Pro Football Focus released their rankings of all the secondaries in the NFL following the conclusion of the 2016 season. The Cleveland Browns were graded as the 28th-best secondary (although maybe it’d be more appropriate to label them as the 4th-worst secondary).
The Browns had previously been ranked 20th back in Week 7, so they suffered a steep drop by the end of the season. The middle of the year was right when the Browns’ secondary was at its worst, so that could have negated some of the progress I felt the unit made once Ed Reynolds became a starter for the final seven games. Here’s what PFF had to say about the Browns’ ranking:
Coming off the worst season of his career (2015), Jamar Taylor performed significantly better with his new team. While he did still allow five touchdowns, he had a combined 13 interceptions and pass breakups after recording just one pass breakup in his first three pro seasons combined. Meanwhile, Joe Haden earned a below-average coverage grade for a second-straight year, and had a career-high 10 missed tackles. Really, mostly everyone was below-average in coverage outside of Taylor, but they did play well against the run as a group. The 65 tackles missed by defensive backs, tied for the league-lead with the Rams, is definitely something that needs shoring up next year the Browns want to improve on defense.
Taylor received the top overall grade (82.8, which was 19th in the NFL) and coverage grade (83.2, which was 18th in the NFL). He also led the secondary in snaps at 921. The top run defense grade went to Reynolds (85.9, which was 12th in the NFL).
I’m a little surprised not to see any mention of CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, as he was somewhat of a PFF darling up until a few of the gaffes he had in Week 17 against the Steelers.