Browns Sign Round 3 LB Jacob Phillips

The Browns now have both their third-round picks under contract. They reached with the No. 97 overall pick — linebacker Jacob Phillips — on Sunday, according to agent Drew Rosenhaus (Twitter link).

Cleveland exited the 2018 season with two high-priced linebackers and a proven starter, but the team has fully transitioned at linebacker entering the 2020 campaign. After the Browns released Jamie Collins last year, they cut the now-injury-prone Christian Kirksey earlier this year. They then let Joe Schobert sign with the Jaguars in free agency. Younger cogs have taken their places.

Phillips joins 2019 draftees Sione Takitaki (a third-rounder) and Mack Wilson (Round 5) on the Browns’ defensive second level, where ex-Giants starter B.J. Goodson also resides. Most of the Browns’ expenses on defense have gone up front, with younger players populating Cleveland’s linebacker and secondary sections of the depth chart.

One of 14 LSU draftees — a total that matched a record for one school — Phillips joined first-round Ravens pick Patrick Queen as a Tigers linebacker starter. Phillips outproduced Queen in tackles in both 2018 and ’19, totaling 200 stops between his sophomore and junior seasons. Phillips declared for the draft early.

Here is how the Browns’ draft class looks as of mid-July. Only one player, a fellow LSU draftee, remains unsigned.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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4 comments on “Browns Sign Round 3 LB Jacob Phillips

  1. wagner13

    I’m really surprised the Browns didn’t do more to address the linebacker room. They were right to back off from Schobert and his lucrative contract demands, but they didn’t replace him either.

    Mack is good in coverage, but his tackling could use some work. Goodwin is just a mediocre journeyman. Phillips is a solid run defender, but I believe he’ll need a year to acclimate to the NFL. It would really help if Takitaki stepped up his game

    • I agree with all of this comment. Schobert was a good LB, but not worth his contract demands. For every one sack, pick, tipped pass, fumble recovery or FF, there was would be 10 times where he would have been drug 4-5 yards by the opposing team’s RB. Just can’t have that playing In the AFC North.

      All the guys the browns have are young. We can’t expect too much from them. Wilson did great for being a rookie last year, but that was with Schobert, who was the better LB.

      I like what the browns did up front. I’m wondering if their strategy is to have solid interior lineman with guys that hold the edge on the outside, putting less stress on the second level. I have to wonder how much Sendejo, Karl Joesph and Delpit are on the field at the same time this year. Makes a lot of sense to have an extra safety over the 3 LBs on the roster. That’s the only known way of stopping Lamar Jackson, 3 safeties on the field and make him throw.

      • wagner13

        I think Sendejo will play extensively as the third safety. He’s not very good in coverage, but can make tackles in open space. This should allow Delpit to ball hawk, which would suit his skill set.

        I really liked the Billings acquisition, as he’s an underrated run stuffer. Elliott has room to grow as well and could take over for Ogunjobi as the year progresses.

        I’m a huge fan of Cleveland’s offense, but I believe this team will only go as far as the defense allows it

        • I’m surprised the bengals didn’t resign Billings. I too, think he’s exactly what the browns need in a rotational DT. I still think the browns could use another rotational DE. Not buying Vernon staying healthy all year. Clayborn is decent, but after him, a lot of unproven guys.

          I think Cleveland’s offense needs to prove it. Chubb is one of the best back in the league. Unbelievably underrated. He’s the reason the browns beat the ravens in early 2019. And there isn’t much drop off with Kareem Hunt. Weapons everywhere, but we saw them get internally derailed by a rookie HC. Hopefully we don’t have the same issue this year.

          Idk what to think of the safety situation. I’m very glad the browns were able to draft Delpit. Between Joesph, Sendejo, Delpit and Redwine, I would imagine 3 of those 4 on the field rather than 3 LBs would be a solution to the browns limited personnel at LB. I don’t care which 3, as long as we are able to stop the run with them, I’ll be happy.

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