Ivan Pace Jr. looks up to David Long Jr. as a fellow Cincinnati native that plays the linebacker position with similar mentalities as “undersized” players. When the Cleveland Browns introduced their new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, he noted Long as the type of player that he liked at the position despite his size.
Long, a pending free agent for the Tennesee Titans, could be a player that the Browns pursue in free agency. If they want to go a cheaper direction, Pace could be an option in the NFL draft.
We have yet to get measurements on players at the NFL combine yet but Pace is expected to come in under 6 feet tall and possibly similar to Long’s 227 pounds when he was draft worthy.
Pace noted that Long is someone he sees his game as comparable to:
David Long Jr, Titans free agent, is someone @ivan_pacejr likes to watch in the NFL. Respect for a fellow Cincy native LB pic.twitter.com/b5qtrbZUlP— Jared Mueller (@JaredKMueller) March 1, 2023
When questioned about how his size impacts how he deals with situations like bigger pulling guards, Pace noted that he “just run through their face.” He linebacker isn’t just talking, he showed it at the Senior Bowl:
Ivan Pace #SeniorBowl pic.twitter.com/ZsKGhxnaI3— WalkTheMock (@WalkTheMock) February 4, 2023
Pace is not expected to put up impressive numbers at the combine but his tape should keep him in late day two or early day three conversation. If he outproduces those expectations in Indianapolis, he could see his stock climb. He noted at the combine that he believes he would be in consideration at the top of this year’s draft.
For Schwartz and the Browns, only Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is locked into a spot at the linebacker position at this point. Adding a player like Long or Pace, while it would make the group undersized, could create a lot of playmaking at the position. It would also increase the need for bigger and better players on the interior of the defensive line.