The Cleveland Browns announced on Friday that they have claimed linebacker Eljiah Lee off waivers from the Detroit Lions. He has to go through COVID protocols before he counts against the active roster.
Lee was a seventh round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Kansas State. He has spent time with the Vikings as well as the San Francisco 49ers before ending up with the Detroit Lions.
Lee was drafted while the team also added Eric Wilson as an undrafted free agent. Wilson ended up making the team and has been in the starting lineup. They attempted to get Lee to the practice squad but the 49ers grabbed him for their active roster.
Lee was an athletic prospect with good production for the Wildcats and despite being in his fourth season, he's still only 24 years old.
He has experience on special teams as well as starting six games over two seasons with the 49ers. In all, he has been active for 42 games in his NFL career. In his second season, he saw the most playing time, recording 54 solo tackles and three tackles for loss in 14 games.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski was there when Lee was drafted by the Vikings.
The Browns have been without rookie Jacob Phillips for most of the season with a knee injury and may simply see an opportunity to improve the position. Other than Malcolm Smith, the Browns have not gotten much production from the position.
Lee's first job will likely be providing help on special teams, but there's no reason to believe any other linebackers jobs are safe other than Smith at this point.