Browns: Top 5 linebacker targets in the 2018 NFL Draft

BOISE, ID - DECEMBER 2: Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch
BOISE, ID - DECEMBER 2: Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch /
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The Cleveland Browns have some nice pieces on their linebacking corps. But with Jamie Collins going down with an injury, they might need to add some depth to their group. These are their top five options in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Christian Kirksey, Joe Schobert, and Jamie Collins. This linebacking group, like the defensive line, is one of the strongest suits for the Cleveland Browns. For a team that has tried to build itself through its front seven, they have certainly done well on the middle line of defense.

In 2017, the Browns mostly ran a hybrid of a two or three-linebacker set. Under new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the Browns were looking for uber-athletic, fast, and hard-hitting linebackers.

The entire group was working as a well-oiled machine until middle linebacker and defensive stud Jamie Collins went down for the Browns. Directly after an interception in week ten against the Detroit Lions, Collins went down with a torn right MCL.

Up until then, it was a virtual impossibility that the Browns would have to address a need at linebacker in the 2018 NFL Draft. Now, however, they may need to fill a hole in the middle of the linebacking crew.

Joe Schobert is just fine as a tackling machine, making his first Pro Bowl in 2017, but the Browns could always use some depth on the second line of defense.

As always, there are a few prospects that stand out above the rest in this year’s linebacker class. These are the top five linebackers, especially middle linebackers, in the 2018 NFL Draft.