BEREA – Phil Savage wasn't kidding when he said he wanted to address the front seven. After snagging Kamerion Wimbley with the first pick in the draft, Savage pulled off a trade up in the second round to get inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson from Maryland.
Savage said one of his goals was to find a mate to Andra Davis for the other inside linebacker spot in the 3-4 to fill the spot vacated by Ben Taylor who signed with the Packers as an unrestricted free agent.
"D'Qwell was our next highest rated player on the board," Savage said. "We added two players we see on the right side. We think we have two excellent candidates to fill the two right side spots."
Savage stopped short of saying Jackson would start, but did say he would be a leading candidate to win the inside job opposite of Davis.
"Someone described us as having a hole on the inside linebacker spot as big as Lake Erie," Savage said. "He's certainly going to be a candidate for that spot. We see him playing along side Andra. This is really a quality football player.
"He's got excellent football instincts and we think he's going to be a good player for us," he said. "He has the demeanor and mentality to come in and compete for a starting position for us. He plays with a quiet confidence and handles himself like a pro already."
Jackson had an excellent year as he was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award. Jackson amassed 447 tackles, including 24 tackles for loss.
The Browns moved up nine spots by flip-flopping places with the Saints in the second round and sending Jeff Faine to New Orleans.
Savage the Browns decided there was no use waiting 10 more spots when they had the chance to get the guy they wanted.
"What really happened is coming in we had three linebackers who we thought were second-round values," he said. "DeMeco Ryans and Rocky McIntosh were gone and we had a chance to get who we wanted and get something for Jeff."
Savage couldn't hide his enthusiasm in obtaining Jackson.
"He's been extremely productive," Savage said. "He's a football player. He's a guy who is very well thought of.
"I'm extremely thrilled to get D'Qwell," he said. "If someone would've told me back in the fall we could get Wimbley and Jackson, I would've done it right then."
Savage knows a little about linebackers after watching Ray Lewis develop into one of the NFL's best while he was in Baltimore.
"I'm not saying this guy is Ray Lewis but I think he's an extremely good football player," Savage said. "He's one of the few linebackers who can get outside and make some plays behind the line of scrimmage."
Savage admitted he was in shock as to how the first two rounds went for the Browns.
"I'm a little in shock, but it's a reality: Kamerion Wimbley and D'Qwell Jackson are Cleveland Browns."