Linebackers the heart of Browns D

Updated: August 13, 2007, 12:32 PM ET
By Marwan Maalouf
Entering their third season in Cleveland, head coach Romeo Crennel and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham have developed a linebacker corps that will be the nucleus of their 3-4 scheme.

Kamerion Wimbley, the Browns' first-round pick in 2006, made a successful transition from playing rush end in a three-point stance in college to being a stand-up outside linebacker in Cleveland, posting 11 sacks as a rookie. This season he will have improved coverage skills and tight end jams while still being a force as a pass rusher.

Wimbley and veteran 3-4 outside linebacker Antwan Peek are strong enough to set the edge against the run and filter plays to the inside. Peek was an offseason acquisition from Houston, where he spent time playing for Grantham. Veteran outside man Willie McGinest should still be very capable and effective once he returns from a back injury, while the newly-acquired Jason Short will contribute mostly on special teams but has the size to play on the outside if needed.