Browns enhanced D-line depth

Posted by Vic Carucci on July 2, 2012 – 7:53 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

AARON — All I’ve got to say is look at Green Bay. They run a 3-4 defense and they have six or seven defensive linemen on their roster every year. You need fresh guys to sub in to continue to stop the run or rush the pass. I love the two picks in John Hughes and Billy Winn, and with Jabaal Sheard, Ahtyba Rubin, Marcus Benard, and the additions of Juqua Parker and Frostee Rucker, the only downside is the injury to Phil Taylor.

Aaron, the importance of defensive line depth in the NFL can’t be emphasized enough.

Yes, you need an exceptional quarterback to win in this pass-happy league. But you also must have a pass rush that can neutralize that exceptional quarterback, which tends to be an underappreciated aspect of this game.

The New York Giants gave us an emphatic reminder of that in the Super Bowl. And the Browns took heed by drafting Hughes and Winn.

The choices proved to be particularly beneficial because of Taylor’s injury, but the depth was added because of the team’s determination to beef up its ability to better rotate defensive linemen. The idea is to attack opposing offenses in waves, which is especially important in all of those grind-it-out games played in the AFC North.

GENE — As fans, we’re never happy! The question is, are YOU happy with the depth you added?!

Yes, Gene, I’m mostly happy with it.

I think the additions of Hughes and Winn in the draft, and Frostee Rucker and Jaqua Parker in free agency, should go a long way toward improving the depth of the defensive line (with the understanding that Rucker will be an upgrade as the starter at right end).

I think two other draft choices, James-Michael Johnson and Emanuel Acho, have the potential to add depth at linebacker. The same is true with rookie cornerback Trevin Wade. However, I think their immediate impact is more likely to be on special teams.

One of the lasting impressions of the offseason workouts was seeing several of the Browns’ draft picks displaying their considerable speed and athleticism during kick-coverage drills. If that’s any indication of how they’ll perform in pads, it’s all the more reason to think they might be able to make solid contributions at their respective positions.

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