Pair of Browns' defensive linemen making impact in rookie seasons

The Cleveland Browns rank in the bottom half of the NFL in sacks with just 22, but they can’t fault the play of a pair of rookie defensive linemen.

Left defensive end Jabaal Sheard leads the defense with 4½ sacks, and his four forced fumbles are tied for second in the league behind Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril’s five. Left defensive tackle Phil Taylor is second on the team with four sacks, which leads all rookie defensive tackles.

Both first-year players have been starters since the beginning of the season, and the play of Sheard (drafted in the second round) and Taylor (first round) drew the attention of Ravens right guard Marshal Yanda.

“They’re playing well inside,” Yanda said. “[Sheard is] a rookie playing at a high level and [No.] 71 [right defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin], he’s been there for a while, and he’s been a good player, too. They do well in the run, and they get after the pass. They’re just good players. It’s the NFL. Every weekend, you’ve got good players. They’re good guys.”

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