In Part 2 of our training camp preview on the Cleveland Browns’ cornerbacks, we look at three players who are competing for that pivotal fifth cornerback spot on the team.
5. Channing Stribling - Rookie Undrafted Cornerback
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 188 lbs | Age: 22
Experience: Rookie | College: Michigan
When you’re an undrafted free agent, you’ll take any positive press as you can get. In terms of notoriety, Stribling had at least two things jump off the page that made fans take notice of him. First is the fact that he went to college at Michigan, which means he played in the same secondary as Jabrill Peppers, one of the team’s first round draft picks. Second is the fact that, along with MLB Kenneth Olugbode, he was recognized as one of the top undrafted free agents remaining after the draft.
Pro Football Focus had Stribling as their 8th best undrafted free agent, and you can’t argue against his production in coverage a year ago:
While Stribling lacks ideal speed and size measurables, he was outstanding in coverage last season. He finished second in the draft class in both total passes broken up (15) and QB passer rating against (22.7).
PFF also noted that one of the reasons Stribling wasn’t drafted was due to his combine numbers not being impressive. To pump up Stribling’s production even more, they compared his impressive QB passer rating against (22.7) to other cornerbacks who were taken in the first round of this year’s draft:
A few of the Browns’ young players have bought in to the mentality that they know what Cleveland’s poor reputation has been, and they want to be part of a special group that turns things around. Stribling shares that mentality, especially because he wants to prove to everyone that he should’ve been drafted. I have high expectations for Stribling, but to make the roster, he’ll have to show he’s an asset on special teams.
Final Roster Odds: 35%
6. Howard Wilson - Rookie Cornerback
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 184 lbs | Age: 21
Experience: Rookie | College: Houston
The Browns drafted Wilson in the fourth round of this year's draft, which was before the team added Jason McCourty. The initial thought was that Wilson could compete for the No. 4 cornerback spot right away, but that became unrealistic when news came down that he suffered a broken kneecap in mid-May.
The initial diagnosis was that he could miss six months of action, which would have basically been the entire season. However, he quickly received a much more optimistic diagnosis upon further testing, which put him on a 12-16 week recovery timeline. If we take the maximum recovery time of 16 weeks, that would be just before Week 1 of the season. The belief is that Wilson could return near midseason, which would presumably be the amount of time he needs to actually get acclimated to Gregg Williams’ defensive system and get in game shape.
Wilson should miss all of training camp. He had a breakout season of college in 2016 with 5 interceptions and 8 pass breakups. His ball skills could be intriguing for some situational play down the road this season, but because of the instincts he needed to clean up, it seems unlikely that he'll see the field beyond some special teams play in 2017.
Final Roster Odds: 100%*
*Beginning the season on an injury list.
7. Marcus Burley - Veteran Cornerback
Height: 5-10 | Weight: 190 lbs | Age: 27
Experience: 4 years | College: Delaware
Burley entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent back in 2013 with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He bounced around to several teams for a couple of years before catching on a little bit with the Seattle Seahawks from 2014-2015. He even had a sack and an interception on former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel. Lovely.
Burley didn’t make the Seahawks’ roster out of training camp in 2016, so Cleveland claimed him off waivers. He played a reserve role with the Browns last year, primarily on special teams. In 12 games, he logged 8 tackles and 1 pass defended. If the Browns desired a cheap, semi-experienced veteran, then Burley could have been their guy. However, the addition of Jason McCourty gives them that at a much higher level. Burley will be fighting solely for a role on special teams play this camp.
Final Roster Odds: 15%
Here is your poll question for Part 2:
Do you think Channing Stribling makes the Browns’ 53-man roster?
This poll is closed