With their recent signing of Desmond Bryant, the Browns seemingly have a stacked defensive line as they transition to a 3-4 multi-front scheme.
Bryant’s arrival in Cleveland has led to speculation the Browns will trade either Phil Taylor or Ahtyba Rubin. Some believe one of those young, promising defensive linemen could even be packaged in a deal for New England Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett. The Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, after all, have inquired about trading for Mallett, the Boston Herald reported Wednesday.
But Browns CEO Joe Banner took his best shot this afternoon at quieting the rumblings during Bryant’s introductory news conference.
When asked about possibly trading Taylor or Rubin, Banner said, “Our purpose has been to put together a really strong unit, have some depth so we can rotate and so if we have any injuries the line will still be one of the primary assets of the team. That’s what we feel like we’re achieving. We’re not looking to be trading anybody.”
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said Bryant will be used as a defensive end in the team’s 3-4 base defense. Bryant believes he’ll make a smooth transition from a defensive tackle in the Oakland Raiders’ 4-3 system to an end in the Browns’ 3-4.
“I see him in our base package, him being more of a defensive end type,” Chudzinski said. “And in sub, [he has] the ability to move inside in sub and even play defensive end in sub, which he’s done as well.”
That would give the Browns the option of playing either Taylor or Rubin at nose tackle and using the other one as an end. Chudzinski said the coaching staff must experiment with those two players to figure it out who fits where.
“I think we’re going to need to get on the field and see,” Chudzinski said. “Certainly they potentially can do both. Just how that all shakes out, we’ll see in time.”
Here are some other highlights from Bryant’s introductory news conference:
***Bryant was arrested in Miami last month on a misdemeanor charger of criminal mischief. He allegedly entered a neighbor’s house inebriated and caused a commotion, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and his infamous mug shot went viral in the aftermath. “I obviously made a mistake,” Bryant said. “I apologize for everything that happened, but I feel like I’ve learned from it and I’ve moved on from that. I think I’ve done enough over the years I’ve been in the league to exhibit that’s really not the person that I am. And I think that in time, I’ll be able to show you guys and whoever else wants to know, that’s really not indicative of me.”
***Banner said the Browns thoroughly evaluated the situation and found out everything about Bryant they could by talking with people close to him. Banner said strength and conditioning coach Brad Roll spent last season with Bryant in Oakland and knows him, which contributed to the Browns feeling comfortable with him.
***Banner said the signings of Bryant and former Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger will be the biggest moves the Browns make in free agency but he hopes they’re not the last.
***The Browns and nearly every other team in the NFL attended West Virginia’s pro day today, but Banner declined to reveal who the organization sent to watch quarterback Geno Smith and Co. work out.