2. Young guys step up
One of the biggest question marks heading into 2020 is some of the youth on defense that will have large roles. Grant Delpit, Jacob Phillips, Mack Wilson, and Sione Takitaki will all be major contributors in the Woods scheme. Wilson started most of 2019, but only because of an injury to Christian Kirksey. None of the others have NFL experience at the moment.
Many have predicted that the Browns have the weakest linebacking core in the league. On Paper — that may be true this second. Fans, don’t worry, Wilson, Phillips, and Takitaki will be ready to step up. Have faith in this for two reasons.
One – Berry has been extremely active already in free agency. If he thought we needed an upgrade at linebacker, he would have gotten one. Have faith in the man. Two – the Browns defensive front (barring injuries), is as good as any in the league. With the big guys keeping offensive lineman covered up, it makes it much easier for the linebackers to make reads and plays.
Wilson and Takitaki will have vast improvements from last season but look for Phillips and Delpit to be impact players as well. Patrick Queen was the “big name” LSU linebacker last year drafted in the first round, but Phillips was the one who led the team in tackles.
Delpit likely would have been a top-15 pick in 2019, and an injury was the only reason he slid to the second round in 2020. Both guys played in the SEC and won a National Title last year and will be ready to play when needed.
Expect these two rookies to be on the field early and often for the Browns next season. It may take a few weeks for them to adjust, but by the end of the season, Brown’s fans will realize they drafted two studs. Look for the linebackers to step up in 2020 and lead this defense to a top-10 unit in the league.