Cleveland Browns: 5 biggest roster battles brewing after 2021 NFL Draft

Cleveland Browns Jordan Elliott (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns Jordan Elliott (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Browns Mack Wilson (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

3. Cleveland Browns LB battle

Battle: Mack Wilson vs Malcom Smith vs Tony Fields

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah can earn a starting spot on this team. He’s the reigning Butkus Award winner and let’s be honest about the current state of the linebacking corps: There’s players we all like at the position, but no clear cut playmaker was on the depth chart before the Browns drafted JOK.

With this in mind, JOK could certainly earn starting snaps. Additionally, the Browns really like Jacob Phillips. The team is obviously trying to get faster on defense and Phillips fits the mold.

Of course, whether he’s technically a starter will depend on what scheme the Browns deploy, as coordinator Joe Woods is reported to heavily use a two-linebacker, three safety scheme.

Even if this is the case, JOK is a contender to log a lot of snaps, as his coverage ability has been described as a safety in a linebacker’s body.

Backup linebacker position will be a battle to watch as well as the Browns have a lot of bodies in the position room: JOK, Phillips, Sione Takitaki, Mack Wilson, Anthony Walker, Tony Fields and Malcom Smith will all be vying for time.

Wilson is really the player to look at here. A PFF grade of 36.2 from last season? The former fifth-round pick has been a body at position, but the Browns have made additions for the better. Wilson’s still relatively cheap, though, so the final decision could come down to him and veteran.

Perhaps Malcom Smith. The Browns brought him back and he’s affordable. He also graded out high in in coverage. How the rookies perform in camp will ultimately determine what happens.