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:
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.
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….
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.
Getting back to our free safety search, it turns out there IS an Atwater-sized FS on the FA market.
Kerry Rhodes, 6’3″/209. — 4.56/40; 42″ vertical.
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.
PFF says: ‘He’s still on.’
On the other hand, Usama Young rates higher than Dashon Goldson so that kinda screws up the mojo of the whole database.
Looking for reasons why a top-ranked 6’3″ Free Safety is still available…
Rex Ryan didn’t like him:
“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.
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.
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?
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.