9New’s Denver’s Mike Klis reported earlier this afternoon that 2021 third-round pick, linebacker Baron Browning would be making the move from inside linebacker to edge rusher this offseason.
Singleton add especially key as source says Broncos plan to give Baron Browning look at outside linebacker this year where he will work with Bert Watts, one of Hackett's many up-and-coming young coaches. Browning went thru similar inside-outside LB shift at Ohio State. #9sports https://t.co/GVos8VBRPO— Mike Klis (@mikeklis) March 21, 2022
This came as a surprise considering many assumed that Browning would be the other starting off the ball linebacker next to recently re-signed linebacker Josey Jewell. However, after signing former Eagles leading tackler Alex Singleton, Klis is reporting that Browning is being moved to edge rusher.
This is something he has done in the past at Ohio State, but former Head Coach Vic Fangio and the Broncos previous coaching staff believed he was better utilized as a sideline to sideline off the ball linebacker. Well, it appears newly hired defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero views Browning to be more of an edge rusher than an off-the-ball linebacker.
Browning has the size to make it on the edge. He’s listed at 6’3”, 240lbs, and has 33 1/2” arms. That’s what you expect from an edge rusher in the NFL but now adding in his elite athleticism, you have the makings of a potentially pretty good pass rusher off the edge.
Browning nearly had a perfect RAS last year which just shows how athletic and physically gifted he is.
Baron Browning is a LB prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.98 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 5 out of 2137 LB from 1987 to 2021. https://t.co/9u2aj8ZlSN #RAS via @Mathbomb pic.twitter.com/nwDNRGW9CL— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 14, 2021
Now, Browning looked solid at inside linebacker late last season, so you might be wondering why they would be making this move. Well, there are a few reasons why. First, an edge rusher is a much more valuable position. If he has the ability to rush the pass off the edge, that skill is more important to the team than anything he can at inside linebacker. Also, Ejiro Evero comes from a Rams defense that never put much of an importance on the inside linebacking position anyways. They could be content rolling with Jewell and Singleton in the middle.
Browning moving to edge really does help me feel better about that unit’s depth, but it also just adds one more big question mark with the Broncos edge rushers. Randy Gregory and Bradley Chubb both have high boom/bust potential, Malik Reed has his issues, and while 2021 rookie Jonathan Cooper flashed some in 2021, he still has holes in his game as well. Adding a transition player like Browning adds significant upside but just another question mark.
This will be something we have to watch throughout the offseason. Will he split times at both spots? Is he a full-time edge rusher? Do they draft another edge rusher or draft another inside linebacker?
Should be interesting to see how this plays out.