Over the last few seasons, the Cleveland Browns have made major improvements on defense.
On paper, the Browns have one of the best defensive units in the league, but it could get better next season.
Third-year linebacker Jacob Phillips could be a sleeper player to watch heading into the 2022 campaign.
Getting Back On Track
In 2020, the Browns selected Phillips in the third round of the NFL draft.
The LSU product put together an impressive 113-tackle season during his final year with the Tigers.
The expectation was that Phillips could be an immediate impact player for the Browns.
Sadly, Phillips made little impact and only played in nine games during his rookie season.
The hope was that Phillips would be able to compete for a starting spot heading into the 2021 campaign.
That didn’t happen as Phillips suffered a torn biceps and was forced to miss a majority of the season.
Injury Report: Browns LB Jacob Phillips to undergo surgery; majority of starters to sit Sunday
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 20, 2021
The 23-year-old has only played in a total of 13 games during his NFL career.
Unfortunately, Cleveland hasn’t been able to see what Phillips is capable of doing because of injuries.
Hopefully, the injuries are behind Phillips and he can get back on the field in 2022.
Despite missing time, Phillips is young and still has plenty of potential.
Where Does Phillips Fit?
Last season, Phillips was competing for a starting spot on this Browns defense.
Things quickly change, so it’s uncertain if a starting gig is still available.
The expectation is that Owusu-Koramoah and Walker will be starters.
It’s uncertain if the Browns plan on starting a third linebacker or using another defensive back.
That being said, Phillips could be battling with Sione Takitaki for snaps off the bench.
Outside of those two, the Browns don’t have many reliable bodies at linebacker.
Due to the lack of talent, Phillips could be asked to step up, assuming he can stay healthy.
— Tyler Johnson (@T_johnson_TJ) March 30, 2022
The Browns have seen positive results from Phillips whenever he’s on the field.
Sadly, Phillips can’t seem to stay healthy, so his time on the field is often times short lived.
Regardless, Phillips could have the potential to be a full-time linebacker in the NFL.
In college, Phillips was a stud and well deserving of a third-round selection.
The biggest issue so far has been his inability to stay on the field.
Cleveland could see a 100-tackle season from Phillips in 2022, assuming he stays healthy and gets legitimate playing time.
The Browns might have a star in the making, so fans should keep their eyes on Phillips heading into the 2022 campaign.