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Kerry Rhodes, s.v.p.

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Time for the next Darden or Turner.
Kerry Rhodes: you game?

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Usama Young is gone.  Good.  Our free safety currently is Eric Hagg.  Not good.  Time to get us a free safety.

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a strong FS:

Steve Atwater is on Kanick’s HOF ballot.

Young, Adams,  Elam, Pool, Russell, Little, Bush, Ellsworth, Fuller, Turner+, Newsome, Gash, Wright, Rockins, Rogers, Whitwell, Scott, Darden*, Sumner, Howell.

That’s all the Browns starting free safeties going back to 1970.  One all-pro, one pro-bowler at FS in 42 years.  Cripes, I didn’t realize it was that bad.

Tell you one thing though:  Thom Darden and Eric Turner were great.  The trait they shared?  Big and a presence.  Darden was listed 6’2″/195; Turner 6’1″/208.

SO.

Let’s get us a big FS.  Let’s not stop at Darden sized either.

Let’s get us a Steve Atwater (6’3″/218).

Where might we find one of those….

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 7.58.26 AM

17 D-backs taken at #6 or higher; seven safeties (41%).

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Not crazy to look high in the draft for a safety.

This post began with a curiosity about the conventional wisdom that says safeties aren’t taken high in the first round.  When one looks at drafts going back to 1985, it turns out that’s not entirely true (see right).  But yet it could also be said that in the last five years, Eric Berry is the only safety taken at #6 or higher.

It’s a useful data point if you think Kenny Vaccaro is an impact player.

Me, I’m meh on Vaccaro.  Let’s say X. Rhodes and Milliner are gone at #6.  I would be looking at Jonathan Cooper or Tyler Eifert.  For me, CB is the priority and after that,,, it feels like it’s time to invest in the offense.

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Getting back to our free safety search, it turns out there IS an Atwater-sized FS on the FA market.

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Kerry Rhodes, 6’3″/209.  — 4.56/40; 42″ vertical.

Abandon all hope, Michael Crabtree.

When I wrote my Dustin Keller piece, I included some observations on how the Jets managed to transform from a line-owning intimidation machine in 2009 to the courtside-sitting, backpage-getting, nightclub-line-cutting team of high ankle sprains that it is today.  I noted as turning points the release of Thomas Jones, the aging of Alan Faneca, the mystery that is Jim Leonhard.

I failed to note that the Jets dumped Kerry Rhodes at the end of 2009 for a 4th and 7th round pick.  He was replaced ineffectively by Brodney Pool, Eric Smith, LaRon Landry.  It was yet another step in the needless dismantling of what was shaping up as a special Jets era.  But it also speaks to the impact Kerry Rhodes can bring to a defense when he’s on.

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PFF says:  ‘He’s still on.’

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Click to embiggen.
[Kerry, you’re not getting the Goldson contract.. sorry bro.]

If you take stock in Pro Football Focus’ ratings, you’ll like how Rhodes looks.  Only consensus top safety Jairus Byrd is ranked higher.

On the other hand, Usama Young rates higher than Dashon Goldson so that kinda screws up the mojo of the whole database.

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Looking for reasons why a top-ranked 6’3″ Free Safety is still available…

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Rex Ryan didn’t like him:

Kerry RHODES Foundation Black Tie VIP Dinner & Silent Auction

OTOH, maybe Rex knew something.

“He was a selfish-ass guy,” Ryan says of the veteran safety, who was traded to the Arizona Cardinals last offseason. “He wouldn’t work and he was a Hollywood type, flashing and needing attention.”

Ok Rex, good thing you got rid of the Hollywood type Rhodes and replaced him with non-selfish players like Tomlinson, Edwards, Holmes, Cromartie, Burress.

Pfft.

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Injuries?  

Rhodes _did_ miss game seven this year with a back injury.  It got MRI’d.  He didn’t miss a start for the rest of the season so it would seem he was fine.  His tackle numbers increased and he had three of his four picks after the injury so hard to see where this is an issue.  In 2011 he missed eight games after suffering a broken foot.  Missing ten games in eight NFL seasons?  Pretty durable, I would say.

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How does he get along with Ray Horton?

Rhodes says in this interview (go to 3:00) about Horton:

Losing him [Rhodes] was tough.  He was my right-hand man.  I went to him for a lot.  I love him.  He’s a guy that got the best out of his players and got us to play well even though we were struggling down the stretch.

If Horton is as fond of Rhodes as Rhodes is him… what is the hold up?

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Mixed bag; worth the risk.

Rhodes has some of the diva, sure.  Maybe Rex knows something.  But could it be that an aspiring celebrity can bring it hard on Sundays?  Says here the Jets got softer, a lot softer, coincidental with Rhodes’ departure.

Hell, if he were perfect, he wouldn’t be available.

I have to think Banner/Lombardi have picked Horton’s brain on Rhodes.  If Rhodes likes him, it would be most excellent to sign him up for two, even three, years.

I will share my nightmare, though:  since Haslam has committed to not winning twelve games this year, could it be that absolutely NO free agents over 30 (backup QBs excluded) will be signed?  I hope not.

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10 Comments

  1. I thought that Rhodes would be a natural fit for Horton and Cleveland. I’m guessing that the FO and Coaching Staff wants to take a look at the current roster players first-hand before making additional moves. Unless there’s an injury with Rhodes, it’s kind of a no-brainer.

    Regarding Pro Football Focus, when did this become such a go-to site for analysis? From what I gather, the people on the site rank players exhaustively (good), but as they detail on the site – they have no idea what the offenses and defenses were designed to do on a given play. Hence, what do these numbers really mean? Is there a metric for Usama Young doing a Kenny Easley impression (lowering his dumb head) and letting a sure tackle become a 40-yard gain?

    As for Hagg – I still remember the first Cincinnati game last year – when D. Patterson refused to cover an outside receiver during a classic Dick Jauron pre-snap matchup befuddlement. Patterson stuck inside and forced Hagg to the line to cover Brandon Tate down the sideline. Hagg was beaten, the Bengals scored and funny thing is, Hagg barely played again last season.

    While I’m not arguing against Rhodes or additional help, I do think that Hagg could be a player in a better coached defense.

    • jimkanicki says:

      you have a remarkable memory.
      there can be no doubt that it is this memory of yours that made your co-existence with shurmur well-nigh impossible.

      • Anonymous says:

        Great find. On the replay, you can also see Patterson get tossed aside – instead of covering the fast receiver that a corner should take.

    • jimkanicki says:

      if i could find a bigger picture of rhodes being 3x bigger and stronger than crabtree, i’d use it at the top. this is a great picture and EXACTLY the sort of thing that would look good in pittsburgh in november.

      Rhodes being huge.

  2. BilliardsBum says:

    My doctor will be pleased to hear that Young was cut from the Browns because he and Reggie Hodges caused my blood pressure to soar every Sunday last season. If we are able to land a really solid FS, either via FA or the draft, the importance of CB #2 subsides a bit too. Young was not only a liability versus the run, the guy was a total non-factor in pass defense. The Browns have been so awful at free safety for so long, I think a lot of fans do not realize that the position can be a difference maker in games and actually help out the CBs in coverage. I also would like to give the brain trust in Berea props for cutting some dead weight, As far as Rhodes goes, with as fast as the Browns scooped up Quentin Groves, you would think that if Horton liked Rhodes as much he would be getting some attention from the Browns. I have a feeling that Rhodes being a prima donna is a factor here. The Browns have had visits with at least three prospects at S, so I would venture to say that we are going to draft on at 3 or earlier if the team can pull off a trade with the Dolphins or is somehow Geno Smith slides to 6.

    • jimkanicki says:

      rhodes surely has an agent telling him: ‘lookit the PFF safety ranks! you rate higher than DASHON GOLDSON! higher than laron landry! look what they got!’ reality should set in soon and when it becomes clear that his market is small, the combo of horton and browns’ cap should get a deal done. i hope.

      and yes, he has that diva rep.. but in the youtube above, i thought he came off as fairly normal, or as normal as millionaire NFL dbacks can be.

      you’ll find a friend on your CB2-minimization theory with kolonich over at reboot. and based on the FA season, lombardi may share this perspective too.

    • jimkanicki says:

      we’ll always have the UY highlight clip. (mute first.) and HEY.. at 2:50 UY gets a pick!

  3. maxfnmloans says:

    I wonder how good the Jets would be right now if they hadn’t canned Mangini for Rex. Rex is the antithesis of what I’d want in a coach. I find it highly ironic he was critical of Rhodes for being “a Hollywood type…needing attention” since Rex has been nothing short of an attention whore for years now. Plus they have gotten progressively worse in each season he has been there, that can’t be all Mark Sanchez’ fault, amirite?

    Also- Mike Lombardi- high 5 on cutting Usama Young! I would like to let Browns fans know that if they ever miss Usama, I can forward them a .gif of my son wearing a bucket on his head and crashing into a wall over and over again. Pretty fair representation, imho.

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