After the departure of Usama Young via free agency, free safety is a position of concern for the Cleveland Browns heading into 2013. They failed to address the need with a free agent signing, and are awaiting their turn to do so during the 2013 NFL Draft.
If they can’t find a viable option on draft day, the Browns could turn to second-year safety Tashaun Gipson to man the position. The 2012 undrafted rookie out of Wyoming is ready to step up to the plate.
“I feel like I am the free safety,” Gipson said after running as the starter during the Browns’ pre-draft minicamp. “That’s the attitude you have to have in this business. You’ve gotta have confidence. Confidence is key. If they bring someone else in here he’s gonna have to compete for the free safety spot.”
Throughout the 2012 campaign, Gipson amassed 33 total tackles, one interception and one defended pass. He played in 10 games, starting in three, while serving as Young’s backup. Although he’s far from a sure thing as the Browns’ No. 1 free safety, Gipson feels that he proved his worth in 2012.
“I grade myself hard but when plays came my way I made them,” Gipson said. “I didn’t give up any big plays. I was just putting my resume on tape just in case the coaching staff wasn’t back.”
Even if the Browns do bring in competition during the draft, Gipson is going to be a tough guy to beat out for the starting gig. Not only is he still being overlooked, but he was overlooked during the 2012 NFL Draft, when he failed to hear his name called. That fact is a driving force for Gipson, who’s ready to make the most of this opportunity.
“I know a lot of people are still looking at me as an undrafted free agent,” Gipson said. “No matter the circumstances, that’s going to be said this year and next year. It’s just a little extra motivation.”
As of right now, Gipson is slated as the Browns’ starting free safety. Until Cleveland adds a better option, it will remain that way. Then again, they might not need a “better” option if Gipson can continue to build on the success he enjoyed in 2012.