Written by @CST_DallasT

The Browns have a special corp of linebackers this season. One that can shut down holes and get to the quarterback. There are many young developing linebackers and also a strong veteran presence.

Karlos Dansby
Karlos was brought in this year via free agency, along with Donte Whitner to tighten up the defense. This guy is the definition of veteran: 11 years pro. 1,000+ tackles, 38 sacks, 15 INT, and 16 forced fumbles! And he had his best year as a pro last season! He is a leader, a force in the middle. He led Arizona’s defense to 6th best in yards and 7th in scoring. The Browns finished 24th in yards allowed last season. Dansby should help straighten that out. I couldn’t be more excited to have Dansby part of this unit. If you are not familiar with Dansby, he reminds me of a smaller Ray Lewis. He is a hard hitter, physical, and can stop the run. Watch this video on him, every Browns fan needs to get excited about Karlos Dansby. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZE-6l4lfSM by TheVikingsworld2

Craig Robertson
Amid reports saying the Browns were “unsatisfied” with Robertson’s play last season, I believe in him. In 2 years he has 178 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 INT, and 1 forced fumble with 3 fumble recoveries. No they aren’t great numbers, but if they use him along with Dansby inside they would be a force. Every time I watched the Browns play the last two seasons he has really stuck out at me. It seems like he is there on every play. There are reports saying he will only be a nickel linebacker, but I think that with one more year developing and learning under the tutelage of Karlos Dansby, he can be a solid starter.

Barkevious Mingo
Drafted 6th overall in the draft last season Mingo played a lot of positional defense and special teams. But In what I watched he looked good. He had a pretty good sack number in 5. Besides that he only had 42 tackles. However, I think this year his number will get called and will perform very well. Mike Pettine LOVES his linebackers and new Browns defensive coordinator Jim O’ Neal was the linebackers coach under Pettine. They will have a close eye on Mingo and will be crucial into how well he develops. He is a big guy at 6’4″, but is only 240lbs and looks slender. He needs to bulk up and get stronger. If he does that, I see a lot more playing time for him this year, and I see him being very productive.

Paul Kruger
Kruger was signed as a big free agent. 5 year, $41M big. In fairness, he didn’t deserve that kind of money. In 2012 he had 9 sacks and 42 tackles. And then he signs a big contract and produces 4.5 sacks and 47 tackles. The Browns HAVE to get more out of Kruger if they are paying him like they are. However, on Kruger’s side, he did get lots of pressure to the quarterback. It seems like a lot of the time he would come of the edge and rush the QB and would get the pressure on him, but he never seemed to get the sack. We need sacks. Pettine and O’Neal will have Kruger coming off the edge. They will design schemes for him, nd this year he will produce 10 sacks. Well.. he better.

Jabaal Sheard
One of my favorite young linebackers Jabaal Sheard is an animal. You may not be familiar with him, but his first year he was a defensive end. He had his hand down, and as soon as the ball was snapped he sprinted across the line. His rookie year he had 8.5 sacks with 5 forced fumbles. That was his best year however. Since then they have been trying to work him as a outside linebacker. I think he produces more when he plays at the defensive end position, however he just doesn’t have the overall strength for the trenches. This season he will be played as the outside linebacker, and Pettine says he sees upside in Sheard. I hope he gets his snaps this year because he is very talented. I think with the right formations and play calling he will have his best year yet.

Overall this linebacker group is still pretty young. I love the acquisition of Dansby. I do believe Robertson can be a captain right along side of him still. Mingo and Sheard will continue to work and develop. Chris Kirksey is also a rookie linebacker who is very good with his hands. At Iowa he displayed how he can break blocks, the Browns are excited to have him. We will wait and see how he does.

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