After covering the Browns’ starting outside linebackers in Part 1, we not shift our attention to the three remaining players at the position. Disclaimer: We are guessing a bit when it comes to whether some of these players will be outside vs. inside linebackers, or both.
3. Deon King - Backup Outside Linebacker
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 225 lbs | Age: 24
Experience: 2 years | College: Norfolk State
King was an undrafted free agent in 2016, starting out with the Dallas Cowboys before bouncing around to the San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts. He appeared in six games last season, registering two tackles. The Browns signed him before the start of minicamp in mid-June, so he is relatively new to the team.
Since minicamp ended, King is trying to improve or maintain his conditioning, strength, and power, as he’s taking part in the Elite Athletic Program (see here and here). While those type of workouts may be customary to many NFL players in the offseason, one could argue that it specifically paints a picture of King, who was described in scouting reports as "having to prove himself at every stage of competition" to get where he's at today.
Scouting reports from his time at Norfolk State label him as a good tackler, someone who can "do the dirty work on special teams," and a strong work ethic both physically and mentally to help get that little edge over other players. In 2015, he led the entire NCAA with 163 tackles. He was panned for his size, lack of athletic ability, and the lack of competition he faced in college. It’s also worth noting that the Browns reportedly brought King in for a pre-draft visit back in 2016, so their interest in the tackling machine dates back to last year.
Final Roster Odds: 33%
4. Ladell Fleming - Rookie Outside Linebacker
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 230 lbs | Age: 23
Experience: Rookie | College: Northern Illinois
Following the draft, Fleming signed with the Browns as an undrafted free agent. There’s not much information on him in terms of a scouting report, but someone did prepare a 10-minute video of his career highlights. Beyond that, the only thing I can do is rehash some of his college stats and random facts from his biography on Browns.com.
At Northern Illinois, Fleming totaled 104 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He didn’t become a starter until 2016, when he finished the season with a career-best 6 tackles for a loss. A communications and media studies major, he grew up in the Chicago area and was also a wrestler back in high school.
Final Roster Odds: 5%
5. B.J. Bello - Rookie Outside Linebacker
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 229 lbs | Age: 22
Experience: Rookie | College: Illinois State
Bello is another undrafted free agent who the Browns signed after the draft, and there’s a little more scouting-related information on him than there was for Fleming. Here is a 5-minute video of Bello’s highlights at Illinois State. In 2016, Bello had 67 tackles (9 for a loss) and 6 sacks. That was his only season with Illinois State after transferring from Illinois.
Scouting reports praise his speed and ability to play man coverage. Lanze Zierlein of the NFL Network said that he "flashed interesting pass rush potential with sink and corner calling card around the edge." He was panned for not having the strength to get off of good blockers, and that his instincts are below average. The general feeling is that if he has a role on an NFL team, it’ll have to be as a niche pass rusher or on special teams.
Final Roster Odds: 5%
Here is your poll question for Part 2:
Which of these three players are you most intrigued by?
This poll is closed