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Playin’ Nice: Dawgs by Nature

Tom Moore of Dawgs by Nature joins us to talk about the two newest contributors to LSU North, aka the Cleveland Browns

NFL Combine - Day 4 Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Louisiana and Ohio have a weird relationship currently. As much as Louisiana claims Joe Burrow he is a native Ohioan; last year the Saints had five Ohio State Buckeyes on its 2019 roster, Ted Ginn Jr., Michael Thomas, Marshon Lattimore, Vonn Bell and Eli Apple, and even though the 2020 team lost Ginn, Bell and Apple, New Orleans offset some of that by re-signing former Saint and Buckeye Malcom Jenkins.

For LSU, their Saints equivalent would be the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland traded for Jarvis Landry in the spring of 2018, traded for Odell Beckham the following year and picked Greedy Williams in the second round of the 2019 draft. This past April, the Browns picked two more Tigers, taking Grant Delpit in the second round and Jacob Phillips in the third. Dawgs by Nature Tom Moore drops by to talk about LSU North and how Delpit and Phillips may fair in their rookie season.

  1. Cleveland’s turning into LSU North. The Browns came into the draft with Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry and Greedy Williams on the roster, now they add Grant Delpit and Jacob Phillips. What is it with all these former Tigers making their way toward Cleveland?

In some ways it is a bit of a coincidence. Delpit and Phillips were available when the Browns were on the clock and fit the scheme the Cleveland will run under head coach Kevin Stefanski. But general manager Andrew Berry also pointed out during the draft that one way to get better is to draft players who had success in the best conference in college football, which he did not only with Delpit and Phillips, but also Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills and Missouri defensive tackle Jordan Elliott.

It is hard to argue with that, although there are several Browns fans who bristle at Berry’s comment because they are also Ohio State fans. But this is about making the Browns better, so they are just going to have to learn to live with it.

2. Speaking of Delpit and Williams, Cleveland has a really talented and young secondary with those two and Denzel Ward. How can Delpit help improve the Cleveland secondary?

One area would be if he can cover tight ends, which has been a problem with Cleveland’s defense for decades. Any support he can give against the run would be a plus as well, as that was also a trouble spot for the Browns last season.

No pressure or anything, but Delpit needs to come in and be a consistent player as soon as he can.

3. The Dawgs By Nature crowd seems to be high on the Delpit pick, but a little lukewarm for Phillips. Where does Phillips fit in Cleveland’s plans?

Some of the grumpiness circles back to the first question as the Browns selected Phillips with Ohio State linebacker Malik Harrison still available. Phillips clearly has a chance to earn a spot on special teams, and the linebacker room is not exactly flush at the moment with Mack Wilson, Sione Takitaki and B.J. Goodson as the primary players at that position. So there is definitely an opportunity for Phillips to claim a spot on the defense.

4. Will we see either Delpit or Phllips starting week one for Cleveland?

That is a tough one given that no one knows when the NFL will be able to open training camps. Missing out on minicamps and possibly a portion of training camp and the preseason will not help any of the incoming rookies.

Of the two, Delpit probably has a higher chance of moving into the starting lineup the quickest. The Browns signed veteran safeties Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo in free agency, but they are only on one-year deals, so it is not difficult to see a scenario where Delpit may start the year as an extra defensive back before moving into the starting lineup during the season.