CLEVELAND -- The trade for linebacker Tom Cousineau has given the Cleveland Browns the dominating defensive player they've sought for many years, but it's not going to help with their biggest deficiency - an anemic pass rush.
Browns' Coach Sam Rutigliano, at a Saturday news conference to announce the acquisition, left unanswered the question about where Cousineau would play.
The former Ohio State All-America, who played three years in Canada after being the first draft choice of the Buffalo Bills, said he would be willing to play either inside or outside, but admitted he would be better inside.
But Cleveland already has two good inside linebackers -- Dick Ambrose and Robert L. Jackson -- and its biggest need is someone to replace outside linebacker Don Goode.
Rutigliano and Bill Davis, director of player personnel, will direct the Browns' draft this week and Rutigliano refused to say Saturday if the Cousineau deal would send the Browns looking for offensive players.
He said he and Davis had settled on a list of four collegians as being the top draft choices and that by simple arithmetic (Cleveland has the third pick) one of them would be available.
Texas defensive tackle Kenneth Sims is regarded as the only defensive lineman able to start immediately for any team and he's likely to be picked by the New England Patriots.
Before the Cousineau acquisition, speculation had the Browns picking a linebacker, either Johnnie Cooks of Mississippi State or Chip Banks of Southern Cal.
Has that thinking changed?
'Offense is like the stock market,' said Rutigliano. 'But a great defense stays the same. Tom is an impact player in an area where we've been trying to fill a voidfor four years.
'The way you become a dominant defense is to keep getting great players on either the line, linebackers or secondary.'
Browns' owner Art Modell, who dropped out of the bidding for the free agent a week previously with a blast at Cousineau's agent, said his interest in Cousineau was rekindled when he signed an offer sheet with the Houston Oilers.
Apparently, the prospect of Cousineau rushing Brian Sipe twice a year for the next decade was apparently too much to stomach.
So the Buffalo Bills, who had drafted Cousineau first in 1979 only to see him go to the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, exercised their rights to match the offer, signed him Thursday and traded him to the Browns.
Modell said the Browns gave up a first-round draft choice in 1983, plus other unspecified choices in the following two years.