Browns' D-line in transition, in need of bolstering

Posted April 13, 2011 @ 3:06 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

Adding at least one defensive lineman, and perhaps multiple defensive linemen, would seem something the Browns would strongly consider in the 2011 NFL draft. The defensive line is in a state of transition as the Browns change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme under new defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, and only DT Ahtyba Rubin — so impressive playing nose tackle in Rob Ryan's "30" front last year — figures as a surefire starter. Any lineman the Browns would take early in the draft would figure to have a serious chance at earning considerable playing time early in his first season, judging from the scheme change and the present composition of the roster. The Browns have just eight defensive linemen on the roster, with DEs Jayme Mitchell (five years of experience) and Derreck Robinson (four years of experience) slated to be free agents. The Browns have a few players listed at linebacker who have played defensive end, most notably Marcus Benard, who could fit as a pass-rush specialist at end in the new scheme. Also, the Browns could bolster their D-line via free agency, but when free agency begins with the NFL and NFLPA embroiled in a labor dispute remains to be seen.