With hybrid players becoming all the rage thanks to the success of Deone Bucannon and Mark Barron, several teams drafted rookies who could see playing time at multiple defensive spots -- for example, Su'a Cravens for the Redskins or Miles Killebrew for the Detroit Lions.
The Seattle Seahawks are taking a different approach, turning to a veteran for such multifaceted production. Coach Pete Carroll told ESPN 710 Seattle on Monday that Brandon Browner will be used as a safety on run downs and in specific matchups on passing downs.
"We're going to play him at safety in base downs and then in nickel we are going to use him to match up at different spots playing inside," Carroll said, via the Seattle Times. "So we may be able to develop a really unique role for him. We have seen him play, back to his New England days they used him quite a bit inside and he really matched up on tight ends and slot receivers and things like that that he matched up well, and we are going to see how that develops.''
It makes more sense that the Seahawks would use Browner's size (6-foot-4) and prowess in the run game as opposed to sticking him on the outside where he got torched last year as a corner.
"There is always some stuff we are developing and there are some good things we are going,'' Carroll said. "But you will see us be a little bit more matchup-oriented because of that, because of the guys that give us the chance to do that. We would always do it if we had the opportunity. That may mean there may be some more dime packages and things like that rather than nickel.''
Browner is capable in run defense, which would allow him to drop to the strongside linebacker position in obvious rushing downs, where Seattle doesn't have an obvious replacement for Bruce Irvin. Playing five defensive backs -- Sherman, Lane, Browner, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas -- offers flexibility few defenses can match while still being stout against the run.
The addition of Browner as a safety/linebacker/corner hybrid adds to the creativity that Carroll and defensive coordinator Kris Richards can deploy on game day, making an already historically great defense that much more dangerous.