Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports has been ranking NFL teams position-by-position throughout the summer.
Today Cole broke down the NFL linebackers, with the Browns coming in near the bottom of the league at 26.
26. Cleveland: D’Qwell Jackson is really a terrific inside linebacker, but he’s a step below the really great guys at that spot, like Patrick Willis. Sadly, there isn’t much growth potential in Jackson’s game because he’s somewhat limited as an athlete. As for the rest, the Browns are much like Kansas City in that most of these guys will probably be gone by the time the team becomes good again. Scott Fujita has the best long-term chance, but he’s somewhat miscast as an outside linebacker in a 3-4. Matt Roth had six sacks in six games, but that was an aberration. Finally, Eric Barton is a solid inside linebacker, but much closer to the end than the beginning of his career.
I’m not really surprised to see the Browns ranked so low, especially given the struggles Cleveland had stopping the run at times in 2010. However, hopefully the unit will improve this season now that a majority of the players have a year in the system under their belt.
Still, up to this point, no linebacker besides Jackson has really distinguished themselves as a reliable playmaker. Maybe Roth has found a home and will build on his promising 2009 campaign
Overall though it’s hard to argue with the Browns being ranked this low until the defense stops getting pushed around so much.