The Cleveland Browns should be able to field one of the league’s better defensive front lines in 2019.
General manager John Dorsey added defensive end Olivier Vernon (trade) and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (free agency) to incumbents Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi to create a formidable front four.
The problem, just as it was last year, is that there is still an extreme drop off in production whenever the starters are out of the game.
Daniel Ekuale is a candidate to fix that problem and the second-year defensive lineman caught the eye of the coaching staff during Organized Team Activities, according to Terry Pluto at cleveland.com:
The coaches have been impressed with defensive lineman Daniel Ekuale. The spring organized team activities and minicamps are a time for marginal players such as Ekuale to put themselves in position to play a bigger role when training camp opens.
Ekuale was last heard from when he received a four-game suspension last December for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. That could have been a career-killer for a player who joined the team as an undrafted free agent and spent the first 13 weeks of the season on the team’s practice squad.
But it sounds as if Ekuale has worked himself back into the coaching staff’s good graces. While it is difficult to draw any conclusions from what players do during practices in short and helmets and without tackling, Ekuale should have a chance to earn a roster spot this summer.
Which given the options the Browns currently have as backups along the defensive line may not be that hard to accomplish.