While the defensive line grabbed most of the headlines, the play of linebacker Joe Schobert did not go unrecognized.
Joe Schobert has developed into one of the better off-ball linebackers in the NFL since arriving with the Browns as a fourth-round draft pick out of Wisconsin back in 2016. He showed exactly why in the Browns game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week, coming away with a pass breakup in coverage and registering a tackle resulting in a defensive stop on three of his four solo tackles.
That continues a strong preseason for Schobert, who has graded out as PFF’s top off-the-ball linebacker in the preseason:
Schobert grading as the #1 off-ball LB in the NFL this preseason at 92.4. https://t.co/3U9GPvwQ3F— John Kosko (@JohnKosko3) August 26, 2019
Cleveland’s defensive line is going to garner a lot of attention this season, and Schobert said that will makes things easier for the rest of the defense, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“When you are a linebacker and you get back into your drop and as soon as you get to your landmark, you turn around and the quarterback is on the ground and you just job back to the huddle every play, that makes you feel better. You feel like you are in much better shape when that happens instead of chasing receivers around all play if they can’t get the quarterback down. Live, in person and right behind them, those guys can really get after it.”
Schobert is entering the final year of his rookie contract and there has been little reported news from the Browns about a new deal. While there are many who are ready to hand his position over to rookies Mack Wilson or Sione Takitaki, Schobert’s continued level of play would make that move seem a bit foolhardy. (Plus we are all witnessing this summer how rushing to move on from a veteran player doesn’t always work out as planned.)
After all, if the desired goal is to have as many good players as possible on the field, it would appear that working out a new deal with Schobert would be in the best interest of the Browns.