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Trust Talent Time

Cleveland Browns Snag Late-Round Gem Billy Winn to Help Defensive Front in 2012 NFL Draft

In the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns picked up a pair of players who have a good shot at becoming future stars at the pro level.

However, everyone knows that successful teams are built by finding quality players deeper in the draft. While the additions of running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden give Browns’ fans something to look forward to, Cleveland also needed to find contributors on the second and third days of the draft.

General manager Tom Heckert made a few questionable selections over the course of the three-day player selection process, but may have found a future star in former Boise State defensive lineman Billy Winn.

Winn was one of Boise State’s most productive defenders (131 total tackles) during his four seasons as a Bronco, and entered the draft as a possible second-round pick. However, concerns about Winn’s work ethic caused him to free fall, and the Browns were fortunate enough to land him in the sixth round with the 205th overall pick.

At 6’4″ and 294 pounds, Winn has the size and strength to play defensive tackle in Cleveland’s 4-3 defensive front, but his quickness (Winn reportedly ran a 4.85 40-yard dash at his pro day) and pass rush ability (15.5 sacks in four collegiate seasons) could also allow him to play outside at defensive end.

With a quick first step and a powerful bull rush, Winn has the physical tools to give opposing offensive linemen fits. A mobile, sure tackler, Winn also has the ability to chase down quarterbacks and finish plays at the point of attack.

The Browns got tremendous value by picking up Winn with a sixth-round compensatory selection. At the very least, the Boise State product should become a productive member of Cleveland’s defensive line rotation.

With the right development, Winn could give the Browns an effective situational pass-rusher to pair with second-year standout Jabaal Sheard, making Winn one of the more underrated picks out of Cleveland’s entire draft class.


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