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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2. Cleveland Browns

Secondary Lineup: Denzel Ward, Martin Emerson, Greg Newsome, Grant Delpit, Juan Thornhill, Mike Ford, Cameron Mitchell, AJ Green III, Rodney McLeod, De'Anthony Bell.

Over the last five years in Cleveland, there has been a conscious effort to improve the secondary. That has involved using several Day 1 and 2 draft picks to rebuild the group. It also meant handing out a five-year, $100.5 million contract to lockdown corner Denzel Ward.

This offseason they added Juan Thornhill, who looks a bit of a steal at three years, $21 million. If healthy, he should add needed experience at safety next to Grant Delpit. Delpit was a force for LSU at the college level and began to show improvement in his second year, grabbing four interceptions for the Browns in 2022.

At cornerback, 2021 first-round pick Greg Newsome was solid and will split his time between the slot and outside corner. The longer 6'2", Martin Emerson will likely man the outside role in the nickel formation, and his 75.1 coverage grade last year was mightily impressive for a third-round rookie.

The biggest concern for the group is depth. If injury should strike, the drop-off to the likes of Mike Ford and AJ Green III is steep. This is an exciting, young group, but can they hold up all the way to the playoffs?