Training camp starts Thursday. We're breaking down the safeties, a group that includes several newcomers who will compete for starting jobs.*
Calvin Pryor III
Ed Reynolds II
What happened at OTAs:
For a position group that lacked depth last season, the Browns now find themselves with a few options as training camp gets underway. They drafted former Michigan star Jabrill Peppers with the 25th overall pick, traded for former first-round pick and Jets safety Calvin Pryor III and signed former BYU standout Kai Nacua as an undrafted free agent.
Cleveland also returns veterans in Ed Reynolds II (7 starts, 43 tackles in 2016), Ibraheim Campbell (8 starts, 48 tackles), Derrick Kindred (5 starts, 46 tackles, five pass breakups) and Justin Currie, who spent four weeks on the club's practice squad last season.
Peppers, who played safety, linebacker, kick/punt returner and some running back in college, drew considerable attention and impressed the coaching staff with his versatility.
"He can just do so many things," said assistant defensive backs coach Jerod Kruse, who works heavily with Cleveland's safeties. "He naturally has the ability to track things in space. It is just a little bit different on a thrown ball than a punted ball, but he has shown some things out here in some spurts during OTAs and the minicamps and the rookie minicamps that shows the reason why he is here."
Under the radar:Nacua didn't receive an invite to the NFL Combine but he was among the most productive safeties in BYU history. He totaled 14 interceptions — the fourth-most in school history — and took two back for touchdowns. In his final season with the Cougars, he registered six interceptions, 48 tackles and 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Though perhaps a bit undersized, Nacua clocked a 4.50 40-yard dash at his Pro Day and a 39-inch vertical leap. NFL.com analyst and former Cowboys personnel executive GIl Brandt ranked Nacua seventh in his top undrafted defensive backs.
Variables to consider:Under Gregg Williams, the Browns will roll out different packages to fit the strengths of different members of their personnel. So don't be surprised if they rotate players in and out of the lineup, mixing and matching with the hopes of coming to an idea of who best gives Cleveland the chance to win. "I think when you look at those guys, it's not about a starter," head coach Hue Jackson said Wednesday.
Quote to note:"I see a bunch of guys right now fighting to earn a spot. It's a young group, as you all know. Some of them have been here for, I think the oldest one I think in the room is Ed Reynolds II as far as time in the league, so it is a bunch of young guys hungry to show that they belong and earn a role in the defense. So far to this point, they have all bought into that as a man and have worked really hard at it." — Kruse
Stat tracker: Four Browns safeties (Reynolds, Campbell, Kindred and former Brown Jordan Poyer) started at least five games in 2016.
How many were kept at last year's 53-man cutdown?: 5