Cleveland Browns: Pre-training camp 53-man roster prediction
Linebacker (7): Joe Schobert, Christian Kirksey, Genard Avery, Adarius Taylor, Sione Takitaki, Mack Wilson, Willie Harvey
The Browns seemed as though they weren’t satisfied at all with the play of their linebackers in 2018. First, they released Jamie Collins who led the team in tackles with 104. The veteran, who they acquired in 2016 in a trade with the Patriots, also had an interception and four sacks but wasn’t performing as well — or as consistently — as his large contract suggested he should.
John Dorsey continued to make moves at the position as he added former Tampa Bay Buccaneers team captain Adarius Taylor. He’s one of the players they added in the offseason who has stellar special teams experience but could end up being on the field a lot in their base defense.
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Then in the draft, Cleveland again added to the position as they spent a third-round pick on BYU’s Sione Takitaki and a fifth-round pick on Alabama’s Mack Wilson. Takitaki is a player who had several suspensions early in his career but turned his life around and became a team captain. When watching him on tape, you can see that he’s all over the field and should have a bright future. As for Wilson, he was projected to go much higher and could be their latest draft steal at linebacker.
Their last steal at the position was Genard Avery. The Memphis product was also a fifth-round pick who showed a lot of promise as a rookie last season. He should be able to make a leap this year and fight for a starting spot alongside Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey.
Schobert, who enters 2019 on the final year of his contract, is looking for a third-straight season with at least 100 tackles. Kirksey is trying to bounce back after missing nine games due to a hamstring injury.
One surprising move here is the addition of Willie Harvey to this 53-man roster prediction. Another undrafted rookie, Harvey had 289 tackles and 13 sacks during his time at Iowa State. He has more than enough potential to keep around and groom for the future.