New Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski and defensive coordinator Ray Horton are overseeing a major transition for the team’s defensive unit as it adds many key parts for the transition from 4-3 to a 3-4 base. While outside linebackers Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo are getting much of the hype as the quarterback-chasers, nabbing interior lineman Desmond Bryant for the 5-technique spot could prove the most important move of this huge offseason overhaul.
Bryant will join defensive tackles Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor along with Jabaal Sheard in this physical front-seven and will take attention away from Kruger; Comparing Kruger’s play with and without Terrell Suggs last season shows an edge-rusher that needs a great sidekick. Bryant hasn’t reached Suggs’ level quite yet but can secure blockers and did post an impressive 35 total pressures for the Oakland Raiders last year, good for fourth among defensive tackles according to Pro Football Focus.
Bryant is now facing a related civil suit stemming from an arrest for allegedly attempting to force his way into a Miami residence this February. This did little to hurt his free-agent stock in the end as the Browns gave him a $34 million contract with $15 million of it guaranteed.
However, Bryant did take lessons from the experience and has advice to offer younger players as the new-look Browns defense meshes in camp.
“I don’t know what I would say directly to the young guys, but I feel like you live and you learn,” said Bryant, via The Cleveland Plain Dealer. “There are plenty of things that people say but you have to experience it. Obviously, you don’t want to be out there running wild in the streets, all over social media doing this, that and the third. … It’s OK to go out and have fun, but you want to do it responsibly. You don’t want to be making it all everybody’s business.”