2015 NFL Free Agency Preview: Top Five Inside Linebackers

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Dec 7, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns inside linebacker Craig Robertson (53) celebrates with inside linebacker Chris Kirksey (58) after recovering a fumble for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

4. Craig Robertson

[Note: Robertson is a Restricted Free Agent, meaning he can only hit the market if Cleveland declines to submit an offer sheet to him by 4 PM Eastern on March 10th]

Pros: Solid four-year pro with 28 starts under his belt who was one of the best players on Cleveland’s lousy defense last season. Robertson is a good all-around linebacker with adequate size and speed who can thump inside in the run game, fly to the perimeter to make plays against outside runs and screen passes, and drop back and play solid coverage. Over 46 career games played and 28 career starts, he’s recorded 11 tackles for loss, 5 INTs and 4 sacks.

Cons: not a spectacular player, and may have benefitted from just being slightly better than the rest of the really subpar Browns defensive unit last season. He’s not a particularly strong stack-and-shed run stuffer, nor is he an elite coverage linebacker. The biggest con may be a pro, as well: he’s average at everything, and bad at nothing.

Scheme fit: Robertson is more of a 3-4 Will inside backer than a true Mike backer, though that hasn’t ever stopped Jack Del Rio in the past. He has all the requisite tools and skills to play that mike spot in Del Rio’s defense, and can be a three-down player.

Market Value: right now, nothing, since he’s not worth having to give up compensation to the Browns to get him on an offer sheet. If he does hit unrestricted free agency, he may have some value, because of his ability to play serviceable football on every down. If he clears the RFA offer period, look for him to get a two or three year deal done, in the range of $6M-$10M.

Would he sign with the Raiders: doubtful. He’s not really the kind of linebacker that you look around the league and say “we have to have HIM!” and Reggie McKenzie will likely pursue other options. He’s a cheap option who may be a fall-back position at best, and it’s still possible that he gets an offer sheet in Cleveland.

Next: 2015 Free Agent ILB Rankings: #5 Brandon Spikes