Browns Host Former Falcons Safety for Workout Amid Uncertainty

The Browns worked out veteran free agent safety Erik Harris.

Getty Images The Browns worked out veteran free agent safety Erik Harris.

The Cleveland Browns worked out veteran safety Erik Harris on Friday with Juan Thornhill still dealing with a calf injury.

Harris is one of the more veteran free agents, with 43 starts to his name with four different teams. He initially signed as a free agent out of the CFL and caught on with the New Orleans Saints. He saw the majority of his time as a starter with the Las Vegas Raiders, also taking on a starting role with the Atlanta Falcons.

For his career, Harris has 267 tackles, five interceptions and 28 passes defended.

Harris was among a group of six players that the Browns worked out in advance of their Week 2 matchup against the Steelers. Cleveland also took a look at another safety in Tyler Coyle, tight ends E.J. Jenkins, Noah Togiai and Jake Tonges, as well as linebacker Caleb Johnson.

Looking at a trio of tight ends is interesting, considering the Browns have three tight ends they like in David Njoku, Jordan Akins and Harrison Bryant. Njoku played on 73% of the snaps against the Bengals in Week 1, while Akins (31%) and Bryant (36%) saw scattered time. The Browns did utilize more tight end sets in the soggy conditions, so those numbers for Bryant and Akins could potentially drop in future weeks.

Juan Thornhill Expected to Make Debut With Browns

Thornhill was one of the big free agent signings of the offseason for the Browns, fresh off a Super Bowl win with the Kansas City Chiefs. However, he dealt with a calf injury in the lead-up to the opener against the Bengals and did not suit up.

However, Thornhill has practiced twice this week and he is expected to suit up against the Steelers.

“Looked good,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said of Thornhill on Saturday, September 16. “Just did individual yesterday, had some reps today looked good. But again, something that you really want to use the time, see how he responds, see how he feels tomorrow. See how he feels on Monday before we make a determination.”

Thornhill has started 52 games in his career, collecting eight interceptions. He’s coming off his best season as a pro, notching 71 total tackles and posting a grade of 71.5 on Pro Football Focus.

Browns Safety Grant Delpit Puts on Show Against Bengals

With Thornhill out, Grant Delpit and Rodney McLeod played nearly every snap, with the duo each being on the field for 98% of the defensive snaps. Delpit had his best game as a pro, with eight total tackles, a pass defended and one tackle for loss. He graded out with an elite mark of 91.3 on Pro Football Focus.

Delpit stepped up but knows the safety position will be every more dynamic for the Browns when Thornhill returns.

“It’s going to be scary, man,” Delpit said. “Juan had a little preview of what he could do. [Against Kansas City in the preseason], pick six. So we try to carry that momentum, man. He’s got great ball skills, smart guy. Two Super Bowl rings. We have a pretty deep room, so don’t be surprised.”

The Browns are a 2.5-point road favorite against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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