More Than Likely In:
50/50 Chance They’re In:
Possibly Practice Squad:
Outside Looking In:
Special teams, special teams, special teams. The Browns’ current linebacker room isn’t necessarily stacked with proven NFL talent. Besides B.J. Goodson and Mack Wilson, none of them have really seen an NFL field much. These guys are going to have to be able to play special teams if they want to stay on this roster opening week in 2020.
The Browns seem committed to allowing these guys to develop and fight through their growing pains. I don’t see them doing a blockbuster trade to pull in a linebacker anytime soon. The easiest way for any of these linebackers to prove they deserve a shot is to play special teams. If you’re a special teams ace, you’re going to find a roster on this new Browns team. Games are won and lost on special teams.
You’re not going to get any of these guys to be pro bowl linebackers right off of the bat, but if they can prove to be valuable on special teams, then they’re going to find a spot on the roster. Sione Takitaki found himself playing 245 snaps of special teams for the Browns last season, which was 57% of our special teams snaps. That’s a great amount, and he has proven himself in that aspect. His roster spot is solely secured, not because he was a former third-round pick, but because he is a valuable asset to Coach Mike Priefer and the Browns special teams unit.
Takitaki has put in the work on special teams and has earned his shot to become a starting linebacker in the NFL. Jacob Phillips has been drafted though to compete with him, Mack Wilson, and B.J. Goodson who will all fight for most of the linebacker snaps. Those four are pretty safe for their roster spots, at least on the week one roster.
Tae Davis is another special teams ace and played 143 special teams snaps in nine games with the Browns last season. He should not be eligible for practice squad anymore, and he has proven he can contribute as a backup on the roster.
I’m going with predicting the Browns linebacker core right now to be Mack Wilson, Sione Takitaki, B.J. Goodson, Jacob Phillips, and Tae Davis.