Free agency officially begins March 13 and the Cleveland Browns will certainly be looking around to fill some voids. They have already agreed to deals with Kareem Hunt, Greg Robinson and Jaelen Strong. Our backfield was already good, but Hunt takes it to new heights and Robinson will be a one year Band-Aid at left tackle so that temporarily takes care of that problem. The signing of Strong helps add depth to the receivers, but doesn’t dramatically improve that group.
I have no doubt that John Dorsey has a plan and will address the team’s issues in free agency. Once that step is complete he can focus on the NFL Draft in April. The Browns own 10 total picks including the 17th overall pick. It can be tricky to game plan when you are picking in the middle of the pack. You have a list of guys you want and who you also believe will still be on the board when it’s your turn.
A realistic possibility for Cleveland is former Michigan Wolverine Devin Bush Jr. There is a lot of speculation on what the Browns are going to do with Jamie Collins and the $10.5 million is owed. If Cleveland trades the linebacker away, it creates a hole in the defense and that position could be filled by the 2018 Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year.
Bush is a versatile, three-down linebacker who leaves it all out on the field. He has racked up over 150 tackles in two years as a starter for Michigan, but I want to highlight his 18.5 tackles for a loss and his 10 sacks in that period.
Cleveland can use a linebacker who has a habit of penetrating into the backfield. He is listed as an inside linebacker, but he could easily transition outside with skills and speed. Bush recorded the second fastest 40-yard dash (4.43 seconds) for his position at the combine. So he has the speed and we know he can tackle, so there is only one more box to check…defensive skills. Bush had knocked down 11 passes at the college level and this skill set could help in the NFL. Swatting passes can be a gift and Devin Bush recorded the top vertical jump (40.5″) at the combine.
Devin Bush Jr. seems like an ideal and realistic candidate to replace Jamie Collins if the Cleveland Browns decide to go that route. Plus, here is a fun fact for you, his father Devin Bush Sr. played the final two seasons of his eight year career here in Cleveland.