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Browns address a need, but not on offense

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Posted March 15, 2012 @ 8 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

The Browns' first big strike in free agency was at a position of need — but not on offense. They signed former Bengals DE Frostee Rucker to a five-year contract worth $21 million, with more than $8 million in guarantees. Rucker will play right defensive end, the position he played in Cincinnati. The 6-3, 280-pound Rucker recorded a career-high 44 tackles and four sacks in 2011 and played in 16 games for the first time in his career after missing at least four games in each of his first five NFL campaigns. Rucker's strength is perhaps his best pass-rushing attribute, though he does have some suddenness.

The Browns have also reportedly re-signed CB Dimitri Patterson, who did a nice job covering the slot last season after coming over from Philadelphia. And according to reports, Cleveland also has signed another former Eagle, DE Juqua Parker, who had five sacks or more in 5-of-7 seasons in Philadelphia. Parker is regarded as a solid complementary player who was popular with his Eagles teammates, the way we hear it.

Cleveland showed considerable improvement on defense a season ago, allowing the 10th-fewest yards in the NFL, and it has improved its DL depth while keeping its CB depth strong early in free agency. However, the offense, which was 29th in yards gained a season ago, still needs quite a bit of help.

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