Our best pass rusher -- gone.
The Cleveland Browns released defensive end Jayme Mitchell on Friday, according to reports. Mitchell was acquired by the Browns from the Minnesota Vikings in 2010 for a conditional draft pick. General manager Tom Heckert made the move in the middle of that season, but then-head-coach Eric Mangini refused to play him. When Mangini was fired after the season, Heckert called Mitchell's lack of playing time "bizarre," citing that Mitchell was "the team's best pass rusher" at the time.
Obviously, the drafting of Jabaal Sheard made him a candidate to be the team's best pass rusher heading into last season, but the expectations were pretty high for Mitchell based on Heckert's proclamation. After a decent start to the season, Mitchell's production as a starter quickly faded after he and Sheard swapped sides of the field. Mitchell was benched after the mid-way point of the season in favor of Emmanual Stephens and was made even more expendable when the Browns signed free agent defensive ends Frostee Rucker and Juqua Parker this week.
Parting with Mitchell is the right move at this point. Right now, Cleveland's depth at defensive end looks pretty good, with Sheard and Rucker starting, Parker, Stephens, and Marcus Benard as the reserves.