Berea—There has been some perception that Eric Mangini and his staff might not have been totally comfortable with third-year starting cornerbacks Brandon McDonald and Eric Wright.
The Browns signed Hank Poteat and Corey Ivy as unrestricted free agents and then drafted Don Carey and Coye Francies in this year’s draft. They also just recently signed veteran Rod Hood as a free agent.
Mangini was asked specifically about McDonald prior to Tuesday’s OTA practice. He said he was an admirer of the former fifth-round draft choice from Memphis.
“I really liked McDonald’s aggressiveness,” Mangini said. “I liked his style of play even before I was the coach here.”
McDonald (5-10, 185) has started 17 of 32 games in his first two years with the Browns, including 15 of last year’s 16 games. McDonald had 71 tackles with five interceptions and 17 passes broken up. McDonald has seven career interceptions.
He was replaced as a starter for the Monday Night game with the Bills, but was in on the second play and intercepted Trent Edwards on the game’s second play.
Wright (5-10, 190) was the team’s second-round choice in 2007 from UNLV and has started 28 of the 29 games he has played in for the Browns. He started all 16 games last season and finished with 74 tackles with three interceptions and 11 pass defenses. He also had three forced fumbles and three recoveries. Wright returned one interception 94 yards for a touchdown against the Giants on Monday Night Football. Wright has four career interceptions.
“With Eric, he is a very smart player and his improvement should continue as he continues to learn,” Mangini said. “He also has good feet.”
Mangini said he isn’t fazed by the fact that both McDonald and Wright have been beat deep on passes.
“Everybody gets beat deep,” he said. “But, as a corner you have to have a short memory and go back and go again or it will happen again.”
Mangini likes the depth of the veterans, young veterans and the potential the rookies have shown thus far.
Carey and Francies have both made impressions in the spring practices.
“(Carey’s) doing well,” he said. “He has good ball skills. He’s impressive in terms of the questions he has asked. In the first meeting, he asked questions that many veterans don’t know to ask.”
Many projected Francies to be drafted much higher and Mangini was asked if he knows why.
“I never know the answers to that because a guy can slip a significant amount with one player being picked,” he said. “It doesn’t matter now, because he’s here.”