and punt coverages, but he plays with some stiffness and struggles to anticipate routes. Although his lapses in coverage lowers his pro ceiling, Kindred has the grit and competitive nature to make a roster as a back-up and special teamer.
After the Browns drafted him, here is what PFF had to say about Kindred:
Kindred was the 22nd-highest graded Power-5 safety last season with positive grades in both coverage and run defense. He yielded only 18 of 39 targets into his coverage for 264 yards while breaking up three passes and intercepting two others. He had a bit of an issue with tackling, missing 15 in 91 attempts.
I envision Kindred playing a role on special teams as a rookie, which is why it's a bit concerning that he missed so many tackles. Although Kindred saw more time at free safety in college, by virtue of the way the depth chart is shaking out, I have him penciled in at strong safety.
Final Roster Odds: 95%
Today's poll asks which duo you think will start at safety.