Billy Winn

Phil Taylor injured; to be replaced by rookie?

According to John Telich of Fox 8 News, Cleveland Browns second-year defensive tackle Phil Taylor has a torn pectoral muscle and could be out up to six months, putting the majority of his 2012 season in jeopardy.

Taylor was slated to return to his starting role next to Ahtyba Rubin, but that position will likely be up for grabs in training camp with two rookies competing for the job. 3rd-round pick John Hughes and 6th-round selection Billy Wynn will likely be the front runners in the competition, with journeyman Scott Paxton also in the mix.

Unfortunately, the Browns won’t be able to replace Taylor’s size, which could potentially lead to some changes in their scheme. Taylor is listed at 355 pounds. The next largest tackle on the Browns depth chart, aside from Rubin and Taylor, is Hughes, who checked in at 309 pounds at the combine.

Hughes’ size may give him a slight edge over his competition. Dick Jauron’s defense is currently built around two nose tackles anchoring the front seven. And while the Browns have already stated their intentions of moving Frostee Rucker inside in passing situations, it would require a restructuring of the defensive scheme to play a true three-technique pass rusher like Rucker or even Billy Winn, on a more regular basis.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Browns Comments Off

Draft Grades: Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns hit a home run with their first selection… and it was all downhill from there. The Browns entered the draft with 13 picks – an opportunity to completely change the direction of this floundering franchise – but whiffed in such a way that it could cost Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert their jobs in the not-so-distant future.

Even taking into consideration the somewhat questionable trade, Trent Richardson was a great selection at No 3. The Browns needed to land a can’t-miss prospect in the top 10, and Richardson was arguably the best on the board. He will be a star from day one.

If the Browns were looking to change the face of the franchise, the accomplished that by selecting Brandon Weeden. But it feels like a lateral move to me. Regardless of your opinion of Weeden, the Browns are going nowhere fast. Even if all goes as planned, they won’t be serious contenders until 2014, when Weeden will be 31 years old. I could understand a more established team gambling on Weeden, but the selection simply does not make sense for a franchise with a steep uphill climb just to enter the playoff discussion.

Mitchell Schwartz was a reach in the early 2nd round. At best, he’ll be an average starting right tackle, and that’s not worth the 37th overall selection. He’s essentially a younger Tony Pashos, who the Browns recently released.

John Hughes may have been the reach of the draft. The Browns have two above average starting defensive tackles, and plan to use Frostee Rucker as the three-technique in passing situations. So where does Hughes fit in? It’s hard to do worse than a reach that doesn’t even fill a need.

Travis Benjamin is a track star masquerading as a football player. He could have value as a return specialist, but the Browns already have Josh Cribbs, who is backed up by the more-than-capable Buster Skrine. At best, Benjamin develops into a decent 4th option who can stretch the field, but he was not worth the 100th overall selection.

James-Michael Johnson adds some much-needed depth at the linebacker position. He will likely back up D’Qwell Jackson, but could play any of the three spots in Cleveland’s 4-3 defense.

Ryan Miller adds some depth at guard and could push Shaun Lauvao or Jason Pinkston for playing time, both of whom are coming off disappointing seasons. Lauvao led all guards in sacks allowed and penalties in 2011.

Emmanuel Acho will compete for the backup weak-side linebacker job, and could actually see some playing time early due to Scott Fujita’s suspension.

Billy Winn was arguably the Browns best selection other than Richardson. I gave him a fringe 3rd/4th-round grade and had him rated significantly higher than John Hughes.

Tevin Wade will compete with Buster Skrine for the 4th cornerback job. Like Skrine, he’s undersized and his upside is limited to playing the nickel corner role.

Brad Smelley blocked for Richardson at Alabama, and the Browns reportedly called Richardson about him before making the selection. It’s not a bad decision, but the Browns drafted Owen Marecic in the 4th round last year and parted with Lawrence Vickers to make room for him. What does that say about their evaluation process if they’re willing to give up on Marecic after one year?

I fail to see how this draft class changed Cleveland’s direction in any meaningful way. They have a power running game and a rookie quarterback… is that any different than two years when their offense featured Peyton Hillis and Colt McCoy, who, at the time, was viewed as a promising young quarterback? This draft class, coupled with the strong drafts of their division rivals, cemented the Browns place in the AFC North cellar.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Browns, Draft Grades - 2012 Comments Off

Billy Winn scouting report

Billy Winn DE Boise State #
Ht: 6’4″

Wt: 294

Impressive size/athleticism combo. Consistently explodes off the snap. Does a great job staying low to leverage his way into the backfield. A scrappy player who consistently fights through traffic to get into the backfield and occasionally make plays in pursuit. Knows how to make himself small to slip past less mobile interior offensive linemen.  Has experience lining up at end in 3-4 sets and three-technique tackle in 4-3 sets.
Spends too much time on the ground; explodes off the snap and occasionally lets himself get caught off balance and is easily tossed aside by more physical interior linemen. Strength at the point of attack is marginal; gets stood up fairly consistently and may need to be taken off the field in certain run situations, especially if used as a 4-3 tackle. Lacks the strength to shed blocks once a lineman gets into his chest. Had foot surgery prior to 2008 season. Suffered ankle injury during 2011 offseason.
Winn’s combination of size and athleticism is certainly intriguing, but he’s a classic end/tackle ‘tweener which may give teams pause before giving him a 2nd or 3rd round grade. In order to be a three-down player, his best bet would be to land in a 3-4 defense. However, he could be a potentially dangerous situational interior pass rusher as a three-technique tackle. He lacks the strength to play inside against the run, but he could be a valuable asset as part of a defensive line rotation.
2011 vs Georgia 
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 Comments Off