Philadelphia Eagles – Linebacker Jordan Hicks
If the Browns want to fill their need at linebacker with a traditional linebacker instead of moving a safety into the position, they will have that option during free agency. There is a good amount of talent available at the position, with Jordan Hicks one of the players at the top of the class.
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The 26-year-old linebacker played in 12 games last season, making 91 total tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks, six quarterback hits, and five passes defended. In 2016, Hicks intercepted five passes.
For a linebacker, Hicks plays extremely well in coverage. Quarterbacks only have an 85.2 NFL passer rating when targeting Hicks over the course of his four-year career, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Browns linebackers struggled mightily when in coverage last season. Tight ends abused the Browns defense in the middle of the field, making it necessary for Cleveland to find upgrades in coverage at the second level of the defense. Hicks would be a massive upgrade at the position.
Hicks also is a solid run-stuffer in the middle of the defense. The biggest questions about Hicks is his durability and if he can stay healthy. He has only ever played one full season (2016) and has missed 21 regular season games in four years.
With the Browns looking to upgrade their defense, it would be worth the risk of Hicks’ health to add one of the best all-around linebackers in the NFL. Pairing him with Joe Schobert would create a strong duo in the middle of the defense that would make life miserable for opposing offenses.