Cleveland Browns Positional Preview: Linebackers

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We’ve arrived at perhaps the weakest unit of the entire team, the linebackers. With the departure of Joe Schobert, the team’s leading tackler in 2017 and 2019 and the second leading tackler in 2018, the corps seems to be the gaping hole in a roster that looks pretty good overall.

 

The SAM Linebacker

Starting off, one of the most underrated players on the defending CFP National Championship team, Jacob Phillips. Phillips was selected by the Browns in the third round, with the 97th overall pick, in the 2020 NFL Draft. He’s a physical linebacker that the Browns are hoping can be an immediate difference maker and replicate the success he had at LSU. He’s not known for his drop back coverage skills but is a real thumper of a player who has a very good chance be the team’s leading tackler this season.

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Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Middle Linebacker

Sione Takitaki, perhaps the most fun name to say on the team, didn’t get much playing time last season so he still has a lot to prove. With only one start under his belt, he recorded 21 combined tackles over the course of 15 games played. Takitaki had 241 combined tackles and 15.5 sacks over his collegiate career at BYU. Another mid round pick, the 80th overall pick in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Cleveland hopes that he can be the future of the team and be a Joe Schobert replacement.

 

The Weakside Linebacker

The most experienced member of the corps, Mack Wilson, played in every game last season and started all but two of them. He finished the year with 1 forced fumble, 1 interception, 7 passes defended, 1 sack and 82 combined tackles. A solid year but there’s still room for improvement, if he can take that next step this season then watch out.

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BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 03: Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Mack Wilson (30) lines up for a play during a game between the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide on November 3, 2018 at Tiger Stadium, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LA – NOVEMBER 03: Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Mack Wilson (30) lines up for a play during a game between the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide on November 3, 2018 at Tiger Stadium, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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Available Free Agents

Terrell Suggs: Suggs showed that even though he isn’t the player he used to be, he’s got a little left in the tank. The 37 year-old could bring veteran leadership to a group of very young and unproven players.

 

Alec Ogletree: Ogletree had a disappointing season last year but at only 28 years-old he could still be a valuable rotational piece for the Browns. Joe Woods’ scheme might be more favorable to his skillset and he could end up being a contributor.

Jake Ryan: Ryan had a pair of good seasons in Green Bay. He missed the 2018 season due to a torn ACL and has been trying to work his way back to full strength ever since. He could continue to make progress while getting limited minutes as a rotational piece.

Packers Linebacker Jake Ryan (Credit: Twitter @JakeRyan_47)

 

With the season rapidly approaching and our positional previews coming to an end, make sure to follow us on Twitter @FPC_Browns and tweet at us any topics you would like us to go over or other content suggestions. Also be on the lookout for our podcast which airs a new episode every Monday morning on Spotify and Stitcher!

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