5 positions the Cleveland Browns must address in the 2023 NFL Draft

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Browns Position to Address No. 2: Linebacker

Let's take a look at each player currently on the Cleveland Browns depth chart at the linebacker position: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is a promising, young player that should be a part of the Browns future, but his is still small for a linebacker and ended last season on the IR with a foot injury.

Anthony Walker is a valuable defensive leader who was brought back this offseason on another one-year deal but played just 16 games in two seasons in Cleveland and ended last year on the IR with a torn quadriceps tendon.

Sione Takitaki was also brought back in free agency after filling in well at middle linebacker when Walker went down, but he also ended the season on IR with a torn ACL. Jacob Phillips was drafted in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but he ended the season on IR with a torn pectoral muscle.

Notice a trend, so far? Nearly every linebacker currently on the roster that is slated to play significant snaps in 2023 is coming off of a season-ending injury. That doesn't sound very promising, does it?

Tony Fields is another player back who was healthy and flashed at points last season. Jordan Kunaszyck was re-signed and former Bear Matthew Adams was brought in via free agency, but both are primarily special teams players. Storey Jackson is likely to be a training camp body and potential practice squad member.

Cleveland isn't a team that is likely to spend big on the linebacker position. They did trade up to draft Owusu-Koramoah in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, but it is not a position that they will likely pay a big-name free agent at. So pairing some cheaper free agent options like Walker and Takitaki with younger players like JOK, Fields and a new rookie seems to be the plan for the Browns front office.

Cleveland has met with one of the top 2023 NFL Draft linebackers, Trenton Simpson, so the interest is clearly there. Finding a true MIKE linebacker of the future should be a priority, if the opportunity arises, in the draft for the Browns. That's easier said than done, as these players aren't exactly plentiful in this class. I think the team could certainly trade up into the second round if one of the top linebackers falls a bit into striking distance for Berry.

Either way, even if it is later in the draft, I think the Browns need to take a chance on a player with upside that can learn from Schwartz and Walker and could potentially be a complement to JOK moving forward.