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Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Browns' projected starting lineup

By Jamison Hensley

The AFC North blog is continuing its series on projecting the starting lineup for each team in the division. Next up is the Cleveland Browns:

OFFENSE

QB Brandon Weeden: If a 28-year-old rookie doesn't start right away, there has to be a problem.

RB Trent Richardson: No Madden curse with this running back, just the pressure of being the No. 3 overall pick.

FB Owen Marecic: Two concussions in his rookie season have to be a concern.

WR Greg Little: He finished with 14 drops, tied for second-most in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

WR Mohamed Massaquoi: Was second-most targeted player but finished with fifth in receptions.

TE Ben Watson: Suffered three concussions in 2011 but insists he'll continue playing.

LT Joe Thomas: Most consistent performer on Browns' offense went to his fifth Pro Bowl last season.

LG Jason Pinkston: Allowed one sack in 16 starts as a rookie last season.

C Alex Mack: Not even a midseason appendectomy could slow him down last season.

RG Shawn Lauvao: Committed four false starts and three holding penalties last year.

RT Mitchell Schwartz: The second-round pick was the highest-rated right tackle in this draft.

DEFENSE

LDE Jabaal Sheard: The second-round pick recorded 8.5 sacks and five forced fumbles.

LDT Phil Taylor: Has strong potential but was up-and-down as a rookie last year.

RDT Ahtyba Rubin: Remains one of the more underrated interior linemen in the league.

RDE Frostee Rucker: Free agent from the Bengals will help slouching run defense.

SLB Scott Fujita: His 50 tackles last season were a career low.

MLB D'Qwell Jackson: Overcame injuries to land a five-year, $42.5 million deal that includes $19 million guaranteed.

WLB Chris Gocong: Has produced 145 tackles in two seasons with the Browns.

LCB: Joe Haden: Finished sixth in the league (and second in the AFC North) with 19 passes defensed in 2011.

SS T.J. Ward: Last year's strong season was cut short by a foot injury.

FS Usama Young: Sheldon Brown could take this spot if he converts from cornerback.

RCB Dimitri Patterson: His play at nickel back warrants a promotion into the starting lineup.