The group is the same with the addition of Sheard, which is a good thing. Sheard will line up some at linebacker, but he said during minicamp that he’d be playing more down end for pass rush purposes. Coach Mike Pettine has high hopes and expectations for Sheard; this could be a big season for him. Overall, the Browns defensive front might not be filled with superstars, but it is talented, flexible, deep and productive. Desmond Bryant’s return from a heart procedure will help. Winn has bulked up significantly. Rubin and Taylor are stellar contributors. The Browns are well fortified to play any defensive system with this group.
The positives: Taylor can be dominant, Sheard could emerge, Rubin is very active and Desmond Bryant provides quality depth with Winn, Kitchen and Hughes (Old Stack ‘N Shed).
The negatives: If Sheard doesn’t emerge, there isn’t a dominant, must-account-for-him pass-rusher here.
Upgraded, level or downgraded: Upgraded due to the fact Desmond Bryant is back and Sheard could have a big season.