No. 4. Re-signed Sione Takitki and Anthony Walker
The Cleveland Browns were wise to re-sign Sione Takitaki and Anthony Walker, two men who are very skilled at covering the pass. With the Browns running a Wide-9 scheme now, the focus on the defensive line is going to be to get dept and apply pressure on opposing offenses. This will force the linebackers to step up and fill on rushing plays, something Takitaki can do very well.
Walker and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah are a bit smaller, so they’re not going to be as great as Takitaki stepping up and applying weight and force on runners. But Owusu-Koramoah and Walker will be a bit quicker at getting to the edge to stop any scrambling. That’s the hope at least, as Walker and Takitaki have to prove they’re healthy after each man suffered a massive injury in 2022.
While we were hoping to see more depth added to the linebacking room in the draft and free agency, the fact that the Browns are running back a unit that looked very good in 2022, when healthy, wasn’t the worst move they could make and it will hopefully boost the defense’s ability to stop the pass.
Now, can the defense, as constructed, stop the run? Well, hopefully, but not due to the linebackers, but due to the next addition.