AFC North secondaries ranked from worst to best in 2023

  • The Steelers have invested draft capital to help a group lacking talent.
  • The Bengals will field one of their most inexperienced groups in recent years.
  • Do the Browns have the depth behind their young stars?
  • Can anybody match the star power of the Ravens' secondary?
Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals
Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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The Cincinnati Bengals' secondary will have a relatively new look and feel in 2023. The losses of Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell mean plenty of work has been done in the offseason to remodel the group. The same goes across the division, where rivals strengthened their defensive backfields to help slow down the impressive offenses they face.

When tasked with covering some of the best receivers in the game, it's clear why the AFC North is emphasizing the need for strong secondary groups. The wideouts they will have to try, and stymie include Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Odell Beckham Jr., Amari Cooper, and Diontae Johnson, to name a few.

So, let's take a look at who has formed the best group in the division and who needs to take further steps to shore up a potentially leaky secondary.

All stats and grades are provided by Pro Football Focus.

All contract numbers provided by Over the Cap

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

Secondary Lineup: Levi Wallace, Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan, Damonte Kazee, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Keanu Neal, Joey Porter Jr, Elijah Riley, Kenny Robinson, James Pierre.

The Steelers enter 2023 with multiple new faces at the cornerback spot. Out go Cam Sutton and Akhello Witherspoon. In come the experienced Patrick Petersen and Chandon Sullivan.

Peterson is now 33 years old, and despite a solid year for the Vikings in 2022, can he hang with the best of the AFC North? He will be an excellent mentor for Joey Porter Jr., the Steelers' first-round pick, whose physical nature may need to adapt to NFL officiating.

At safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick is one of the best in the league and can play deep as a ball hawk or take regular snaps in the box. Damontae Kazee will play deep in two-high formations and played well at the back end of last year, while another former Atlanta Falcon, Keanu Neal can take reps closer to the line of scrimmage.

The depth behind the starters is shaky, to say the least, and while the Steelers have a legitimate star in Fitzpatrick, Peterson's age and the inconsistency of the other starters make this the weakest group in the division.