After ranking the Cleveland Browns’ offensive triplets No. 32 in the NFL, Bill Barnwell of ESPN has done the same to the team’s defensive triplets. Barnwell says that the defensive exercise is tougher than the offensive one. While there was a common template on offense (i.e. one quarterback, then two of a wide receiver, running back, or tight end mix), the defense could range from three defensive lineman for one team to three defensive backs for another.
The Browns’ ranking contained a mix of one player from each level of the defense, but that still didn’t prevent their trio from being No. 32:
CB Joe Haden, DT Desmond Bryant, LB Paul Kruger
And so, sadly, the Browns finish at the bottom of the offensive triplet rankings and the bottom of the defensive triplet rankings. Years of disappointing first-round picks and questionable free-agent signings have left the Browns bereft on the defense. They have a legitimate No. 1 cornerback on the roster in Haden, but the former Florida star was riddled with injuries last season and may not be ready for the start of the 2016 campaign. There's still time for players such as Danny Shelton and Justin Gilbert to develop under a new coaching staff, but there's little to be enthused about on defense for Cleveland.
Undoubtedly, Haden should be the top-ranked player defensively for the Browns. I understand why Bryant is next up, considering his stable defensive presence, but if Danny Shelton doesn’t break through enough to oust either Bryant or Kruger from the triplets list by the end of the season, then our defense is in trouble. Out of all the team’s defensive rookie investments, it’d be nice if someone took Kruger’s spot by the end of the year too.