Defensive Backs: Joe Haden, T.J. Ward, Buster Skrine, Chris Owens, Tashaun Gipson, Johnson Bademosi, Leon McFadden, Trevin Wade, Akeem Auguste, Josh Aubrey, Kent Richardson, Abdul Kennah, Jamoris Slaughter, Kenronte Walker
Haden (5-11, 190, 24, 4th year) — Haden missed four games in 2012 serving an NFL suspension from games 2 through 5 in which the Browns lost all four games. He also missed a game later in the season with an oblique injury and the Browns also lost. The 0-5 record with Haden out of the lineup demonstrates his value to the defense. Haden finished 2012 with 51 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes broken up. The Browns are counting Haden to take the next step to a Pro Bowl level player.
Ward (5-10, 200, 26, 4th year) — Like Haden, Ward is entering his fourth season with the Browns. Ward played the first 14 games in 2012 at strong safety before finishing the season on injured reserve with a knee injury. Ward finished fourth on the team with 68 tackles. He forced three fumbles, added a sack and an interception. The Browns are hoping Ward becomes the dominant safety needed for a team to have a top tier defense.
Skrine (5-9, 185, 24, 3rd year) — Skrine was thrust into playing in 2012 due to injuries and suspensions. Skrine played in all 16 games, including six starts. He finished the season with 73 tackles, which was third on the team. He also had 11 passes broken up. Skrine was picked on throughout the season, but is best suited in the slot and the Browns are hoping that McFadden can come in and play quickly on the outside allowing for Skrine to play as the third or fourth cornerback.
Owens (5-9, 180, 26, 5th year) — Owens was signed as an unrestricted free agent. Owens has the most years in the NFL as he enters just his fifth NFL season. He played last year with the Falcons and is expected to battle with Skrine and McFadden for the starting cornerback spot opposite of Haden. He also will be in the mix in the nickel and dime packages.
Gipson (5-11, 205, 22, 2nd year) — Gipson made an impression as an undrafted free agent (UFA) rookie in 2012. He played in 10 games with three starts. Gipson missed six games with a knee and foot injury, but ended up working his way into the starting lineup in place of Eric Hagg and finished the season as the starter at free safety against the Steelers and had six tackles. Gipson is the projected starter at free safety as training camp opens, but is expected to be in a battle with Bademosi and possibly, Slaughter for the job.
Bademosi (6-0, 200, 23, 2nd year) — Bademosi made the Browns roster in 2012 as an undrafted free agent (UFA) rookie. He appeared in all 16 games in a reserve role at cornerback with three tackles. However, Bademosi made his mark on special teams with 18 tackles, leading the team. The coaching staff used him at safety in the OTAs and minicamp and he is expected to battle Gipson for the starting free safety position.
Wade (5-10, 190, 23, 2nd year) — Wade appeared in 13 games as a rookie in 2012 after being drafted in the 7th round. He had 11 tackles with a pass broken up as a reserve. He made a mark on special teams with 6 tackles. He will be in the mix for a spot in the oration at cornerback.
McFadden (5-9, 195, 22, Rookie) — McFadden was drafted in the third-round (68th overall) and is expected to compete for the starting cornerback spot opposite of Haden. McFadden’s father played baseball in the major leagues and so the rookie has been around the big lights. Browns think highly of him, as he was the second player they drafted (without having a second-round pick). McFadden signed the day the rookies were to report to camp, thus he will be able to compete for a job from Day One.
Slaughter (6-0, 195, 23, Rookie) — The Browns selected Slaughter in the sixth-round despite him missing the majority of last season at Notre Dame with a ruptured Achilles tendon. He missed a lot of the OTAs and minicamp, but is expected to be ready for training camp.
Auguste (5-10, 185, 23, Rookie) — The UFA from South Carolina is one of seven rookie defensive backs trying to make the roster.
Aubrey (5-10, 200, 22, Rookie) — Aubrey is an UFA rookie from Stephen F. Austin.
Richardson (5-11, 200, 26, Rookie) — Richardson is another UFA rookie from West Virginia.
Kennah (5-10, 185, 22, Rookie) — Kennah is also an UFA rookie from New Mexico Highlands.
Walker (6-0, 210, 22, Rookie) — Walker is an UFA from Missouri.