The Cleveland Browns are not shying away from making aggressive moves this off-season, but should they pursue another one with Malik Jackson?
It appears that Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey is making it a priority to add to the defensive line group this off-season.
On Friday, he made a stunning move when he traded right guard Kevin Zeitler to the New York Giants for Olivier Vernon. Vernon is expected to play a key role on the Browns defensive line as an edge rusher at defensive end.
But even though Dorsey adding an edge rusher was the first move he made on the defensive line so far this off-season, adding a starting defensive tackle should be a bigger priority.
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With the addition of Vernon, the Browns now a have a strong group of defensive ends with Vernon, Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Anthony Zettel. Genard Avery will also see time playing on the edge.
However at defensive tackle, the Browns current group is Larry Ogunjobi, Brian Price, Daniel Ekuale, and Devaroe Lawrence. The Browns have also tendered exclusive rights free agent Trevon Coley.
It is obvious that the Browns have young depth at the position, they do not have a solid starter to pair next to Ogunjobi. Either in free agency or the draft, the Browns should be targeting an interior defensive linemen that can preferably play as the three-technique.
If the Browns are wanting a veteran defensive tackle, there are several talented options at the position during free agency.. Some of the top defensive tackles available are Ndamukong Suh, Sheldon Richardson, and Malcolm Brown. However, these players are likely to draw a lot of interest.
If the Browns do not want to wait until the free agency period opens next week to bid for some of the top free agents, they could take a look at free agents that are already available. That includes former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson.
The 29-year-old was released by the Jaguars on Friday after three seasons in Jacksonville. After signing a six-year, $85.5 million deal in 2016, Jackson did not live up to his lucrative contract, especially last season.
In 2018, Jackson played in all 16 games, but started only 10 of the games. He made 32 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and 12 quarterback hits. The season before that, Jackson played much better, making 40 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, eight sacks, four forced fumbles, and 11 quarterback hits.
Pro Football Focus graded Jackson as the 85th interior defensive linemen in 2018. Jackson did not play as well against the run, but he still showed his ability as a pass rusher. He played 628 total snaps and had 51 total pressures last season.
With the Browns wanting to find more pass rushers this off-season, Jackson would fit the mold, despite his poor performance last season. He has shown the ability to be disruptive player up the middle and he could thrive on a defensive line with the focus going towards Garrett and Ogunjobi.
The concern with Jackson is that he is starting to reach the age where his performance is expected to drop. If that is the case, then last season could be a sign of things to come for the rest of Jackson’s career.
And while the Browns do need to find more pass rushers, they also need to find an interior defensive linemen that can be a force against the run. Jackson used to be dominant against the run at the beginning of his career, but has not shown that ability recently.
If Jackson is attempting to be paid like one of the best defensive tackles in the league once again, it does not make a lot of sense for the Browns to target him. It would only make sense for the Browns to go after Jackson if he is willing to take a much cheaper deal than his previous contract.
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