Finally, we come to the main strength of this Browns team: the middle line of defense. The defensive line is solidified at every position, the secondary is much improved from 2017, but the linebacking corps is truly the highlight of the Cleveland Browns. With some homegrown talent, mixed in with some experienced studs, the Browns have a group of freakishly good linebackers that everyone in Berea should be proud of.
Starting off with Christian Kirksey, one of the longest-tenured Cleveland Browns on the roster. Since being drafted into the orange and brown in 2014, Kirksey has improved each and every year on the roster. He broke out in 2016, collecting a whopping 143 total tackles that year. Since his contract extension in the spring of 2017, Kirksey has quickly become a fan favorite, as well as a stud defender.
Jamie Collins is the true household name of the group and has been ever since the Browns traded for him from the Patriots. While he has not replicated the same success in Cleveland as he did in New England, Collins has become an anchor for the Browns, forming a killer trio with Kirksey and Joe Schobert.
Speaking of Schobert, he’s growing into his role with the Browns as well. The Wisconsin native managed 144 combined tackles in 2017 and was an alternate for the Pro Bowl. Not bad, for a third-round pick.
Finally, stud middle linebacker Mychal Kendricks makes the list, coming to Cleveland by way of the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. James Burgess and Genard Avery also deserve a mention here, but Kendricks, Kirksey, Schobert, and Collins will likely be the Browns’ starting rotation.
Cleveland runs six, maybe even seven deep at linebacker, and are still somewhat decent. That is both impressive for the Browns, and absolutely terrifying for the rest of the AFC North.