Browns news: Cleveland agrees to deal with 3rd-round pick Jacob Phillips
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Browns agree to deal with 3rd-round pick Jacob Phillips

Jacob Phillips, Browns

The Cleveland Browns have officially agreed to terms with third-round draft pick Jacob Phillips, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Phillips was a sure tackler for the LSU Tigers during the 2019 season.

The 21-year-old finished fifth in the SEC in solo tackles (56) and led the conference in both assisted tackles (57) and total tackles (113). Phillips had 7.5 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble, as well.

Cleveland will be glad to head into training camp without worrying about additional contract situations. Signing Phillips also gives the Browns more options in terms of their current linebacker situation.

The Browns had a productive offseason, signing former All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin and also inking Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper to give Baker Mayfield yet another receiving threat. But they did lose a couple pieces at the second level of the defense.

Middle linebacker Joe Schobert signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Christian Kirksey agreed to terms with the Green Bay Packers.

Kirksey struggled to stay on the field amid a slew of injuries in recent years. But Schobert was very productive in Cleveland. The 26-year-old had 133 combined tackles, including seven for a loss. He also had four quarterback hits, two forced fumbles and nine passes defended.

Much of the focus on the Browns revolves around Mayfield’s progression as a passer after an underwhelming 2019. However, Phillips’ presence in the middle might serve as a boon for a defense that ranked 22nd in terms of DVOA, including 30th in rushing DVOA.

Phillips will have to compete for playing time, but the former LSU ‘backer can play a role in improving the team’s run defense.

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