Five Browns most impacted by lockout

Posted July 28, 2011 @ 12:39 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

Here's our rankings of the five Browns players most affected by the lockout. Players are ranked from least to most impacted:

5. DT Phil Taylor  Taylor, the Browns' first-round pick, is expected to contribute immediately for a defense moving from the 3-4 scheme to the 4-3. He has the talent to be an immediate starter, but his conditioning and work ethic were concerns in college. How quickly he adjusts to the pro game will be key to the success of the line.

4. DE Jabaal Sheard — Like Taylor, Sheard is pegged for a key role in Year One. The Browns are not especially deep at defensive end and need Sheard, a second-round pick, to be a contributor right off the bat. If he's not ready, the team could be in a tough spot, especially if it doesn't add an accomplished veteran pass rusher in free agency.  

3. WR-RS Joshua Cribbs  Cribbs is one of the Browns' top playmakers, and new head coach Pat Shurmur needs to get him involved in the offense. However, he never has caught more than 23 passes in a season. He has had success taking direct snaps from center, but it's unclear whether Shurmur will employ that package like former coordinator Brian Daboll did.

2. WR Greg Little  The Browns need playmakers at wide receiver, and Little, a second-round pick from North Carolina, could make an instant impact in a West Coast scheme well-suited to his talents and that's expected to feature the wideouts more than the previous offense did. That said, Little didn't play in 2010 after being ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA after taking gifts from an agent, and the quicker the Browns can start getting him immersed in the offense, the better.

1. QB Colt McCoy  McCoy has been the leader of the offense in offseason workouts, a positive sign. Considering the circumstances, he probably has done everything he could to learn as much of Shurmur's offense as possible. Ideally, though, he would have been working closely with Shurmur throughout the spring and summer.