The Cleveland Browns had an interesting year in 2022 when it came to the group of linebackers on the roster.
The club seemingly lost a player almost every week to a major injury, starting with Anthony Walker Jr.s’ torn quad in Week 3 and continuing through Jacob Phillips (torn pectoral), Sione Takitaki (torn ACL) and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (foot).
The situation became so dire that the Browns resorted to trading for Deion Jones in October and signed free agent Reggie Ragland in December.
General manager Andrew Berry has plenty of holes left to fill on the roster, so linebacker may not be top of mind, but if the team is interested in selecting an athletic player at the position for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, then Tulane linebacker Dorian Williams could be a name to watch in the later rounds.
Name: Dorian Williams
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 228 pounds
College: Tulane Green Wave
Stats (4 seasons): 49 games, 28 starts, 311 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles
Relative Athletic Score:
Dorian Williams is a LB prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 8.78 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 307 out of 2503 LB from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/sYXWplWYtN #RAS pic.twitter.com/ldpap7g1mm— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 26, 2023
Average “Big Board” Position As of Publishing Date
121st overall (NFL Mock Draft Database)
The Draft Network’s Grade/Round Value
TDN Consensus Grade: 69/100 (Sixth-Round Value)
PFF Big Board Rank: 94 (Third Round)
What an Expert is Saying
I spy... Tulane LB Dorian Williams, about to mess up another quarterback's day. pic.twitter.com/bH9jRca6zK— Doug Farrar ✍ (@NFL_DougFarrar) April 5, 2023
Pros and Cons
The Browns already have one versatile linebacker in Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and could double down with the athletic Williams, who was one of college football’s best coverage linebackers last season, according to Pro Football Focus, as his 6-foot-8 wingspan and 4.49 speed helped him earn a coverage grade of 87.
According to Dane Brugler’s draft guide at The Athletic:
With his rangy athleticism, Williams is fluid-moving in pursuit and coverage with the tackling skills that fill up the stat sheet. However, he can be caught going with the flow because of inconsistent key-reads, and he doesn’t have the power to be a line-of-scrimmage thumper. Overall, you wish Thompson played with better anticipation, but once he sees it, he gets there in a hurry and has the tools desired for a modern-day developmental linebacker. He has the profile of a key special teamer with the talent to eventually compete for NFL starting reps.
Browns Player Drafting Could Impact
The Browns are set with JOK at one of the linebacker positions, but with seemingly everyone else coming off a major injury or otherwise unproven, just about any linebacker you could name currently on the roster would be in jeopardy of losing a roster spot to Williams.
Medium: The Browns are not exactly flush at the position, but they are not exactly desperate either. They re-signed Walker Jr., who should in theory be ready for the start of the season after suffering a torn quad in the third game last season. They also re-signed Takitaki, but he will likely not see the field until much later in the season as he tore his ACL in early December.
The rest of the position is a bit of a mixed bag, which could put a linebacker on general manager Andrew Berry’s to-do list come draft weekend. If the Browns believe they can get by for another year with the current linebackers, they could be tempted by an athletic player with potential in Williams as he could play primarily on special teams as a rookie while he builds his body and game for the pro level.