The 2011 NFL Draft was one of the more productive ones for the Cleveland Browns as they picked key players like Phil Taylor, Jabaal Sheard, Jordan Cameron, and Jason Pinkston. In the fifth round, the Browns picked a young stud from Georgia to learn behind fellow corners Joe Haden and Sheldon Brown. I’m talking, of course, about Buster.
Buster’s 2011 rookie season wasn’t too eventful. He suited up for all 16 games but recorded only one interception against Arizona and had only 14 tackles in limited duty. In 2012, we saw Buster start in six games and set a career high in 72 tackles. I distinctly remember sitting through Hurricane Sandy at Cleveland Browns Stadium in a game against San Diego (what a nightmare that was, let me just say. But we won!). That was when I started to really notice him. When you think of Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates in San Diego, you think of a dynamic wrecking crew that easily can put up points. Rivers is arguably a top ten quarterback and Gates is a phenomenal tight end. But they weren’t that day. No sir, not that day. Buster covered Gates like a wet blanket and limited the Kent State alumni to only 2 catches for a miniscule 14 yards. You know what’s really crazy about all this? Gates is 6’4’’ 260 pounds of raw intimidation. Skrine is only 5’9’’ and 180 pounds. AND BUSTER SHUT HIM DOWN.
Buster reduced how many times he was getting beat by receivers each season. I remember a lot of fans wrote him off as nothing special, but he proved them wrong. He’s proof that you don’t have to be a huge defensive back to be a decent one. You just have to have football smarts, which he definitely has. I’m sad to see him go, but it’s a business after all. He got paid in New York and I’ll be looking forward to watching him play against us in the future.