The Cleveland Browns have decided to part ways with veteran defensive end Frostee Rucker. Slowly but surely, Michael Lombardi is putting his signature on the roster, and Rucker was the first main casualty.
This move was most likely made for two main reasons. The first, and the biggest one, is that the Browns are switching the defense back to a 3-4 scheme. The second is last seasons’ play of Billy Winn and John Hughes. For these reasons, Rucker has become expendable.
Rucker was third on the team in sacks with four last year. The 29-year old came from the division rival Cincinnati Bengals in the prior off season. It would have been nice to try to get something for him, but the decisions are made for a reason and it’s time to move on. This move also shows how the Browns may be aggressively trying to find a speed rusher in this up coming draft. Somewhere out there lies another Jason Pierre-Paul or Aldon Smith. The Browns need to find that diamond in the rough or someone of those players’ caliber.
I would assume they will work with Jabaal Sheard and get him in shape to rush hard off the edge. And, although nose tackle is crucial in a 3-4 base defense, I don’t believe that should be a concern for Cleveland. Ahtyba Rubin, Phil Taylor, and Hughes should fill that need nicely.
It will be interesting to see which direction Lombardi goes in the upcoming NFL Draft, offense or defense. Without question, a cornerback is needed on the other side of Joe Haden. The NFL Combine in Indianapolis is only a few weeks away. We shall see.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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