Pursue, Poke, Pass

Last week’s post stated that the Browns should concentrate on both lines in free agency. Ultimately, if a Von Miller trade doesn’t come true, there are no slouches to be passed over in free agency. Since Big Sports Bulletin is the only place for such expert Browns draft analysis, here are some defensive line players to pursue, some to poke, and some to pass.

Pursue:

DeMarcus Lawrence: Defensive End

DeMarcus Lawrence had four less sacks this year than in his breakout season, but that shouldn’t be a problem since the entire Dallas Cowboy defense played above their level last year. Now that Lawrence has established himself, there is no reason he can not consistently be a 12 sack-per-year threat, especially if he were playing opposite of Myles Garrett.

Dee Ford: Outside Linebacker

Despite his AFC Championship gaffe, the Kansas City Chiefs would be remiss if they did not franchise him. Since they are also offense-driven, it would behoove them to keep as many All-Pro defenders as possible. However, a John Dorsey connection and a desire to pad his stats with the possibility of sacking older, less mobile quarterbacks might entice the edge rusher to sign with Cleveland.

Poke:

Frank Clark: Defensive End

Clark was enough of a threat for Seattle to help the Seahawks climb out of mediocrity. He has averaged ten-and-a-half sacks in three seasons and can be signed as a Plan B.

Trey Flowers: Defense End

Flowers is the perfect athlete for a Bill Belichick defense. He played inside and outside this season, even dropping back in coverage. He is not a stat-filler, but he is a football-player who wreaked havoc on the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl. The Browns already have a player like him in veteran Jamie Collins, but more good equals better, right?

Za’Darius Smith: Outside Linebacker

Smith was an effective producer for The Ravens. In 690 plays, Smith had ten sacks, seventeen quarterback hits, and thirty-three hurries. It might be worth it to try to steal him from a division rival if the Baltimore Ravens (most likely will) concentrate on re-signing C. J. Moseley.

Pass:

Ezekiel Ansah: Defense End

Nagging injuries and too lofty goals have beleaguered Ansah throughout his career, and the Detriot Lions might be running out of patience. Ansah could be a reclamation the Patriots are so adept at molding, especially if they don’t re-sign Flowers. The Browns could, if all else fails, make a half-hearted run at him, but, with far less resources and cache than the Patriots, the Browns can not afford a miss.

Ndamukong Suh: Defensive Tackle

Big name, big headache.  It might be tempting, but, after the smoke clears, the Rams might pay Suh what he wants, which is close to being too much.

New Browns Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks will be sure to have a chip on his shoulder, much like former DC Gregg Williams. Even though his expertise is in the defensive secondary, Wilks not only can boast the thirteenth overall defense in the NFL despite having the worst record last year, but he also gets high praise from his players, like former Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, who Wilks coached previously. If given an edge rusher or solid defensive lineman, Wilks may be able to coordinate The Dawg Pound into the top ten in 2019.

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