Cleveland Browns Rookie Draft Profile: Siaka Ika

Cleveland Browns Rookie Draft Profile: Siaka Ika

Mac Blank
1 year ago
3 min read
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It was widely known that even though the Browns added Dalvin Thomlinson, Maurice Hurst, and others in free agency, the team needed to address defensive tackle position in this draft. 

With pick 98, Cleveland did just that selecting Siaka Ika. With his massive 6’3 335lb build, he is your typical 1-technique nose tackle plugging holes in the interior of the defensive line.

The Defensive Tackle Room Got Stronger

What Ika does best is what the Browns’ defensive line struggled with in 2022, which was re-establishing the line of scrimmage. With a punch that puts centers and guards on their heels, Ika constantly disrupts plays just by simply putting lineman into the ball carriers lap in the run game and collapsing the pocket in the passing game. Per Jake Trotter of ESPN, it was reported Ika was second in the FBS in QB pressures the past two seasons with 30. 

He’s not just moving offensive lineman either, he’s constantly looking to make the play after shedding the block. What separates an average defender from the great ones is the ability to “work half a man”. 

Sign up for betJACK now to be 100% protected on your first bet placed, up to $500!

This means he’s not just trying to go through the blocker, but prioritizing shedding the block and making a move towards the ball. After his punch, Ika consistently extends himself from the block to see where the ball is going so he can make a play. This shows on tape as well with double teams, as he always knows how to split between the blockers instead of just engaging with them at the line of scrimmage. This alone will make an offense adjust as Ika is a player that requires lineman to stay on double teams longer to get better movement. 

The linebacker room will benefit from this as the longer an offensive lineman takes to climb second level on their run blocks, the better chance they have of making a run stop. 

Where Will He Fit In This Scheme?

While Siaka Ika is as good as you can get from a traditional nose tackle, there are still some issues with this pick. Of course with him being a typical 1-technique defensive tackle, his closing speed and pursuit of the ball isn’t great, but that’s not the big cause for concern. The concern lies with the Browns having signed Dalvin Tomlinson to a relatively expensive multi-year deal, who essentially plays the same position. 

With the possibility of two nose tackles starting along the defensive line, the question becomes what is the plan for 3rd down? Not saying neither is capable of rushing the passer, but you have to wonder how both players will adjust to more snaps on the field. For example; one of the best defensive tackles in the league, Fletcher Cox, logged a career average of 183 rush snaps more per year than Tomlinson. 

This is roughly an extra 10 rush snaps per game. Of course defenses rotate players in and out along the defensive line, but the stamina of the defensive tackle room is something to look out for next season. 

Value At Pick

In terms of best player on the board, it seems like the Browns couldn’t do better than Siaki Ika. The team needed to add another defensive lineman and he was the best one left. I truly believe if Kobie Turner from Wake Forest was still on the board, he would have been selected because he is a quicker and a better pass rusher, but alas you have to choose who’s left. In terms of other positions available, TE Darnell Washington and Safety Jordan Battle were both taken, so it didn’t make sense to address another position outside of defensive tackle. 

Overall, I give this pick a solid B. The Browns plan was to add a contributor to the defensive tackle room and that’s what they did adding Siaka Ika. He will help re-establish the line of scrimmage, which will make the job easier on the front seven of this defense. 

While there is concern with what pass rush personnel will look like, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz should put it to rest. Schwartz made a big push within the organization to select Ika so it’s hard to question the decisions of a coach with a well-polished resume like his. 

Share article on: