Pro Football Weekly and the Pro Football Writers of America released their 2011 All-NFL teams on Monday, and three members of the Cleveland Browns found themselves on the rosters.
Stalwart left tackle Joe Thomas was named to the All-NFL team by PFW/PFWA. He also earned those honors in 2009 and 2010, which means at this point, racking up offseason awards has become commonplace for Thomas.
As for defensive linemen Jabaal Sheard and Phil Taylor, they were named to the 2011 PFW/PFWA All-Rookie team. Sheard finished his first season with 8.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, and 40 tackles. Taylor, while slowing down through the latter part of the season, finished with four sacks, a forced fumble, and 37 tackles.
While the selection for Thomas is nothing new (but nonetheless impressive), the selections of Sheard and Taylor prove that the Browns are on track to build a defense that can truly compete in the AFC North. Browns fans have heard time and time again that defense is what counts in this division, and the Browns are finally following in the footsteps of their rivals.
Despite the disappointment that was the 2011 season, young players like Joe Thomas, Jabaal Sheard, Phil Taylor, and more should certainly give fans hope for the future.