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NFL Free Agency: Jabaal Sheard to visit Patriots

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The Patriots are taking a closer look at Browns edge defender Jabaal Sheard.

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots appear to be in the market for one of the better edge players on the market. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, DE/LB Jabaal Sheard will visit with the Patriots tonight:

Sheard, 25, was originally drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Pittsburgh. The Patriots were interested in his services, but ended up selecting Ras-I Dowling with the 33rd pick instead.

In four years with the Browns, Sheard recorded 23 sacks, 12 passes defensed, and seven forced fumbles.

In 2014, after starting every game prior in his Cleveland career, Sheard started just five games. His pass rush productivity took a step back, as he recorded just two sacks. Nonetheless, he still excelled in run defense, as an outside linebacker in the Browns' 3-4.

Sheard's presence would take some pressure off Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, who play as many snaps as any defensive lineman in the league. He still has a considerable amount of upside as a pass rusher as well.