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Cleveland Browns’ secondary ranked 27th in the NFL by PFF

The analytics site churned out another positional ranking, and this time they weren’t as kind to Cleveland’s secondary.

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On Tuesday, Pro Football Focus ranked all 32 NFL teams’ secondaries. While the Cleveland Browns scored incredibly well a few weeks ago for their offensive line, the analytics website isn’t quite as high on the Browns’ secondary yet, despite several key additions this offseason.

PFF ranked the Browns at No. 27 overall and provided the following assessment:

The Browns would love to get rookie first round pick Jabrill Peppers signed and on the field as much as possible this year, but for 2017 expect recent addition Calvin Pryor to be the starting strong safety. In three years with the Jets, he successfully defended just six of 99 throws into his coverage, and missed a total of 38 tackles. Jamar Taylor and Jason McCourty should help the cornerback group, as Taylor had an overall grade of 82.0 last year with the Browns while McCourty had two picks and eight pass break-ups in Tennessee. Fans in Cleveland will also hope for an improved season from CB Joe Haden, who finished with a 46.0 overall grade, or 88th overall at the position last year.

Although we might end up seeing Jabrill Peppers is a multi-purpose role when it comes to his playing time, it’s a little surprising to see PFF almost acknowledge that he will be a reserve safety in year number one. I don’t see it, and I don’t think Calvin Pryor is good enough to convincingly win a job over him.

PFF AFC North Secondary Rankings, July 2017

Team 2017 Preseason Post-2016 Pre-2016 Ovr. Change
Team 2017 Preseason Post-2016 Pre-2016 Ovr. Change
Ravens 7 10 24 17
Steelers 12 11 21 9
Bengals 18 16 11 -7
Browns 27 28 25 -2

Looking at the rankings heading into last year, it’s baffling to think how a secondary that projected Tracy Howard and Ibraheim Campbell to be the starting safeties even warranted being ranked as high as No. 25. The Browns’ secondary has added three promising pieces since then in Peppers, Pryor, and McCourty, yet they’ve dropped two spots to No. 27. We can’t look into that too much, as the Browns’ secondary needs to have a “we’ll prove it” mentality if they want to garner more respect.

The Ravens have seen a significant jump over the past year, now being ranked as high as No. 7 overall. A big component of that is just how well Eric Weddle turned out for Baltimore a year ago. They also signed free agent safety Tony Jefferson this offseason, giving the club the best safety combination in the NFL. Drafting Marlon Humphrey at cornerback and signing free agent cornerback Brandon Boykin also helped strengthen their secondary.