Rookies Hughes, Winn contribute to Browns defense
August 21, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
BEREA, Ohio —
Two Browns rookies are making an impact and to the surprise of fans, they're not first-round picks Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden.
Defensive linemen John Hughes and Billy Winn are later-round picks trying to contribute.
One of the main defensive goals for Cleveland (No. 30 in the AP Pro32) is to stop the run after ranking 30th in that area a year ago.
Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard bolstered the line as rookies then. Both wore down, as did tackle Ahtyba Rubin, and opponents ground out yardage late in games. Hughes and Winn were brought in for depth.
Turns out, both are playing more than even general manager Tom Heckert envisioned when he took Hughes in the third round from Cincinnati and Boise State's Winn in the sixth. Taylor had surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle and is out until midseason. Scott Paxson has been sidelined since Aug. 10 with a leg injury.
"They are both young, play hard, and have done a pretty fine job," coach Pat Shurmur said.