The Cleveland Browns defensive front has the potential to be one of the most dominant in the NFL.
On Tuesday, Cleveland reached an agreement with defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson on a three-year deal worth $39 million dollars with $21.7 million according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Richardson spent last year with the Minnesota Vikings after one year with the Seattle Seahawks which he only spent one season with after he was traded there by his original team, the New York Jets.
In sixteen games (all starts), Richardson had 49 tackles (6 for a loss), 4.5 sacks, 30 hurries and 16 QB hits. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 47th best interior defensive lineman in the NFL with a 72.2 grade (above average).
Pro Football Focus did a free agency profile on Richardson and had this to say about him.
Richardson recorded 18 run stops on 272 run-defense snaps, good for a run-stop percentage of 6.6%, ranking second among Vikings’ interior defensive linemen last season. Richardson also had 47 total pressures (30 hurries, 12 hits, five sacks) on 407 pass-rush snaps, giving him the 17th-best pass-rush productivity rating (6.4) among qualifiers. Still only 28 years old, the former first-round pick can be an impact player for plenty of teams in the NFL.
In six NFL seasons, Richardson had played in 89 of a possible 96 games with 333 tackles (49 for a loss), 23.5 sacks, 76 QB hits, 6 forced fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries, 1 interception and two career rushing touchdowns.
He joins a defensive line in Cleveland that already had Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi and Emmanuel Ogbah and also added former Giants pass rusher Olivier Vernon last week in a trade.
Browns general manager John Dorsey said two weeks ago at the NFL Combine that he wanted to upgrade on the pass rush that finished 22nd in the NFL last season with 37 sacks and he’s done just that with the two new additions in Vernon and Richardson.
Those acquisitions shouldn’t deter them from adding more depth to the defensive front in the draft where they currently hold ten selections.
If they can land either a pass rusher or someone to the interior with the 17th pick like Houston’s Ed Oliver who I mocked to them in my recent mock draft, you do that because the draft is deep with talented defensive lineman and depth isn’t a bad thing to have in the NFL.