1. Keep only 4 linebackers
The Browns linebackers in 2020 weren’t great. The depth chart still isn’t great, but it also doesn’t matter nearly as much as the performance of the defensive line and the secondary. In fact, the entire goal of the Woods defense is to minimize the impact the LBs have on the game, because they are naturally less adept in coverage than defensive backs, and stopping the pass is the No. 1 priority.
Locks for the roster are Anthony Walker, Jacob Phillips, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Sione Takitaki is likely to make it as well, but after that, there’s no one who is guaranteed a spot. Mack Wilson faces an uphill battle to make the team, Malcolm Smith doesn’t have much of a role if Owusu-Koramoah is starting, and rookie Tony Fields II is a fifth-round pick.
If Cleveland were to go with only four LBs, that would open up one or two roster spots for perhaps an extra offensive lineman, a defensive lineman, or another defensive back. It makes perfect sense for the Browns to keep more safeties than linebackers given how often they are expected to deploy three-safety sets.
The Browns could very well play more snaps with one LB than three, so making efficient use of the defensive spots available would mean prioritizing the DL and secondary.