BEREA — Cleveland went back to defense in the third round.
The Browns added depth at linebacker, selecting Christian Kirksey of Iowa with the 71st pick tonight.
The 6-foot-2, 233-pound senior is listed at outside linebacker, but said he expects the team to move him inside. He started inside his sophomore year and made the transition to outside his last two seasons with the Hawkeyes. He could challenge incumbent Craig Robertson for the starting job next to veteran Karlos Dansby.
Kirksey recorded 315 tackles in his Iowa career — 151 solo — and is one of three defensive players in school history with three defensive touchdowns, two via interceptions and one on a fumble recovery.
Kirksey played in the Senior Bowl after he finished third on the team with 104 tackles. He had five tackles for loss and caused seven interceptions from his seven quarterback pressures.
He was named team captain as a junior and recorded 95 tackles, third on the team. He returned two interceptions for touchdowns and all four of his fumble recoveries led to scoring drives.
He was very excited to join the Browns.
“It’s mind-blowing,” Kirksey said on a conference call. “I’ve been playing this game since I was 7 years old and to see my name go across the screen and know that I’m going to be an NFL player gets me fired up.”