The Cleveland Browns drafted cornerback Joe Haden seventh overall with the idea that he could start as a rookie. But Haden might not be the only rookie starting in the Browns’ secondary.
In fact, three-fourths of the Browns’ starting secondary could be rookies.
Browns coach Eric Mangini says he’s open to starting two rookie safeties in T.J. Ward and Larry Asante.
“If they’re the best guys, you may take some lumps early because they are rookies, but typically those guys continue to move up and excel,” Mangini said, per Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The Browns surprised some people when they chose Ward with the sixth pick in the second round of the draft even though quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy (whom the Browns would end up taking in the third round) were still available. So Cleveland obviously thinks highly of him.
Asante, a strong safety from Nebraska, was chosen late in the fifth round and would seem to be a long shot to start as a rookie. But he was a three-year starter in college, and Mangini apparently likes what he’s seen from Asante so far.