In part 2 of our outside linebacker training camp preview on the Cleveland Browns, we discuss Joe Schobert, Armonty Bryant, Cam Johnson, and Jackson Jeffcoat.
5. JOE SCHOBERT - VERSATILE / SPECIAL TEAMS LINEBACKER
had the third-highest grade among edge players in this year's class, but that his smaller size might force him to play inside linebacker at the NFL level.
Heading into camp, it's still a bit of a mystery as to how the team plans on using Schobert. We've heard rumblings that he is expected to be a key cog on special teams, which means that either Tank Carder's job is in trouble or he could simply take over for what Craig Robertson used to contribute in that department. Defensively, the team has conveyed that they think he can play multiple positions. His strengths include playing coverage, shedding blocks to disrupt plays, and a strong work ethic. With so many rotational players already on the roster at outside linebacker, it's hard to say where he fits in right now -- his snaps might be limited at the start of the year.
Final Roster Odds: 100%
6. ARMONTY BRYANT - SUSPENDED LINEBACKER / POSITION UNCERTAINTY
Armonty Bryant set career highs last season, registering 40 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. The sacks came in spurts against bad football teams, though -- 2.5 sacks against the Titans in Week 2, and 2 sacks against the 49ers in Week 14. The Browns won both games and racked up big sack numbers as a team.
Bryant also missed the last two games of last season for an arrest in December. He was indicted in February on two counts of felony drug possession, and the NFL handed him a 4-game suspension in March for violating the league's performance enhancing drug (PED) policy. Because he'll begin the season on the suspension list, the team really doesn't have to cut him right away if he doesn't perform well enough in camp to make the 53-man roster; they could defer that decision until Week 5.
The best thing that could have happened for Bryant is that the team's other Bryant, Desmond Bryant, suffered a season-ending injury recently. Bryant used to play the defensive end position but transitioned to outside linebacker in 2015. Despite his off-the-field issues, I think he showed positive growth on the field from year two to year three and can provide some depth at defensive end once he returns.
Week 5 Roster Odds: 70%
7. CAM JOHNSON - BACKUP OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
Cam Johnson entered the league as a seventh-round draft choice by thein 2012, and was with the from 2013-2014. He spent most of last season on the Browns' practice squad before getting a call-up to the 53-man roster for Week 17.
Besides that brief call-up, Johnson hasn't received much gameday experience. Last year's promotion was made because the team was inactivating OLBfor his end-of-the-season arrest. It has to be pretty hard for an NFL player to last four seasons in the NFL with just 8 career tackles to show for it. That is usually indicative of a player with a good work ethic and understanding of the system, but lacks the "it" factor. Sure enough, when Ryan Slowik, the team's outside linebackers coach, was asked about Johnson, he said, "He has been a very pleasant surprise. He works his tail off. He does everything you tell him to do." Heading into his fifth year, this is his final chance at sticking in the NFL.
Final Roster Odds: 10%
8. JACKSON JEFFCOAT - DDD
After playing for the Texas Longhorns in college, it was somewhat of a surprise that Jackson Jeffcoat wasn't drafted in 2014. The Seahawks signed him as an undrafted free agent, but he couldn't make their final roster.
Jackson has spent the past two seasons with the Redskins, with time spent on the practice squad, active roster, and injured reserve. He played in 3 games as a rookie, including 1 start in which he logged an interception. He played in 6 games last year before landing on the injury list, but has totaled just 9 career tackles. Jackson is a developmental/depth player heading into the team's offseason programs, and those who know me will know that the fact that he was claimed off waivers by this regime in April gives him a slight edge over someone like Cam Johnson.
Final Roster Odds: 10%
Today's poll asks about the utilization of Joe Schobert.