Browns rookie might have to replace Taylor

May, 10, 2012
5/10/12
5:30
PM ET
Phil Taylor's pectoral injury could force a rookie drafted two weeks ago into the Cleveland Browns' starting lineup.

Taylor
Taylor
If Taylor is out for an extended period -- the official diagnosis is expected Monday -- the Browns will likely turn to one of two rookies (Billy Winn or John Hughes), or returning backup Scott Paxson.

Winn, a sixth-round pick, is the most intriguing candidate. He was projected as a third- or fourth-round pick, but slide into a later round because of questionable work ethic. At Boise State, he was known for his quickness and ability to penetrate gaps.

Another candidate is Hughes, a third-round pick from Cincinnati. He's more of a space-filler, and was earmarked as a backup for Ahtyba Rubin. But the Browns might put him in the battle for the job.

If the Browns want more experience, they will look to Paxson. After stints with the Packers and Steelers, Paxson played all 16 games in his first season with the Browns and recorded 21 tackles.

The 2012 draft class was supposed to have an immediate impact on offense after Cleveland selected running back Trent Richardson, quarterback Brandon Weeden, and offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz with its first three picks. Now, the Browns might need a rookie on the defensive side to step up.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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