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2020 NFL Draft

Browns free agency breakdown: Defensive line


No matter who's making the predictions, it's hard to find a mock draft that doesn't have the Browns using at least one of their first-round picks on a defensive lineman.

Perhaps what happens over the next month or two will change those projections.

The biggest fish on the market, Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, is hogging all of the headlines, but this is a free agent class chock full of defensive linemen. Four of's top 16 free agents are players who would play on the defensive line in a 3-4 like the Browns', and there's 19 in the top 100.

No position group on the Browns was more decimated by injuries in 2014 more than the defensive line, which saw run-stuffing nose guard Phil Taylor sidelined for 11 games, John Hughes out for a similar period, dynamic pass rusher Armonty Bryant out for most of the season and Desmond Bryant and Billy Winn both play through painful injuries.

When completely healthy, this unit certainly can produce at a higher level than its rankings indicate. But there's always room to get better and facilitate competition.

Whether the Browns bolster this area of the roster through free agency remains to be seen. If they do, here's a look at the landscape. For this particular segment, we did not include 4-3 defensive ends who would likely drop back to linebacker in a 3-4.

Who's coming back? (2014 stats)

Desmond Bryant - 15 games, 49 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 pass deflection, 1 fumble recovery

Billy Winn - 13 games, 31 tackles, 1 interception, 2 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble

John Hughes - 5 games, 17 tackles, 1 pass deflection

Armonty Bryant - 5 games, 11 tackles, 1 sack

Phil Taylor - 5 games, 10 tackles, 1 pass deflection

Jacobbi McDaniel - 1 game

Jamie Meder - 1 game, 1 tackle

Calvin Barnett

Christian Tupou

Who's on the market?

Ishmaa'ily Kitchen (restricted) - 12 games, 43 tackles

Ahtyba Rubin - 13 games, 28 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection

Sione Fua - 11 games, 12 tackles

2014 rankings of note

Total defense - 366.1 yards per game - 10th

Yards per rush attempt - 4.5 - 32nd

Rushing touchdowns - 13 - T-20th

Sacks - 31 - 27th

Top D-linemen available (Rankings from’s Top 101 NFL Free Agents)

  1. DT Ndamukong Suh (Detroit)
  1. DE Greg Hardy (Carolina)
  1. DT Nick Fairley (Detroit)
  1. DT Jared Odrick (Miami)
  1. DT Terrance Knighton (Denver)
  1. DT Dan Williams (Arizona)
  1. DT B.J. Raji (Green Bay)
  1. DT Stephen Paea (Chicago)
  1. DT Henry Melton (Dallas)
  1. DE Cory Redding (Indianapolis)
  1. DT Kendall Langford (St. Louis)
  1. DE Jarvis Jenkins (Washington)
  1. DE Karl Klug (Tennessee)
  1. DT Barry Cofield (Washington)
  1. DT Darnell Dockett (Arizona)
  1. DE Adrian Clayborn (Tampa Bay)
  1. DT C.J. Mosley (Detroit)
  1. DE Anthony Spencer (Dallas)
  1. DE O'Brien Schofield (Seattle)

This article is part of the Road to the Draft series, driven by Liberty Ford.

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