Through their first four picks of the 2020 NFL Draft, a common theme for the Cleveland Browns has emerged. For the fourth time in as many selections, the Browns have selected a player from the Southeastern Conference, selecting LSU linebacker Jacob Phillips in the third round with the No. 97 overall pick.
A former 4-star prospect, Phillips led the Tigers with 113 tackles throughout their run to last season's College Football Playoff championship. The Nashville native also posted 7.5 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 1 pass defense and 1 forced fumble as a junior and measured well at the NFL Scouting Combine with a SPARQ score that ranked in the 70th NFL percentile.
In Cleveland, Phillips could fill an immediate need in the Browns linebacking corps following the offseason departures of Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey. Second-year linebacker Mack Wilson is the team's lone returning starter, while the Browns also signed B.J. Goodson to a one-year contract earlier this offseason.
In addition to being the fourth consecutive selection from the SEC Cleveland has made during the 2020 NFL Draft, Phillips also marks the third consecutive defensive player picked by the Browns. Previously, Cleveland selected Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. (No. 10 overall), LSU safety Grant Delpit (No. 44 overall) and Missouri defensive tackle Jordan Elliott (No. 88 overall).