After playing two seasons with his hand on the ground, Jabaal Sheard is transitioning to outside linebacker in the Cleveland Browns' new 3-4 defense. According to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the position switch is going very smoothly. The Browns have reportedly been pleased with Sheard, who is set to start at outside linebacker along with offseason acquisition Paul Kruger.
Sheard had seven sacks as a defensive end last season, one year after recording 8.5 in his rookie year. He could improve on those numbers thanks to new defensive coordinator Ray Horton. The Browns lured Horton with a hefty assistant contract away from the Arizona Cardinals in part because of his creative blitz packages. According to Pluto, Sheard could play some defensive end when the Browns go to a four-man front in passing situations.
The Browns have heavily addressed their pass rush this offseason. Along with adding Kruger, Cleveland brought in Quentin Groves in free agency and drafted Barkevious Mingo at No. 6 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. With the added talent and new scheme, the Browns should expect to improve on the 38 sacks (ranked 11th in the NFL) they recorded as a team last season.
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