The Cleveland Browns were dealt a rough opening week blow after surrendering a late lead against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Browns are dealing with another blow today as they had to place Anthony Walker on the injured reserve list. Walker suffered an injury to his hamstring, according to ESPN.
While Walker's absence was ahead of schedule, it seemed to be only a matter of time before rookie Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah took over in his stead permanently. However, with Owusu-Koramoah moving up the depth chart, it leaves Malcolm Smith to cover both linebacker spots.
Walker won't be back anytime soon, so the Browns need to find someone to replace Malcolm Smith's depth spot so he isn't spread too thin. Here's a look at three possible solutions for the Browns at the position.
3 options to help the Cleveland Browns after Walker's injury
#1 - Todd Davis
Still in his 20s, Todd Davis was a starter for the Denver Broncos just a few years ago. Davis provides an ability to mentor Owusu-Koramoah in addition to filling a spot in the depth. Davis has learned under Vic Fangio and Wade Phillips. He's been apart of Super Bowl-winning defenses and has plenty of playoff experience.
As a depth piece, it would be hard to do better than Todd Davis. Davis has 96 games of experience under his belt and has started 69 games since his career began in 2014. His addition would also be a reunion between him and Malik Jackson, which would help the chemistry on the team. Considering the linebacker technically retired in August, Jackson could help lure him to the team.
#2 - Olivier Vernon
Olivier Vernon was on the team last year. Bringing him back would have a short startup time as Vernon knows the system quite well already. After coming off a season with nine sacks, it is surprising he doesn't have a home already. Last season was the second-best season of his career.
Granted, his main position is on the edge, but after some coaching, he could be a good option as a backup out-of-position middle linebacker. After so many years playing alongside one, he already has a headstart on how the position works. Put simply, the Browns could have a massive boost with him on the team.
#3 - Trent Murphy
Trent Murphy is an industry veteran who is also primarily an edge linebacker. He has 86 games of experience and has started 57 games. Murphy played with the Bills during their last two years of playoff appearances, so he has the level of playoff experience that is a tacit requirement to help the team.
Murphy had two sacks with the Bills last season, allowing him to rush in a pinch as well. As a backup player, Murphy is a solid choice if Todd Davis and Oliver Vernon do not fit with the Browns.