The Browns made Phil Taylor a first-round pick in 2011 and he fit well enough in Dick Jauron’s scheme to record four sacks in his rookie year while also doing good work against the run.
A torn pectoral muscle cost Taylor half the season in 2012, but his future still looked pretty bright as a tackle in the team’s 4-3 scheme right up until they junked it and hired Ray Horton as the new defensive coordinator. The change hasn’t created a sour outlook for Taylor, however.
Taylor would likely be the nose tackle in three-man fronts with Ahtyba Rubin moving to end, but Horton’s stressed that he’s not married to the 3-4 he ran in Arizona and Pittsburgh. Taylor’s got a pretty good idea about what he’ll be doing from whatever spot he winds up playing, though, and he likes what he’s heard.
“This defense this year is going to look totally different,” Taylor said, via the Akron Beacon-Journal. “We’re going to be out there flying around. It’s going to be crazy. I can’t wait to get out there. Everybody will be attacking in this defense. You’ll see.”
Taylor, Rubin, defensive end/linebacker Jabaal Sheard, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Joe Haden will be the backbone of the defense in any shape it takes under Horton. It’s not a bad group to build around, although, like most areas on the Browns, there’s clear room for improvement.