John Dorsey and the linebacker

While breaking down the Browns roster pre-draft looking for team needs, the position of linebacker stands out. John Dorsey still new to the Cleveland Browns as the GM I wanted to look into his past to find an idea of how he may view linebackers in the NFL.

To get a better understanding of what I found let’s start from the beginning of John Dorsey’s football career.

Dorsey attended the University of Connecticut as a 4-year starter playing linebacker. He then entered the 1984 NFL Draft and was selected in the 4th round by the Green Bay Packers.

After playing for 5 years with the Packers, Dorsey returned to become a college scout and stayed with the team until 1998. Then a one year stint with the Seahawks Dorsey returned as director of scouting from 2000 until 2011. In 2012 Dorsey was promoted to the director of football operations.

The following year in 2013 Dorsey was hired by the Kansas City Chief’s to get his first chance as a GM. Dorsey remained with the team until 2016 when he was released. The Cleveland Browns offered Dorsey his second chance as GM in 2017.

Twenty-seven years later it’s clear the Dorsey has become a master of scouting college talent for NFL football teams. So I went back and looked at every linebacker Dorsey has either helped to draft or drafted himself for the NFL.


As you can see by the chart above the value placed on the position is not that high. It would seem that Dorsey puts a premium on the ability to pass rush instead of coverage as well. After building the chart, it was clear what stood out the most when it comes to the position of linebacker.

1st. Of the 17 linebackers taken only 3 were selected in the 1st round.
2nd. Of the 17 linebackers, only 4 are what I consider well rounded.
3rd. Pass Rush is what it’s all about.
4th. John Dorsey has spent all of this football career either playing for or building a 3-4 defensive personnel package.


This will be the first time John Dorsey will have a full year to prepare for building a 4-3 defense into the future. As you can see by the chart above the linebacker group is well balanced if the Browns can get an above average performance from Kirksey and newly acquired Taylor.

Dorsey is going to place more value on the Strong Safety position than a well-rounded linebacker for coverage. I understand the concept now that I’ve spent the time trying to understand. Get to the quarterback with the front seven and use speed in the secondary to take throwing lanes away. While we don’t know what version of defense Steve Wilks will run this year. It could turn into a 4-2-5 or a hybrid 3-4.

Safe to say that if John Dorsey has a plan to trade back into the 1st round of the 2019 draft for a linebacker it will be a 1st as GM.

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