Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 10/24/11

The Browns used their first two picks in this year’s draft on defensive linemen Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard. So far the Browns are getting just what they wanted from the pair.

Starters from game 1, the rookie duo have been disruptive to opposing offenses. Sheard is second among NFL d-line rookies in sacks with 2.5, and Taylor is tied for third with 2. They are 1st and 2nd in tackles when measured against other d-line rookies. Measured against all defensive linemen, Taylor and Sheard stack up as well. Taylor’s 23 tackles ties him for 9th while Sheard is 16th. (By the way, Rubin is 4th.)

Jabaal has been very effective pressuring the QB using the speed rush, but did have some success yesterday with the bull rush as well. He has forced a pair of fumbles this year already. Both look like keepers as the Browns evaluate talent and move forward.

The defense, aided by yesterday’s performance against Seattle (137 yards) is now 4th in the league in yards allowed per game at 291. They are 8th in the league in points allowed per contest at 20. For comparison’s sake, last season the Browns allowed 350 ypg, and 20.8 ppg. There are still 10 games left to play.

The Browns also spent a second round pick on WR Greg Little. Little had 5 catches yesterday, bringing his total to 25 on the season. Would you like to know who the top three rookie receivers are? By reception, the top three are A.J. Green (29), Julio Jones (25) and Little (25). Greg has 234 yards receiving, which places him 5th among NFL rookies. His 9.4 yards per catch average scream for more downfield throws however.

At least statistically speaking, these picks are stacking up against their rookie class counterparts. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

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