Cleveland Browns: Projected surprise starter at LB

Pro Football Focus predicted their list of 2021 Cleveland Browns starters, and their was one slight surprise at linebacker, with the analytics based site forecasting that second-round pick Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah will be in the starting lineup.

PFF listed Anthony Walker as the other starter, with the Browns playing a 4-2-5 base defense.

JOK’s name in the starting lineup may not be all that surprising to some, since many viewed him as a first-round pick that the Browns somehow stole in Round 2.

That said, the Browns have been very high on Jacob Phillips, according to previous reports. T he former third-round pick started seeing more reps at the end of his rookie season. Plus, at 6-foot-3, 229 pounds, he offers a size advantage.

Other linebackers who could see significant action include Malcom Smith, Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki.

It doesn’t mean JOK can’t carve out a spot, especially when Cleveland decides to deploy three linebackers, but just looking at Phillips last season, the Brown front office seems to content to ease their young backers into action.

JOK was touted coming out of college as safety playing in a linebacker’s. While hopefully that true, I can’t forget the reports coming out of minicamp where his size, or lack there of, was noticeable.

Elsewhere on the roster, there were no other surprises. PFF slotted in Greg Newsome to start opposite Denzel Ward, but that’s to be expected, as Greedy Williams has to show he’s capable of playing football. Free-agent acquisition Troy Hill was predicted to get the nod in nickel situations, which also isn’t a shocker.

Ideally, Williams will have a terrific preseason and training camp, assuring Cleveland will have prime corner ready to step up. It’d be nice, but how Williams performs will be one the storylines of camp. For example, can he deliver a hit without getting carted off the field?

At safety, John Johnson, Ronnie Harrison and Grant Delpit were listed as the three starters.