The Browns on Friday selected LSU LB Jacob Phillips in the third round with the No. 97 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Phillips joins Alabama OT Jedrick Wills (No. 10), LSU S Grant Delpit (No. 44) and Missouri DT Jordan Elliott as the fourth member of the Browns' 2020 draft class. All four players finished their college careers in the SEC.
"I can assure you that we did not plan it, but these are all really good football players in arguably the best conference in college football," Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry said. "It is certainly a good place to start for us, but it just happened to work out that way."
Phillips, a Nashville native, started all 15 games during the Tigers' 2019 national championship season and led the team with 113 tackles. The previous year, he started 11 games and compiled 87 tackles and a pick-six interception.
"I have been playing football my whole life. My inspiration was to be in this moment where I am getting drafted and playing in the NFL," Phillips said. "To be drafted to such a special team like the Cleveland Browns, I feel so blessed about it. It is surreal."
Phillips was the third of three defensive players selected by the Browns on Friday. He joins a young linebackers room that is looking to fill the voids left by veterans Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey, both of whom departed this offseason.
"We really liked the length, the speed, the ability to play in the system -- those linebackers have to run," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. "You see him running in that system they play down there at LSU. You see him running down the sideline going to make great tackles. Just a high-effort, high-motor guy. He just turned 21 earlier this month. So another young player we feel like we can develop."
The Browns acquired the No. 97 pick from the Texans in a trade last year that sent RB Duke Johnson to Houston.
Cleveland has three more selections slated for the final day of the draft.
The Browns have selected Jacob Phillips in the 2020 NFL Draft.