4. Nick Kwiatkoski, LB
At the end of the 2019 season, there was no question that the linebacker position would be addressed. Cleveland could’ve taken the easy approach, re-signing Joe Schobert, keeping Christian Kirksey on the payroll, all the while continuing the development of Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki.
However, rather than addressing a position group with minor needs, the Browns front office blew a hole threw its linebacking corps by releasing Kiko, and announcing their decision not to retain Schobert.
That leaves Wilson as the elder statesmen of the group, and while the fifth-round pick had a solid rookie campaign, there’s still plenty of room for polish.
With a weak free-agent class awaiting the Browns, it’s a wonder as to what direction Paul DePodesta and Andrew Berry will go. If the organization doesn’t want to pay a homegrown talent such as Schobert $10 million per season, it’s hard to believe the front office is going to dole out $12 million a year for Cory Littleton, or $9 million per season for Blake Martinez.
So, enter Chicago Bears free agent inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, a player OvertheCap.com projects to sign a two-contract that will pay him about $3.25 annually.
Kwiatkoski graded out as PFF’s 15th rated linebacker in 2019. When compared to Schobert, Kwiatoski was graded out as being far superior against the run, while also grading out a tick higher in pass coverage.
That said, he would have to make the adjustment from Chicago’s 3-4 system to the Browns’ 4-3 base scheme.
Based off the moves made by the DePodesta-Berry regime, it appears this front office does not value the position as much as it does other spots.
Kwiatoski has shown to be a tackling machine, when he plays, totaling 76 takedowns last season, while starting in eight games and appearing in 16.