It’s no secret; the 2016 Cleveland Browns had a terrible secondary. While their front seven was nothing to boast about, it began to improve as the season went on. Truthfully, it could be one of the NFL’s best in years to come. However, the secondary was, to put it lightly, struggling. Despite Joe Haden, a former Pro Bowler, being on their roster, the Browns could not get it together. But really, just how bad were they? Well, let’s find out. Class is in session for one final time, and today, we’re looking at the Cleveland Browns secondary.
Cleveland Browns 2016 Season Grades: Secondary
Joe Haden: C-
Maybe this could be a different story if Haden was not constantly injured. But alas, the injury bug just seems to have it out for the leader of the Cleveland Browns secondary. Aside from his emotional input, Haden seemed to be a non-factor for the Browns at times. His presence was almost unnoticeable, which is scary considering he used to be a premier defender. Truthfully, he looked lost at times during the season. Maybe that’s just a symptom of going 1-15, and hopefully, it is just that. If not, Haden might just be trade bait in coming seasons. For now, though, he achieves the somewhat underwhelming grade of C-.
Ibraheim Campbell: B-
Ibraheim Campbell is an interesting story for the Browns, mostly because he’s barely a story at all. The fourth-round pick out of Northwestern hasn’t done much of anything during his time in Cleveland. Really, the best way to describe him is “meh.” Racking up 48 tackles on the season is nice, yes. However, he hasn’t recorded a single forced fumble or interception in his entire career. Hopefully, he can develop into something better than this, but for right now, he might be the most horrifyingly average player on the Browns. However, the hope is still there. He hasn’t fallen off like Joe Haden has. Therefore, his grade goes up to a comparatively good B-.
Ed Reynolds II: C+
Ed Reynolds II turned out to be a nice little coverage player for the Cleveland Browns secondary. Yeah, maybe he wasn’t anything special; his grade of C+ signifies that. However, he never really got truly burned on a lot of plays. Unlike Joe Haden, who seems to go all or nothing on every snap, Reynolds often just lays in wait. And somehow, some way, that worked to his advantage. Maybe he didn’t rack up a ton of interceptions (he had zero), but he never gave up a huge gain. And perhaps best of all, he’s only 25 years old. Reynolds still has a couple of years to really develop and hopefully work out for the Browns. He wasn’t anything fantastic, no, but Ed Reynolds II’s patience and promise earn him a C+.
Jamar Taylor: B-
Jamar Taylor is a lot more “all or nothing,” almost like Joe Haden. However, Taylor was able to rack up three interceptions on the year. Okay fine, it’s not great, but it’s alright for a 1-15 squad. Especially on a team with a horrible secondary, Taylor shined at times. His performance was either feast or famine, which he should look to clean up. Consistency can be a problem for any player, but Jamar Taylor shows a lot of promise. Again, at only 26, he still has some time to really hone his skill. The Browns are the youngest team in the NFL after all. For his highlight reel (at times) in 2016, Jamar Taylor gets a solid B.
Briean Boddy-Calhoun: A-
Yes, maybe this is a little bit of a reach. Maybe Briean Boddy-Calhoun doesn’t deserve an A-. But what does deserve that grade is his tremendous potential. At only 24 years old, the Minnesota product showed that he can be an impact player at times. Ball discipline might be an issue, but Boddy-Calhoun can absolutely clean that up. Aside from that, he can be great at a position where the Cleveland Browns secondary sorely lacks: strong safety. By nearly potential alone, Briean Boddy-Calhoun achieves a promising A-.
Composite Grade: C
At best, the Cleveland Browns secondary was…average. While Joe Haden continues to face injury after injury, he really brings down the group. Ironically, he was one of Cleveland’s best players only three years ago. The jury is very much still out on Ibraheim Campbell, but he also looks to be average at his best. Thirdly, Ed Reynolds has shown promise and extreme discipline, even though he is nothing special on the playmaking end. Finally, Briean Boddy-Calhoun has shown a ton of promise; hopefully, he can keep it up. And now, classes have concluded. Until next year, Cleveland fans.