We all know how talented the Browns‘ defensive secondary is.
For those dedicated fans who turn on their televisions or turn up to FirstEnergy Stadium, the awesome ability is readily apparent.
But sometimes, it’s just nice to hear someone else say so.
And the most recent “someone” is actually one of the top NFL analysis groups in the business: Pro Football Focus.
According to PFF, the Browns have the third-best defensive secondary heading into the 2022-23 season.
And it’s really no secret why.
By The Numbers
PFF divided its rankings up into five different tiers.
The Browns, coming in third, placed easily in the top-tier, conveniently called: “WHERE DO OFFENSES EVEN ATTACK?”
Here’s PFF’s official write-up on Cleveland’s stout secondary:
“This unit not only has proven studs in Ward and Johnson, but also three ascending top-50 draft picks who have all played two or fewer NFL seasons. What this unit could be is scary to think about, as we already saw quality play from Newsome, Williams and Delpit down the stretch in 2021.”
All of Cleveland’s recent moves to address the defensive secondary are apparently working out.
It’s not hard to tell why PFF is so high on the Browns.
For many teams, guys like Ronnie Harrison, AJ Green, and Martin Emerson could all be Week One starters.
Some good @Browns news! 😎
The Browns coming in at number 3 for secondaries in the league! 🔥
— BROWNS OR DIE 💀 (@BrownsorDie) June 29, 2022
Joining the Browns in the top tier are seven other squads: including division rivals Baltimore Ravens, who came in at no. 1.
Fortunately, the Browns’ secondary doesn’t have too much talent in one player.
Rather, the skill is spread out.
Take interceptions for example; last season, Grant Delpit, John Johnson, and Greedy Williams each had at least two interceptions.
Delpit and Johnson also both had more than 35 solo tackles (43 and 37, respectively).
Also making the top tier are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2), Green Bay Packers (4), Miami Dolphins (5), Buffalo Bills (6), New Orleans Saints (7), and Los Angeles Chargers (8).
The Browns’ other division opponents finished lower on PFF’s list, with the Bengals slotting in at no. 10 and the Steelers far behind at no. 28.
Well Regarded, Well Rounded
If things go as planned, the Browns’ secondary won’t be the only fearsome part of the team’s defense.
Opposing quarterbacks face a real prisoner’s dilemma.
Option A: they can try to target one of Cleveland’s secondary defenders through the air.
Option B: they can hand the ball off to a back to pick up yards on through the trenches.
Going with the first option means trusting a wideout against a set of highly skilled backs.
But Option B requires trusting a running back against Cleveland’s equally skilled defensive line.
That’s right — as good as Cleveland’s defensive secondary is, the defensive front is no joke.
The Top 10 edge rushers in the NFL entering next season:
1. T.J. Watt
2. Myles Garrett
3. Nick Bosa
4. Maxx Crosby
5. Von Miller
6. Cameron Jordan
7. Joey Bosa
8. Trey Hendrickson
9. Robert Quinn
10. Shaquil Barrett
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) June 29, 2022
Led by one of the league’s best rushers in Myles Garrett, Cleveland is also returning Jadaveon Clowney to a unit that recorded 43 sacks last season, ninth across the pros.
While the offense is dealing with an absolute mess of uncertainty right now, the defense looks to be a real threat next season.