MOBILE, Ala. — Cameron Sutton had not played safety since high school, but the Browns coaches asked the former Tennessee corner to try his hand at the position this week at the Senior Bowl.
“They came to me about it. They knew that I could handle that, which is not a problem at all,” Sutton said following Thursday’s practice. “I’m acceptable to moving around. Any position they want me at, I’m ready to go at any point. The scheme doesn’t change, obviously the position changes. Your effort, your mentality out there doesn’t change. You’ve got to fly around and find the ball at the end of the day.”
Added versatility is only going to help Sutton, who showed off his ball skills in Knoxville with a school-record 37 career passes defensed, including 30 pass breakups and seven interceptions in 39 starts.
Sutton knows he can bring the cover abilities to a position like safety.
“Ball skills are going to be there at the end of the day. That’s just part of my game,” he said. “Understanding the concepts, understanding the scheme that they put in for the week and installed for the week, and just going out there and making X’s and O’s read.”
Communication is key for any safety, and Sutton said he prided himself on his leadership abilities at Tennessee. He had no problem making calls for the South team at practice.
“Understanding concepts, down and distance, those pre-snap keys that you see out there, whether it’s from the line, the receivers or tendencies from the quarterback — offsets, split of the back, all those things come into consideration when you’re on the field,” he said. “You need that constant communication out there to make sure we’re on the same page to make plays.”
Sutton measured in at 5-foot-11, 182 pounds, but his 29 1/4-inch arms won’t make a lot of GMs excited in a league that puts a premium on long corners. But maybe that will be fine at safety. Sutton also has some speed that he showed off as a punt returner for the Volunteers with three career return scores.
During practice this week, Sutton said he played free safety, strong safety, nickel and outside corner, and he just wants to be where the ball is — even if that’s in the box, somewhere he would have to be if he played safety.
“If you need me in the box, I’m in the box,” he said. “I’ve been there a little bit this week. It’s fun, rope-a-doping some of the big guys, taking some of the big guys on, it’s been fun.”
Unlike other young players who may have their minds spinning at the thought of learning more than one position in a condensed time, Sutton called it his “comfort zone,” and teams will value that versatility.
“They have me moving around as well and I like that,” he said. “That’s my comfort zone, playing more than one position. You have to know what everyone is doing on the field anyways, so that just makes my job much easier out there.”