Blake Martinez (LB)
The Cleveland Browns would be wise to re-sign Joe Schobert. Re-signing Schobert is imperative, but that doesn’t mean the Browns shouldn’t pursue Blake Martinez. The Browns have a unique corp of backers, with Schobert and Christian Kirksey being versatile to play inside or out. Schobert came up in Wisconsin as an outside linebacker, and Kirksey played a lot outside of Schobert in their only full season together as starters.
Bringing in Martinez may limit their versatility, as he’s essentially only able to play middle linebacker, but he can be a valuable asset in the passing game. Martinez has been criticized heavily for his play against the run this past year, but he’s a big, physical linebacker who can shed blocking and protect against the pass better than just about anyone else at his position (besides Schobert).
There is a belief he can get better at reading the run game and if you can’t teach a 6’2,240-pound man how to stop a 180-pound man from moving forward, then you’re not a very good coach.
Sure, the big issue the Browns faced late last year was the pass rush, and Martinez doesn’t help with that. If the Browns can get a pass rusher in the middle rounds, and Myles Garrett returns for a bulk of the season, then you don’t need a lot of help from the linebacking corp. Ideally, with Martinez, you hope you can get him on a good deal, so you can still chase after someone else to bolster the defensive line.
In the off chance you can’t get a pass rusher, making sure the pass defense is as good as you can make it is a priority. The secondary needs improving, but the safeties hitting the market are as good, if not worse (by and large) than what the Browns just had. So there’s no reason to pursue a new safety when you can just re-sign the ones you have.
Going after Martinez helps take away a lot of short passes, and forces opposing offenses to take more shots down the field. In theory.