The Cleveland Browns appear to be willing to trade their 2008 draft for help on the defensive line. Tonight, the Detroit Free Press kicked off a cascade of news reports out of Detroit that the Browns and Lions are close to a deal for defensive tackle Shaun Rogers. The swap would reportedly exchange CB Leigh Bodden and the Browns third-round pick for the Lions 6-4, 357 pound lineman.
Rogers is a seven-year veteran, originally selected by the Lions in the second round of the 2001 draft out of Texas. An up-and-down career has led Rogers to the Pro Bowl twice (2005-6) but also has contained a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. In 2007, Rogers started every game at defensive tackle for the Lions, and had a career-best with 7 sacks on the season, and 2.5 sacks in a single game against the Broncos. Rogers was named a Pro Bowl alternate following the season.
Rogers asked for a trade following another disappointing Lions season, and at least a half-dozen teams were reportedly interested. Rogers has frightened off some potential suitors due to inconsistent work habits and concern about his conditioning. He can, however, be one of the league's most fearsome linemen, and could provide a dominant presence in the middle of the Browns defensive front. A strong nose tackle is critical for success in the 3-4 defense, and Rogers along with Shaun Smith could give the Browns two-deep strength at the position.
The move cold have positive ripple effects throughout the defense. Phil Savage has offered his opinion that a strong defensive front for the Browns could enable linebackers D'Qwell Jackson and Kamerion Wimbley to take their game to the next level.
In giving up the team's third round pick, Savage would doom the Browns to losing their opportunity to add impact players through the draft. The Browns gave up their first pick last year to acquire QB Brady Quinn, and gave up their second-round pick to acquire GB DE Corey Williams.
Dealing Leigh Bodden to the Lions would provide an opportunity for Daven Holly and Brandon McDonald to compete for the other starting cornerback job across the field from CB Eric Wright. McDonald impressed late in the Browns 2007 season, and Holly emerged in 2006 under the tutelage of new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.
The Orange and Brown Report will provide additional details as we get them. Keep an eye on our subscriber Ask the Insiders forum for breaking news.