This month was highly anticipated by most Cleveland Browns fans around the globe. The orange and brown needed to do something to boost the spirits of their die hard fans and they did not disappoint. Cleveland signed nine free agents and retained three of their own.
In major need of a pass rushing bull dog, the Browns inked linebacker Paul Kruger to a five year deal. Cliff Avril seemed to be the consensus amongst fans all around town, but Kruger was a close second. There is no reason why Kruger will not shine in the Browns’ new 3-4 scheme directed by Ray Horton. Kruger brings toughness, identity, and instant credibility to a front that already includes Ahtyba Rubin, Phil Taylor, Jabaal Sheard, Billy Winn, and John Hughes.
The Browns then focused on interior defense, grabbing the best defensive tackle available in Desmond Bryant. Adding Bryant to the D-line completely solidifies the Browns’ depth chart. Despite his mug shot being posted all over the Internet, Bryant will be a great fit in the Browns organization.
D’Qwell Jackson cannot do it all. The Browns knew that and picked up a nice veteran linebacker in Quentin Groves. This takes some of the pressure off of the younger linebackers on the team that may or not be comfortable switching to Horton’s aggressive defense. Groves pretty much replaces an often injured Scott Fujita. No one knows if Chris Gocong will be back in top form this season after being out all of last year. The Browns also added nickel corners Chris Owens and Kevin Barnes. Both give the Browns more experience and depth at defensive back.
With Rob Chudzinski‘s offense, tight ends play an important role. The Browns went to the Carolina Panthers and grabbed a “Chud” favorite named Gary Barnidge. The veteran tight end can block, catch, and has great size. Cleveland just lost Benjamin Watson to the New Orleans Saints and eight-year tight end Alex Smith is sure to be gone as well. That leaves Barnidge, Jordan Cameron, and recently signed five year veteran Kellen Davis who can also block well.
Last but not least, the Browns inked veteran quarterback Jason Campbell to compete with Brandon Weeden for the starting quarterback position. Campbell brings a much needed veteran presence and 71 career NFL starts to the team. If Weeden is not up to the task, Campbell will be the opening day starter come September.
The draft cannot come soon enough. The tide is slowly turning in the AFC North and the Browns are rising faster than the Dark Knight. Exciting times are ahead for this organization.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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