The 2007 linebacker core was a strong suit of the team. Many fan favorites existed in this core, including D’Qwell Jackson, Kamerion Wimbley, and Andra Davis. The Browns also had three-time Super Bowl champion Willie McGinest in his final seasons. The linebacker core also had Chaun Thompson, Leon Williams, and Antwan Peek.
2007 saw a major step back for Wimbley, as he went from the 11-sack season in 2006 to only five sacks in 2007. He also had 51 total tackles, three passes defended, and three forced fumbles. He also started every game at right outside linebacker.
Jackson wasn’t in his prime either, as it was also his second season in the league. He started at middle linebacker for 13 starts for the team. He had 101 tackles, one sack, three passes defended and an interception.
Davis started 10 games at middle linebacker also, as the Browns ran a 3-4 defense. He appeared in 16 games. He made 67 tackles, three passes defended, and a forced fumble.
Williams started nine games at both left outside linebacker and middle linebacker. He had four sacks, 85 tackles, and three passes defended.
McGinest started 11 games at left outside linebacker for the team. He racked up three sacks, 30 tackles, and five passes defended.
Peek also saw five starts between left outside linebacker and middle linebacker. He had four sacks, 19 tackles, and four passes defended. The linebacker core was full of big names, but none were in their prime. Wimbley took a step back, Jackson hadn’t peaked yet, and McGinest was nearing the end of his career.
The 2018 linebacker core is arguably the strongest position on the team. It could be debated that the core is the strongest in the NFL. The 2018 Linebacker core features 2017 Pro Bowler Joe Schobert and 2015 Pro Bowler Jamie Collins.
Mychal Kendricks also joins the team after being a crucial part in the 2017 Super Bowl champion Eagles defense. Christian Kirksey is one of the best linebackers in the NFL to not make a Pro Bowl. Rookie Genard Avery has been impressing so far at training camp, and James Burgess had a decent rookie year last season.
Schobert was an iron man last season as he had 142 tackles, three sacks, three forced fumbles, four passes defended, and an interception. Kirksey last season had 138 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and five passes defended.
That’s the second season in a row Kirksey posted stats similar to that. It blows my mind that he has never made a Pro Bowl yet. He should be a two-time Pro Bowler by now.
Collins only played six games last season before suffering a season ending injury, but played well the season before. Kendricks started 13 games for the Super Bowl champion defense, racking up 73 tackles, two sacks, and five passes defended.
While the 2007 linebacker core was impressive, they have nothing on this 2018 core. The 2018 core has more potential as it features key players in their prime.
2018 Cleveland Browns