When the Browns moved back from No. 6 to No. 27 in the Julio Jones trade, they had a very specific target for their new first round pick: Baylor nose tackle Phil Taylor.
They were so anxious to get Taylor, in fact, they traded up to No. 21 to make sure they nabbed him.
“I know Tom [Heckert] and Mike [Holmgren] really liked him. So that was kind of the plan,” defensive coordinator Dick Jauron told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “The rest is kind of revisionist history. If we didn’t, what would have happened? I think we’d still have a good draft, but it would have been disappointing for us at the moment, because that’s a guy we had targeted.”
Taylor will be expected to start right away in Jauron’s 4-3 defense. So will second round pick defensive end Jabaal Sheard, according to a pair of articles by Tony Grossi. The Browns are so thin up front, they will be looking for the starter opposite Sheard via free agency.
It reminds us how difficult it can be to transition defensive schemes. The Browns defense wasn’t that bad last year and now they have more holes than they did under Eric Mangini.
It reminds us a bit of the approach in Buffalo last year, when they transitioned away from Jauron’s reasonably effective 4-3 defense. Cleveland’s defense may need to take a step back before they take a step forward.