The Cleveland Browns were impressed when Jabaal Sheard burst onto the scene in 2011 with 8.5 sacks and 40 tackles as a rookie. However, with a new defensive regime in place and a decrease in production during his second NFL season the Browns may be moving Sheard to linebacker.
Physically Sheard is one of the most gifted athletes around as his 6-foot-3 and 264 pound frame makes him a force to be reckoned with. Even in a down year he led the Browns in sacks this season as the former Pittsburgh Panther racked up seven sacks at the defensive position. After two years as the Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron was removed this off-season and Ray Horton was given the new job.
Horton spent seven seasons on the Pittsburgh Steelers staff, but he became a defensive coordinator for the first time in his career with the Arizona Cardinals in 2012. It has already been confirmed that Horton is going to run a 3-4 defense with Cleveland, but the logistics are yet to be revealed.
Moving Sheard to linebacker makes the most sense and Horton has already hinted at it saying “Jabaal is a guy that I have seen on film that can rush the quarterback and is athletic.” This statement proves that he feels Shear has the skill set to make the transition that so many young defensive ends have been forced to make.
While his sack numbers may take a fall I feel this move will make the Browns a better defense, however, moving your best defensive lineman to a new position may be a bad move for a first-year coordinator.