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Trust Talent Time

Winn looks to bolster Browns’ weakened defense

The big defensive tackle for whom a monster season seemed possible is gone to bad luck, the Cleveland jinx, or whatever one wants to call a huge pre-summer bummer.

As rookie Billy Winn observed today, “It sucks, but these things happen.”

Winn is one of several Browns whose pulses quickened when it was learned Taylor suffered a pectoral tear that could end his season.

Winn, picked in Round 6, was regarded as Tom Heckert’s biggest steal of the draft. He played defensive tackle — Taylor’s position — and end at Boise State.

The more likely replacement is Round 3 pick John Hughes, regarded as Heckert’s biggest reach as Cleveland’s general manager.

Winn and Hughes had just checked into Berea for rookie orientation Thursday when Taylor tore his left pec while working out.

Exiting the Browns’ locker room, one hangs a quick left and then a quick right and is in the weight room.

“I wasn’t in there when it happened,” Hughes said today. “I mean, I heard about it, but …

“I’ve met Phil, and I’ve met (fellow incumbent defensive tackle starter Ahtyba) Rubin. Those are two big boys.”

Replacing Taylor, a 2011 Round 1 pick, will be a big task. Taylor started all 16 games as a rookie and was seen as a candidate to become an elite player. Toward that end, Heckert spent a No. 87 overall pick on Hughes, thinking he could play enough to give more rest to two of the team’s most valuable players, Taylor and Rubin.

Taylor’s pectoral tear will require surgery that probably will be done in a few days, Head Coach Pat Shurmur said as rookies warmed up for a minicamp practice.

Asked if it Taylor’s injury was season-ending, Head Coach Pat Shurmur said, “Could be.”

“He is going to miss some significant amount of time, more months than weeks,” Shurmur said. “It’s too early to speculate how long that will be.”

Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson lost most of 2009 and all of 2010 to pectoral tears on different sides of his body.

“Everybody recovers at a different rate,” Shurmur said. “I’ll guess he’s a fast healer.

“Any time you lose a starter it provides a chance for other guys to come in.”


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