1. Francis Bernard, Linebacker
The Cleveland Browns did get some good news when it came to one of their key starters at linebacker. Mack Wilson had suffered a hyperextended knee and it was believed he would be out for the majority of the season. However, his swelling had gone down enough that he was able to avoid surgery and could be back after the first quarter of the season.
While his addition to the roster will certainly help, the Browns depth chart is still lacking — and it got even thinner than expected when they waived Willie Harvey on Saturday. There’s still hope that Sione Takitaki will take a step forward in year two and veteran B.J. Goodson has been impressive in camp. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t scan the waiver wires for help. And if they did this, a player such as Francis Bernard would make a lot of sense.
Bernard was undrafted out of Utah and signed with the Dallas Cowboys, where it seemed all but certain he would make the final roster. Bernard was constantly showing up in practices and outside of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, they were thin at the position — especially after Sean Lee went to the IR.
A former teammate of Takitaki’s at BYU, Bernard transferred to Utah after the 2016 season. He had experience as a running back before converting to linebacker which could arguably help him in diagnosing the offense’s plans when running the ball.
As a rookie, he would give Cleveland an energetic special teams gunner but he has the potential to develop into more down the road.