Each NFL season, every team has a player that bears a little added attention. So which performer could turn the corner for the Cleveland Browns in ’17?
Welcome to yet another 32-team series from End Zone Score. In recent months, we took the time to look at each club’s best offseason addition. We even dabbled into some pertinent and historical numbers.
Every NFL season features players that come into their own after a slow start to their careers. It’s tough to tell when each performer’s coming-put party will take place. Some are immediate successes. Others take longer due to numerous circumstances, but they prove to be worth the wait. Here we will try and pinpoint a player from each team in the league that we feel is on the verge of putting it altogether.
CB Jamar Taylor
During a dreadful 1-15 season, the Cleveland Browns’ defensive unit surrendered 54 offensive touchdowns. A league-high 36 of those scores came through the air. It didn’t help that this unit totaled only 26 sacks – tied for the second-fewest in the NFL.
To help solve that issue, the team used the first overall pick in April’s draft on Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. As far as the secondary, head coach Hue Jackson and new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams are hoping that cornerback Jamar Taylor continues to make strides. This past season, he was a very quiet asset in the Cleveland secondary. Pro Football Focus ranks him 19th overall among the league’s cornerbacks. He’s tied for 18th when it comes to pass coverage (frankly, his run support could use a lot of help).
The former Miami Dolphins defensive back is starting to get some attention. He was dealt to the Browns a year ago and would finish fifth on the squad with 57 tackles. He tied for the club lead with three interceptions and batted down a team-high 13 passes. And he’s obviously made an impression on his teammates and coaches.
“He’s not that guy of many words,” said linebacker Christian Kirksey to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “He’s not going to sit there and talk all day, so when he does say something, it’s very meaningful.”
Defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker echoed those sentiments. “He is pretty soft-spoken so he really doesn’t say a whole lot. At the same time, you can just see his leadership through his work ethic.”
The Cleveland Browns are in year two of the Hue Jackson Era. Taylor is a member of a secondary that includes standout Joe Haden. It welcomes a pair of talented newcomers in veteran cornerback Jason McCourty (Tennessee Titans) and University of Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers. The latter was the team’s second of three first-round draft choices this year. Add another year of improvement from Jamar Taylor and this secondary will start opening some eyes in a positive way.