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2012 NFL Draft: Phil Taylor Injury Opens the Door for Billy Winn

The Cleveland Browns suffered a huge blow to their defensive line when they lost Phil Taylor likely for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. However, the team drafted a kid out of Boise State who was pretty darn good for one of the best defensive lines in the country (three NFL draft picks in 2012 alone) named Billy Winn, whom they were able to snatch up in the sixth round.

The 6’4" 294 pound defensive tackle had eight tackles for loss and three sacks last year for the Broncos, and he was rated coming out as a second or third round pick, but certainly not a sixth round pick.

Here is what ESPN’s Jamison Hensley had to say about Winn potentially replacing Taylor on the defensive line:

The surprise contributor of the 2012 draft could be defensive tackle Billy Winn, a sixth-round pick out of Boise State. He slid in the draft because of questionable work ethic, but his skills could make him the top candidate to fill in for Taylor.

I had actually never heard that about Winn, regarding his work ethic, but it does raise some concerns. If the Browns are able to get the best out of him, this could turn out to be a good situation for the future of this team, where Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin can have someone else to rotate with on a regular basis.

Winn has pretty solid athletic ability and overall quickness. He is good at making plays happen in the backfield, whether he’s the guy taking on blocks or wrapping up quarterbacks and running backs. I think he will play a much bigger role this year than expected, and he could be a very nice late-round find for the Browns.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.