3 Cleveland Browns likely entering their final season with franchise
By Randy Gurzi
2. Browns LB Jacob Phillips
Patrick Queen was the big name and found himself selected at No. 28 overall by the Baltimore Ravens but he wasn't the top tackler on LSU during their historic 2019 campaign. Instead, that honor belonged to fellow linebacker Jacob Phillips, who did nothing but find the football.
Phillips had 113 tackles, 7.5 of which went for a loss of yards, one sack, and one forced fumble for the Tigers. Even though he had the numbers and was considered a defensive leader, there were questions about his ability to perform at a high level in the NFL.
One knock was his lack of an "alpha field demeanor" which was surely exaggerated. There were also those who said he wasn't an "explosive" athlete. Even so, he still landed in the top 100 as the Browns took him at No. 97 overall in 2020.
Unfortunately, Phillips has yet to prove the doubters wrong. He continues to show flashes of being a contributor but injuries have severely limited him thus far. He's appeared in just 20 games thus far, with nine as a rookie, four in 2021, and seven this past season.
In all, he has 88 tackles, three sacks, and five pass defenses — but if he can't stay on the field, it's hard to justify bringing him back when his rookie contract ends.
There might be a chance he returns on a small, one-year contract, but it seems more likely that Cleveland elects to go with a much more affordable player that they draft in 2023 or maybe even 2024.