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The Browns have a significant need at outside linebacker with Chris Gocong and Scott Fujita nearing the end of their respective careers. Unfortunately, Cleveland has bigger needs to address early in the 2012 NFL Draft and did not sign any linebackers via free agency this spring.
That will leave the door open for Cleveland to draft a linebacker like Travis Lewis in the middle part of the NFL Draft.
Lewis was a typical run-stopping linebacker at Oklahoma, but lacked the ability to create a significant pass rush off the outside. With the Browns running a 4-3 defense, having that presence to rush the quarterback from the outside is vital to the defense's success.
However, Lewis has all the tools to become a successful linebacker in the NFL if he has the proper mentors. According to his CBS Sports' scouting report,
Big 12 coaches named Lewis their Defensive Freshman of the Year and second-team all-conference in 2008 because those record-breaking 144 stops included 11.5 for loss and 3.5 sacks, and he also showed quickly his ability in coverage with four interceptions and three pass break-ups. He earned first-team All-Big 12 accolades with excellent production in 2009 (109 tackles, 8.5 TFL, one sack, one INT, two PBU) and second-team honors in 2010 (109 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, three INT, five PBU).
The one thing that could be more impressive than Lewis' career accomplishments is the fact that he played the 2011 college season after breaking his foot only a short time before Oklahoma's first game. Lewis played in every game after missing the season opener and still finished among the top defenders in the conference in spite of his injury.
That type of toughness along with his 4.88 40-yard dash and 22 bench press repetitions at the NFL Combine could be enough to get scouts talking on the second and third days of the draft.