Free Agent Spotlight: Rashaan Melvin
As we continue to search the free agent pool for possible targets for the Cleveland Browns, I stumbled upon an interesting candidate. He may not be the most sought-after cornerback, but Rashaan Melvin has come into his own over the past two years. So here is a look at who the cornerback is and what he can bring to a football team.
Melvin originally went undrafted in 2013 and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He didn’t see any game action for two years and was released. He landed on Miami’s practice squad, but then signed with the Baltimore Ravens. He appeared in three games with two starts and racked up 17 tackles in his brief 2014 campaign. Melvin lost playing time in 2015 due to poor play and when Baltimore’s starting defensive backs returned to health. He was placed on waivers and claimed by the New England Patriots and appeared in eight games.
It wasn’t until 2016 when he signed with the Indianapolis Colts that he finally saw extensive playing time. The Northern Illinois product played in all but one game and started nine of them. He registered 60 tackles, seven passes defended and forced two fumbles. Melvin played well enough to earn the starting job for 2017 and did so every game until he sustained a hand injury that landed him on injured reserve. It’s unfortunate because he was playing well, too.
Now, with both of the Colts cornerbacks (Melvin and Pierre Desir) hitting the free agent market, there is a good chance that the Colts bring back one if not both players. With that situation pending, the Browns should consider signing Melvin to a deal. Cleveland has the payroll available to sign him. I would like the majority of the money to be spent on Kirk Cousins, but I don’t believe Rashaan will come at a hefty price. Yeah, he is a six-year vet, but he doesn’t have the experience of one. Most of his playing time came the last two years, so he doesn’t have the track record to demand big money.
In addition, to be cost-effective, he would help improve Cleveland’s secondary. Melvin is an excellent defender against the pass. He accumulated 21 defended passes in 25 games for the Colts and he has done it while defending top receivers. Melvin helped to keep Antonio Brown to three catches for 47 yards and Larry Fitzgerald to three catches and 21 yards. This is also the guy who had his first and second career interceptions compliments of DeShone Kizer. I’m not going to tell you that Rashaan Melvin is among the elite defenders in the league because he doesn’t have an extensive track record, but the kid is putting in work. If he could bring this kind of pass defense to Cleveland, it could strengthen a position of weakness last season.