Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer breaks down the Browns current roster some of their offseason needs in his recent article.
Pluto believes former first-round pick Phil Taylor will be able to play over center once the Browns make the switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 base defense.
Pluto adds Ahythba Rubin was able to do so while in former Browns head coach Eric Mangini 3-4 defense, so there’s a decent enough chance that Taylor will be able to do so as well.
Pluto mentions that the new Browns coaching staff “loves” defensive lineman Billy Wynn and believe he could easily play defensive end in their new 3-4 defense.
Wynn was taken in the sixth-round of last year’s draft and put together a fairly respectable first year with the Browns. He was very solid against the run, but offered very little in terms of interior pass-rush.
The Browns reportedly believe Frostee Rucker can play defensive end, but Pluto has some questions regarding him playing that position.
Pluto notes that there is a chance that the Browns could opt to cut Rucker, who signed a five- year, $20 million contract before the 2012 season. Only $8 million is guaranteed and Rucker has already been paid $5.5 million between his signing bonus and first-year salary.
As a backup defensive end last season, Parker tallied six sacks while only playing 46 percent of the defensive snaps. Since he’s a free agent and fits more into 4-3 scheme, Pluto believes he won’t be with the team next season.
Sheard, weighing in at 255 pounds, isn’t big enough to play defensive end in the 3-4, which is why Pluto believes there’s the possibility that the Browns could turn him into an “attack the quarterback” end/outside linebacker.
Eric Mangini used Marcus Benard in that role a few seasons ago and wound up playing only 46 percent of the defensive snaps. He did, however, led the team in sacks 7.5 that season.
Pluto doesn’t believe tight end Ben Watson will be back with the team in 2013.
Watson, 32, will be an unrestricted free agent, but Pluto points to a history with concussions and his age as the main reasons why Cleveland will most likely move forward with Jordan Cameron and Brad Smelley next season.