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Most key spots filled on Browns' defense

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Posted July 21, 2011 @ 3:35 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Even with the Browns moving from a 3-4 base defensive scheme to the 4-3, most key spots on defense appear filled. For instance, it's expected that the Browns will be able to stay in-house to fill the three starting LB positions, with Scott Fujita, Chris Gocong and D'Qwell Jackson likely to be regulars. On the defensive line, NT Ahtyba Rubin, one of Cleveland's top players last season, will remain a key player, with rookie DT Phil Taylor and rookie DE Jabaal Sheard expected to be primary contributors right off the bat. In the secondary, CB Joe Haden comes off an impressive rookie season, and SS T.J. Ward led the club in tackles. Also, Sheldon Brown remains a solid starting option at cornerback. Some issues to watch once the league year begins, however, include whether the Browns add at defensive end, where re-signing backup Jayme Mitchell is a priority; and at safety, where Abram Elam is a free agent. Safety is one of the deeper positions in free agency.

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