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Cleveland Browns Draft Success #6: Ahtyba Rubin

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Out of everyone on this list, Ahtyba Rubin has the chance to rise up to around No. 4 with another year or two of consistent action under his belt. Rubin was a sixth-round draft choice in 2008 and was projected as a potential backup for Shaun Rogers. Many teams around the league seem to find successful players in the sixth round of the draft, but anyone the Browns had taken post-1999 in the later rounds on the offensive or defensive lines never really amounted to anything. He didn't end up like your average "Babatunde Oshinowo." (In case you're wondering, I correctly spelled that name without looking it up.)

Rubin broke that trend starting at the end of the 2009 season when he filled in for Rogers. The Browns' run defense seemed to improve with Rubin in the lineup. It wasn't that Rubin was necessarily a better player than Rogers, but he was young, fresh, and had a tremendous work ethic/motor on gameday.

Rubin received the opportunity to be the Browns' full-time nose tackle last year and he did very well, finishing the year with 82 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble. Any time a running back broke past the line of scrimmage, you would see Rubin in the background still chasing the running back from behind, never quitting on the play. He did this less toward the end of the season, but he also had a nice tomahawk swipe move from behind that made him a threat to strip unsuspecting running backs.

Right now, Rubin is the only person confirmed to start on the defensive line this season as the Browns switch to a 4-3 defense. This will be a new experience for Rubin, but if he has any initial trouble adapting to the new scheme, there is no doubt in my mind that he will find a way to alter his game and make it work. I wouldn't call him an elite defensive tackle, but he's certainly a worthy starter who has earned his position after minimal expectations.


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