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Free Agency

Dalvin Tomlinson eager to 'help everybody across the whole front' on Browns D

Tomlinson is bullish being able to elevate the Browns’ defensive line


Dalvin Tomlinson has been a man of many talents his whole life.

He played several musical instruments as a kid, including the trumpet, snare, drums, xylophone and piano and was a multi-sport athlete in high school. He excelled as a soccer player, track and field star and wrestler, winning three state titles in the latter sport at Henry County High School in McDonough, Georgia.

"I had a lot of interests as a kid, whether it was video games, drawing, different sports and things of that nature," Tomlinson said. "Every time I've wanted to try something new, I always just go for it, for the most part."

He's a darn good NFL defensive tackle, too, and those talents have led him to a new home in Cleveland.

The Browns signed Tomlinson to a four-year deal Wednesday and opened the free agency period by adding a big and established player to their defensive line. He was one of the top DTs on the market and addresses one of the Browns' top needs of the offseason: acquiring a talented defensive tackle who can stop the run and attack the quarterback.

At 6-foot-3 and 317 pounds, Tomlinson checks the size box. And with 39 or more tackles in each of his six seasons in the league, he's also proven he knows how to halt running backs, too.

That should help the Browns distance themselves from their struggles against the run last year, when they finished 25th in the league in run defense and allowed 135 rushing yards per game.

"There's always a lot of pressure to stop the run," he said. "If you can't stop the run, you'll never get to the pass rush, and I just want to come in and help everybody across the whole front so we can be one unit up front to stop the rush as much as possible."

Check out photos of new Browns DT Dalvin Tomlinson, who was one of the top defensive tackles available in free agency this offseason

With the schemes new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz figures to create with the defense, Tomlinson will also have plenty of chances to get after the quarterback. He notched 13 sacks in his career but has never had more than 3.5 in one season.

That could change in a Schwartz-built system.

Schwartz's defenses across his three-decade coaching career have featured productive defensive lines who have feasted on QBs and are consistent at stopping running backs. He's based his schemes around spreading the linemen out a bit more over the line of scrimmage — the basis of the "Wide-9" technique — and giving them more space to use more pass rush moves.

Defensive tackles who played some of the best football of their careers under Schwartz include Pro Bowlers Albert Haynesworth, Marcell Dareus, Fletcher Cox and Ndamukong Suh.

So it's easy to see why Tomlinson is eager to see how he performs under similar D-Line designs.

"It's super exciting," he said. "Space on the inside is hard to come by these days, so the more space you can have is also amazing. It just gives you that much more room to attack the offensive line."

He'll be doing that with a player who shares a similar plethora of off-field interests as him: Myles Garrett.

A lover of paleontology and several forms of art, such as poetry, Garrett is a player who could benefit from having someone like Tomlinson draw attention in the interior, and Tomlinson believes he'll form a quick bond with the four-time Pro Bowler.

One of Garrett's previous sack celebrations gives Tomlinson — a huge fan of Thanos, the villain from "Avengers" series — even more confidence they'll grow chemistry quickly.

"Most definitely, especially when I saw him do the Thanos Infinity snap, like my sack celebration," he said. "I do it all of the time. It's definitely going to be a great friendship blossoming right there.

Tomlinson has new teammates, a new defensive scheme and a new home to get used to, but he's never been one to shy from trying something different.

And he's confident this change will be a good one.

"Being able to use my power more to my advantage, attacking everybody I line up against and just getting off the ball, I feel like it's the best fit for me," he said.

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