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Opportunities abound for Browns' '19 personalities' at defensive back

The Browns defensive secondary is made up of seasoned veterans to rookies and everything in between.

It's also a new-look group, one that includes 19 members, from  Pro Bowlers Joe Haden and Tramon Williams to newcomers like Derrick Kindred and Trey Caldwell, whom Cleveland drafted this past spring.

So when asked earlier this month about the prospect of a unit still taking shape, defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi didn't flinch.

"I'm excited about this group. It's a very young group with two veterans, really," Cioffi said following the Browns' mandatory veteran minicamp.

"There's a lot of opportunity for guys, both at the nickel position and the corner position. You can never have enough corners in this league. This is a passing league. The more guys we have that can compete and be ready to play for us, the better off we will be in the long run."

It's an approach that's served them well throughout a series of offseason workouts in which the secondary leaned on a collective effort without Haden, who's still recovering from ankle surgery, and departed starting safeties Donte Whitner and Tashaun Gipson.

"We're rolling a lot of guys in there, there are a lot of bodies back there," defensive coordinator Ray Horton said in May. "We're trying to really move guys around at different positions to stress them a little bit to make them learn, and also a little bit in position from left to right, corner to nickel, corner to safety."

Wednesday marked the second day of the team's mandatory veterans' minicamp.

There are a host of candidates competing for roster spots and playing time, a dynamic that will become clearer once training camp gets underway.

"We realize that this is a new team, so we have to take ownership of it as a safety group and as a DB group," said second-year defensive back Ibraheim Campbell, who's in the mix for playing time at safety. "We're looking forward to establishing an identity not only for the secondary, but the defense as a whole."

Until then, Cioffi echoed head coach Hue Jackson in saying that the roster is a clean slate and starting jobs will be earned.

"I always approach that every time you go into a situation that everyone starts on the same page. Right now, in the DB room, we have 19 players. That's 19 different personalities," Cioffi said.

"My goal as a coach is to get the very most out of those players and to get them to reach their goals. If I do that, then it's better for everybody. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

"It's really an old saying, 'I see better than I hear.' As long as they are doing what I see, we're good to go."

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