It is time for the third and final part of our defensive line preview for training camp (check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven't already). Except for Auston English, the guys in today's article will probably be treated as afterthoughts throughout most of training camp -- they'll be lucky if they get some action with the third-teamers. That's what happens when you've got 14 defensive linemen on the roster, not including Phil Taylor. After the jump, we take a look at English, William Green, Kiante Tripp, and Brian Sanford.
11. AUSTON ENGLISH - BACKUP PASS-RUSHING DEFENSIVE END
You might think that English's career with the Browns started last season, but he was actually signed by the team after the 2010 NFL Draft. English didn't make it to training camp, though, and was waived. He played a year in the UFL before being re-signed by the Browns after the 2010 season.
Last year, English had a good camp and a terrific preseason, as he registered 12 tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles in four games. English originally made the team's 53-man roster, but was quickly waived and placed on the practice squad instead. He was called up in Week 6 to the active roster, though, where he stayed for the remainder of the year and had 7 tackles.
English was only active for seven games, so he should be practice squad eligible again in 2012. That is likely where he will end up, considering there is a lot of talent in front of him. English showed a lot of promise as a pass rusher last year and has an outside chance at making the roster over Marcus Benard and Emmanuel Stephens. If any of the four players in today's preview make the roster, it'll be English.
Final Roster Odds: 10%
Practice Squad Odds: 90% (if he doesn't make the final roster)
12. BRIAN SANFORD - BACKUP DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Sanford was another defensive lineman who the Browns added to their roster following the 2010 NFL Draft. Unlike English, he stuck around for training camp that year and ended up being on the practice squad for half the season. He was promoted to the 53-man roster for the final eight games, but never played.
Sanford came back in 2011 and was placed on the practice squad again. He got called up in Week 13, and this time, he actually played in five games, registering a total of 5 tackles. If I understand the practice squad rules correctly, Sanford is an example of a player who can be placed on the squad for a third year, as long as the Browns always carry 53 players on their roster. Sanford is listed as a defensive tackle, but might be more of a tweener. I'm not sure if he has enough of a niche to beat anyone ahead of him; unless more defensive tackles fall to injury, he'll be hoping to stick around on the practice squad again.
Final Roster Odds: <1%
Practice Squad Odds: 30%
13. KIANTE TRIPP - BACKUP DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Fans love rooting for the underdog. The possibility of that happening for Tripp probably went out of the window thanks to the burglary charges he faced last week. Regardless of what happens in Tripp's case, that's what fans are going to remember about him.
As a sign of how much the Browns lacked depth on the defensive line at the end of last season, not only were English and Sanford on the 53-man roster, Tripp was too (he finished with 1 tackle). Tripp was with the Falcons in training camp last year, but didn't make their final roster. The Browns signed Tripp to their practice squad in October, and he was promoted later in the year. Scouting reports say that he has some quickness but doesn't get a great push at the line. He won't make the team, and I wonder if he'll even make it to training camp.
Final Roster Odds: <0.1%
Practice Squad Odds: 10%
14. WILLIAM GREEN - BACKUP DEFENSIVE END
RUN WILLIAM, RUN! Fans might notice this name in the program guides for training camp, but no, this is not the same William Green who was a running back/had a miraculous run against Atlanta/got stabbed. He's just a rookie defensive lineman who happens to have the same name. With that said, your old "Green" jerseys temporarily have some value again.
Out of all the defensive linemen on the roster, Green is the only undrafted free agent. Unfortunately, in terms of a scouting report, I really couldn't find anything on Green. In that sense, he's kind of a wildcard. If he shows something that the coaches like, he could make the practice squad over the likes of English, Sanford, or Tripp.
Final Roster Odds: <1%
Practice Squad Odds: 20%
(INJURED) PHIL TAYLOR - REHABBING DEFENSIVE TACKLE
There is a chance that Taylor will play during the 2012 season. If he is placed on the physically unable to perform list, Taylor will miss the first six games. He would be eligible to practice after that, and then eligible to actually play after three more weeks.
The key for Taylor is that he does not rush back, something D'Qwell Jackson advised him of. If Taylor is ready in November, it would be beneficial for him to continue gaining experience, regardless of whether or not the Browns are in contention at that point. If Cleveland is in contention, it'll give Cleveland a chance to test guys like John Hughes or Billy Winn as rotational players, something they are expected to be in the long term.
That finishes off our previews for defensive linemen. Next up, we will shift to the offensive linemen. Until then, here is our final poll for the defensive line. It focuses on one player, since he'll have the best chance at making it.