Even though the Browns' roster includes veterans who appear odds-on favorites to land starting jobs at all three linebacker spots this year, the team made it a point to strengthen that position by grabbing three middle-round backers.
The first to be selected was Kevin Bentley, a 6-0, 243-pounder out of Northwestern.
Bentley, who led the Wildcats in tackles this past season with 147, figures to not only create some competition at one of the outside spots, but also add an immediate impact to the special teams.
"He's athletic and had some of the best numbers at the scouting combine when it came to speed and change of direction," Head Coach Butch Davis said of Bentley, who clocked a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash. "We need guys who can play special teams."
The only thing preventing Bentley from being a higher draft choice was his 6-0 height.
"I definitely think I slipped a little bit because of my height," said the native of Northridge, Calif., who isn't going to let that bother him .
"That's all in the past now. I'm a Cleveland Brown. I just have to make the most of the opportunities I've been given."
Bentley realizes that his first opportunity will come via special teams. "I know definitely I'll be a part of special teams," he said. "I did that a lot in college.
"I have to help where I can at linebacker. We've got veterans like Dwayne Rudd, Earl Holmes and Jamir Miller. I hope I can help solidify it."
Bentley was a three-year starter for the Wildcats and totalled 390 career tackles, many of which came from the strongside spot.
"I played outside in college, but I also played the middle quite a bit," said Bentley, who models himself after the Miami Dolphins' Zach Thomas.
Bentley's first opportunity will come on the weak side, although that could easily change by the time training camp gets underway in July
|Pick: No. 101 (fourth round)
Height/Weight: 6-0, 243
40-yard dash: 4.68
Birthdate: Dec. 29, 1979
High School: Montclair (Cal.) High School
Honors: (2001) All-Big Ten Conference second team; (2000) All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention; (1999) All-Big Ten Conference second team; High school SuperPrep Top 100 Far West region