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How Randy Starks is adding savvy intelligence to the Browns defensive line

Billy Winn remembers watching Randy Starks on the practice field for the first time.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing," Winn said.

Starks practices so hard, runs with such intensity, uses his hands so violently, there have been times when the coaching staff has asked him to tone it down a notch. Remember, this is a 12-year veteran, a two-time Pro Bowler. And yet, Starks didn't miss a day of voluntary OTAs in April and May.

A football junkie has been added to the Browns' defensive line.

"He's so savvy," defensive line coach Anthony Weaver said. "And the leadership he's brought to this group has been tremendous."

Revered for his versatility with the Dolphins and Titans, Starks will be utilized as a three-technique pass rusher on Cleveland's defensive line – click here for a refresher on the different positions. Nimble, lean creative with his pass rushing moves and durable, Starks has given offensive line studs Alex Mack and Joe Thomas their fair share of problems shielding him from the quarterback in practice.

The veteran was originally lured to Cleveland by his close friend Karlos Dansby and then wooed by the Browns' pitch on him becoming a focal point of the defensive line.

"It's been a while since I played in a 3-4 scheme, and I'm a big fan," Starks said. "This is an attacking scheme. It's not so much read-and-react like a traditional 3-4. We're going to attack and make tackles-for-a-loss. There's no waiting around."

Dansby and Donte Whitner brought an attitude to their respective position groups last season in their first year in Cleveland. But as athletic as Dansby and Whitner are, it was their intelligence in the meeting rooms and ability to make adjustments on the fly during games that altered the character of Cleveland's defense.

The Browns were capable of outsmarting offenses. And now with Starks, the defensive line has a trained enforcer in the same mold to lean upon.

"The beauty with Starksy is that his football IQ is so high, that he knows all the spots already," Weaver said. "Now I know I can make him fit with whoever."

During a minicamp practice, Starks was lined up with Ishmaa'ily Kitchen and Xavier Cooper on the line. Starks snuffed out a run play coming from Isaiah Crowell and signaled an audible to his teammates to set up Cooper in perfect position to disrupt the play. Cooper ran off the field beaming at Starks and admirably slapped his helmet to show a sign of respect.

"I'm so happy Randy's here," Weaver said.

Soon, so will members of the Dawg Pound.

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