The Cleveland Browns have added two more players to their defense for the 2023 season with the signing of defensive tackle Trysten Hill, as reported by ClevelandBrowns.com, and cornerback Mike Ford, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The details of Hill’s contract were not disclosed at this time, but Ford is set to sign a one-year, $2.25 million deal.
Trysten Hill is the 4th New Defensive Lineman to Sign in Free Agency
Trysten Hill is the fourth defensive lineman to sign with the Browns in free agency. The franchise also signed defensive linemen Dalvin Tomlinson and Maurice Hurst at defensive tackle, and defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo.
In his four seasons in the NFL, Hill has notched 39 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks. He was a second-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2019 after a three-year career at the University of Central Florida.
In 2021, Hill served a one-game suspension for unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct after punching Las Vegas Raiders offensive lineman John Simpson after the Raiders’ 36-33 overtime win. Hill was initially suspended for two games, but that was later reduced to one after Hill appealed.
Mike Ford is a Special Teams Star
Cornerback Ford is a special teams standout. In 2022, he had eight defensive tackles and seven special teams tackles, and ESPN’s Michael Rothstein recently described him as having “developed into one of the league’s top special teams players and is a key contributor there.” He can also play corner or safety if need be. In his five years in the league, he has recorded 53 solo tackles and eight assisted tackles. He played in college at Southeast Missouri State.
In addition to Ford, the Browns have signed safety Juan Thornhill and re-signed linebackers Sione Takitaki and Jordan Kunaszyk.
Ford kind of broke the news of his signing himself, tweeting “Dawg Pound!” with a puppy emoji.
The Browns Are Gearing Up For Jim Schwartz’s New Defensive Scheme
In the offseason, the Cleveland Browns fired defensive coordinator Joe Woods after three seasons and brought in Jim Schwartz from the Tennessee Titans. In free agency, the club has clearly put their efforts behind Schwartz’s scheme that typically involves unleashing the defensive line in a wide nine technique and a four-man front.
The Cleveland Browns had one of the worst run defenses in the league in 2022, so they are obviously hoping that Schwartz and all of these free-agency signing are going to bolster that aspect of their defense.
When the team announced Schwartz’s hiring, head coach Kevin Stefanski said in the official press conference that he has admired Schwartz from afar for a long time.
“Coach Schwartz’s résumé speaks for itself. He is somebody who I have a ton of respect for. We did not know each other personally really before this process, but we have a lot of mutual friends, and I have admired his career from afar. Has done it at a high level at multiple stops. Just pleased that we really believe that he is the guy to lead our defense. We are excited to add him to our staff and excited to add him to the organization and the wealth of knowledge that he can bring to this group, including myself,” said Stefanski.
Schwartz added that he is looking forward to bringing his “fast and aggressive” style of defensive play to the Browns.
“[T]he thing I have taken the most pride from is when people say that we play fast and aggressive. … Everybody wants to be smart, fast, and physical, but that just does not happen. There is a way that you can facilitate that. I have sort of learned that over the years. If you see our linebackers here, if I am doing a good job, they are playing fast and physical and there is not a lot of hesitation in their play,” said Schwartz.
He added that he runs “a very D-line friendly scheme” that hopefully lets “those guys go and be disruptive.”