The Cleveland Browns have built a roster that is loaded with talent, but there is one position lacking. There is a simple solution the Browns should act on.
While the Cleveland Browns have a top-10 (maybe top-five) roster in the NFL, fans have yet to see that translate into wins. The 2019 roster was equally as strong, but poor coaching and a losing culture were too much to overcome. After a disappointing six wins last year, the keys to the franchise have been turned over to Andrew Berry, Paul DePodesta, and Kevin Stefanski.
Colin Cowherd talked about the Browns offense for a few minutes on Tuesday’s show saying the Browns are loaded on offense and have two of everything. The Browns have two receivers in Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, two running backs in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, two tight ends in Austin Hooper and David Njoku, plus the Browns even have two quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum.
While the roster is strong, especially on offense, there is still one position that remains a concern: the linebacker position. Historically, analytics have not valued the linebacker position, but the current depth chart may be the weakest in the NFL. After seeing Joe Schobert walk away and Christian Kirksey cut from the organization, the worry is justified.
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
Mack Wilson was tremendous in 2019 for a fifth-round pick who was forced to start because of injuries. However, he is still a fifth-round pick who at times looks lost and was constantly directed where to line up last season by Schobert, who is now in Jacksonville.
B.J. Goodson and Sione Takitaki are the next two linebackers on the roster who both lack athleticism and are more known for being run stoppers than dropping into coverage. Wilson is the only of the three who has been an every-down linebacker in the NFL.
The remaining depth chart consists of Jermaine Grace, Tae Davis, and Willie Harvey, who all will likely be special teams contributors at best. Rookie third-round pick Jacob Phillips was a tackling machine at LSU, but he will also likely need time to develop as well.
Like Goodson and Takitaki, Phillips is known as a run stuffer and will need work to be on the field in passing situations. Maybe defensive coordinator Joe Woods has seen vast improvement from Takitaki and Wilson and he knows they are ready for the workload. But it appears the Browns still need to address the position.
Why not Nigel Bradham? Yes, there are a few character questions (keep in mind he was never charged on anything), but Berry is a familiar face, and Bradham at times has been a high performing NFL linebacker.
Bradham was ticketed for possession of marijuana in 2013, as well as having a loaded gun in a Miami airport in 2016. Additionally, Bradham was charged with aggravated battery in 2016. All of these issues have been dismissed without jail time and there have been no incidents since.
Berry was a part of the front office in Cleveland who reportedly had an interest in signing Bradham before the 2016 season, but he ultimately ended up signing with the Philadelphia Eagles. Obviously, Berry would be familiar with Bradham’s character and play from his time in Philly.
Before an injury in 2019 that slowed him down, Bradham recorded 88 plus tackles in each of the previous three seasons, which is more than any current linebacker on the Browns’ roster has recorded in one season.
The fact Bradham is still available does mean there are some character concerns, but a team like the Browns could sign Bradham at this point with very little risk. Why not bring him in on a two-year, $3-5 million deal with no guaranteed money.
If he becomes a problem, the Browns could cut him with no repercussions. Obviously, teams aren’t knocking on the door for his services and he could solve a major issue for the Browns. John Dorsey was famous for taking these risks, and hopefully, Berry is ready to take one as well.