AFC North: Who Had the Best Defense in 2015?
Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Danny Shelton (Washington) poses for a photo after being selected as the number 12th overall pick to the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
First lets start with the Cleveland Browns. The most dysfunctional team in the league has only one bright spot; their defense. The Brown defense is led by cornerback Joe Haden. Haden lead this defense to a decent season, but after a good offseason, the defense should be even better in 2015.
The Browns highlight of the season was the Draft. Cleveland landed big time players such as NT Danny Shelton, LB Nate Orchard and CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. These three players were all stars in college and will definitely boost the production of the Browns defense.
Orchard is a pass rushing specialist and will be able to help Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo get to the QB. Danny Shelton will pair with Phil Taylor on the line to stop any attempt to rush up the middle. Lastly if Ekpre-Olomu is healthy he will pair with Haden, Gilbert and Desir to form one of the top secondary’s in the league.
As For the, Cincinnati Bengals we are pretty much the same unit as we were last year, the only difference within the unit besides the new rookies is the fact that defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is now in his second year as a coordinator.
Coach Guenther had to deal with the injury bug in his first season and still managed to do very well. The acquisitions of rookies Paul Dawson, Josh Shaw, Marcus Hardison and Derron Smith should help the Bengals if the injury bug should strike again. This along with the fact that Vontaze Burfict should come back healthy, Geno Atkins should return to his normal self, Michael Johnson returns from Tampa and the emergence of Darqueze Dennard and Dre Kirkpatrick.
Cincinnati should do better in the upcoming season, but most likely will top the division. The runner-up will most likely be Cincinnati’s calling this season.
More from Stripe Hype
- 6 Bengals whose stock significantly rose in preseason game vs Cardinals
- 7 winners and 7 losers from Bengals preseason opener vs. Cardinals
- Jackson Carman winning LG job isn’t a given after Bengals preseason opener
- How to watch the Cincinnati Bengals in 2022
- Denzel Ward wants to flex on Bengals WRs in 2022
The Pittsburgh Steelers are no longer the Pittsburgh Steelers in defensive terms. The Steelers defense use to be filled with stars. These days there is only one true star on this defense and he was a rookie last season. Ryan Shazier is a beast. The Steelers did the right thing by selecting him out of Ohio State. However, he is not the whole defense and don’t forget that injuries kept him limited early on as well. They also took the risk on putting Cameron Hayward in the center of rebuilding, signing him to a long term deal.
The Steelers are going through a rebuilding stage on defense and they don’t usually rebuild as quick on the defensive side of the ball as the Ravens do.
Year after year Ozzie Newsome shows us how good he truly is. He selects top tier talent all throughout the draft and builds year in and year out. There once was a great player named Ray Lewis dawning a Ravens Jersey dominating the middle of the defense. Now that man is CJ Mosley. By no means am I saying Mosley is Lewis, Mosley is Mosley and he is a growing superstar is his own right.
Prior to the Mosley selection a year earlier was safety Matt Elam and Mosley’s partner in crime fellow linebacker Arthur Brown. The Ravens boosted the line by also drafting Timmy Jernigan and Carl Davis. All of these young players and they are all ready to dominate.
AFC North’s Top Defense: Baltimore Ravens