Can you believe it? Training camp is just undertwo weeks away. It's been another busy offseason for the Browns, and we'll start seeing how all the new and refined pieces come together very soon. We're preparing for it all with a comprehensive preview of every position on the roster,rolling next with the cornerbacks.
Greg Newsome II
M.J. Emerson Jr.
A.J. Green III
Thomas Graham Jr.
What we know: There's no shortage in depth. That was the case last season, and it's even more apparent this year after Emerson emerged as a strong, starting-caliber cornerback last year as a rookie. The Browns inserted even more depth this offseason by adding Mike Ford, who is also a strong special teams player, in free agency and drafting Cameron Mitchell in the fifth-round of the draft to give them a cornerback room as deep as any other in the NFL. Ward, Newsome and Emerson will provide new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz ample flexibility to match up well against the different shapes and sizes of opposing receiver rooms.
What we don't know: Will Newsome still be the leading slot player? That appears to be the likeliest scenario, but it sounds as though Schwartz won't hesitate to slide Ward or Emerson inside if the matchups will be more favorable for the Browns. Ward notably took snaps inside during minicamp, and training camp should reveal how much the Browns plan to rotate their top corners. The Browns are also high on the potential of Mitchell, who performed well at Northwestern when he became a starter after Newsome, his close college friend, was drafted by the Browns in 2021.
Check out the best photos of CB Denzel Ward from the 2022 season
The X-Factor: Newsome, who's entering his third season and will be one of the most versatile players in the cornerback room due to his ability to play the slot and outside. He still hasn't snagged his first career interception, but he's been nothing but steady through two seasons and would provide a big lift to the defense if he performs even better in Year 3.
The biggest number: 4. That's how many interceptions Browns cornerbacks had last season (Ward had three, while Green had one), and that was their contribution to the Browns' 11 total interceptions for the year, which ranked tied for 29th in the league. It shows just how much better the room can be even though they still performed well at different points of last season.
Says it all: "It's probably not going to be rotating guys within a game. But what you might see, depending on the matchup, you might see different players playing nickel in different games. A bigger guy that plays more physical, we might have one guy in there. A small, shifty, quick guy, we might have somebody else in there. There's the way we play our coverage. There's a lot of carryover between corner and nickel. It's not its own specific position, so I think it'll make us compartmentalize and be able to move guys around a little bit more." - Schwartz on how the Browns might rotate players at the slot position throughout the season
How many were kept on the initial 53-man roster last year?: 5