ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi speculates that the Cleveland Browns could deal either converted linebacker Jabaal Sheard or converted defensive end Athyba Rubin on the day of the NFL Draft.
Sheard, a 6-foot-3-inch, 264-pound defensive end, was the 37th pick in the 2011 NFL draft for the Browns. He has 15 1/2 sacks in two seasons, leading the team in sacks the past two years. There is some concern as to whether or not Sheard will be able to transition to an outside linebacker in Ray Horton’s 3-4 scheme. Sheard is reportedly confident in his ability to make the switch, stating that, at the end of the day, he is an “athlete.”
Rubin has played five years in the NFL, all with Cleveland, after a college career at Iowa State. The 6-foot-2-inch, 321-pound nose tackle started 13 games last season after starting each game for Cleveland from 2009 through 2011. He had 30 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles in 2012. In Horton’s 3-4, he is expected to slot over to a three- or five-technique defensive end. He is currently the second-highest paid player on the Browns.
The Browns have added multiple linebackers as well as a defensive lineman via free agency. Thinking is that the team would be dealing from a position of strength in order to add additional draft picks to address key areas of concern.
[Related: As the highest-paid player on the Browns, is Joe Thomas’ value diminishing?]