Cleveland Browns: 3 Linebacker options in the draft
3. Joe Giles-Harris, Duke
One area where the Browns defense really struggled in 2018 was in trying to stop the run. According to NFL.com, they were 28th in the league in shutting down opposing running games as they were gashed for 135.2 yards per contest. In Week 17, they were especially bad as the Baltimore Ravens had three players record at least 75 yards on the ground and as a whole, they finished with 296 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Cleveland has already attempted to find a way to fix this problem in free agency. They did so by adding defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson who was with the Minnesota Vikings in 2018 and has also spent time with the Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets in his career.
While Richardson’s addition will help, the Browns could use a bruising linebacker as well in their attempt to improve their run defense. Enter Joe Giles-Harris out of Duke. Giles-Harris is a physical linebacker who measured in at 6-foot-2 and 234-pounds at the Combine. He didn’t run especially fast, but that’s not the strength of his game. Where he will make a living is as an instinctive inside linebacker who fills gaps and slows down running games.
In his career with the Blue Devils, the former team captain had 313 tackles, 8.5 sacks and two interceptions in three seasons. He wouldn’t be a day one starter, but he has the ability to help on special teams while working toward becoming a regular part of the rotation.