Darnell Terrell Holds His Own

Darnell Terrell (Jeff Wills, The OBR)

The unsettled situation at cornerback for the Browns spells opportunity for some of the team's youngsters. Among them is rookie free agent Darnell Terrell, from Missouri. After a decent rookie camp, the undrafted Cleveland Browns corner now gets to face up against the veterans.

Undrafted cornerback Darnell Terrell held his own during the rookie minicamp the weekend after the draft, and now he will try to do the same against veterans during organized team activities.

It is unfortunate for Terrell that Mel Tucker is the defensive coordinator and no longer defensive backs coach, because the rookie free agent from Missouri is the kind of player that could benefit from Tucker's teaching.

Terrell is just a shade under 6-foot-2 and weighs 203 pounds. He runs a 4.49 40. Those measurables would usually be enough to get a cornerback drafted, but the negatives on Terrell were enough that teams passed on him for all seven rounds. He reportedly has difficulty changing direction to stay with a receiver and does not play well with his back to the ball. Also, he has difficulty catching it. He made only three career interceptions.

Terrell could be a safety, but he reacts slowly, isn't very tough and has questionable ball skills. Those deficiencies will force a team to make him a cornerback or nothing more than a special teams player, according to one scouting report.

Several draft analysts did not include Terrell among the top 25 corners in the draft, but that does not mean teams weren't interested in him. Terrell said 15 teams tried to sign him after the draft. He chose the Browns because he thought it was the best fit for him.

The Browns desperately need to find at least one cornerback before the season starts, although they did not draft one. There were 19 defensive backs in the rookie minicamp -- 16 as tryout players and three as undrafted rookies already under contract. Terrell is regarded as the best among the group. If he doesn't make the team, a player now on another team probably will. Only two of the 16 tryout players were retained for the OTAs. Rookies cannot be part of the OTA program until May 16, so Terrell and the others missed the first week.

"A lot of teams were looking for corners," Terrell said. "Some teams were looking for me to play safety, but I thought this was the best opportunity for me to get in and play.

"Me being my size, especially at the position, people don't realize how fast I am, being long-legged. I think that's a big advantage out there on the edge."

Terrell said he was told he would be drafted somewhere between the late third and early fifth round. He was disappointed when the draft ended and his name hadn't been called.

"I'm not concerned about that now," Terrell said. "I'm concerned about playing with the Browns and getting better."

Coach Romeo Crennel said Terrell was 'decent' in minicamp. Crennel also praised Mil'von James, a safety from UNLV in camp as a tryout player. James was signed the day after the rookie minicamp concluded.

It is not necessarily an endorsement of Terrell, but the defensive backs field narrowed a bit on May 14 when the Browns released nine-year veteran Kenny Wright. Wright was arrested on March 1 and April 3 in Pearland, Texas, on misdemeanor marijuana possession charges.

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