Cleveland Browns: Could Tremaine Edmunds be the answer?
By Joel W. Cade
If the Cleveland Browns trade out of the No. 4 pick in the draft with the Buffalo Bills, they should target Tremaine Edmunds to boost the linebacker room.
The NFL Draft can go unfold in a variety of situations. One situation worth exploring is the likely scenario is the Cleveland Browns trading down with the Buffalo Bills. In this scenario, the Bills acquire the No. 4 pick with the Browns getting No. 12 and No. 22 plus either a second in 2018 or a first in 2019.
If this should happen (I am personally hoping it does), the Browns should look to upgrade the linebacker room.
Some will argue that staying put at No. 4 and taking NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb is a great idea. For the record, if they stay put at No. 4, Chubb should be the pick. But trading down may be the best option. One reason to trade down would be to boost the linebacker room.
The problem that needs fixed in the linebacker room is both depth at the position and Joe Schobert. This may be a hard pill to swallow given that he was the only Brown at the 2018 Pro Bowl. Somehow carrying the label of Pro-Bowler makes fans think he is an all-around linebacker. He is not.
Without getting too much into tearing down Schobert (which is not the point of this article), he has areas in which he needs to improve significantly and it is unclear he will be able to do so. Last season he was slated to be the backup middle linebacker to Tank Carder. He was unable to beat Carder out and only started due to Carder’s injury.
But Schobert made the best out of the situation. Give him credit. He was a tackling machine in the run game and helped the Browns with their improved run defense. But his pass coverage skills were seriously lacking as tight ends and receivers over the middle absolutely murdered the Browns all season. His pass rushing skills are undeveloped and his size makes it doubtful he will be able to handle those duties consistently. Upgrading at middle linebacker would seriously improve the Browns defense.
But not any upgrade will do, Schobert is a Pro Bowl run stopper. If the Browns can find someone who can stop the run, play effective pass defense and increase the level of athleticism at middle linebacker, then they should draft him on April 26.
The person they should draft at No. 12 is Tremaine Edmunds.