The Cleveland Browns secondary was ... less than ideal ... during the 2020 season.
Injuries in training camp knocked out second-year cornerback Greedy Williams and rookie safety Grant Delpit for the season. Safety Ronnie Harrison missed four games late in the season after being placed on injured reserve, while cornerback Denzel Ward also missed four games while dealing with injuries and COVID-19.
When it was all said and done, Browns fans had become far more familiar with the likes of Andrew Sendejo, Tavierre Thomas and M.J. Stewart than anyone expected.
The #Browns did WORK this off-season to bolster their secondary and our @PFF_Linsey ranks them accordingly:⬇️https://t.co/MEZ2mipskx— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) June 9, 2021
General manager Andrew Berry was clearly paying attention, and quickly went to work in the offseason renovating the secondary by bringing in cornerbacks Troy Hill and Greg Newsome II, safeties John Johnson III and Richard LeCounte III, and seeing Williams and Delpit move closer to a return to the field.
Now as the Browns prepare for next week’s mandatory minicamp, the secondary is drawing praise from Ben Linsey at Pro Football Focus, who puts the Browns at No. 3 in his ranking of the league’s best secondaries:
This Cleveland secondary will look very different from last year’s iteration. Not only did the team add John Johnson III and Troy Hill from the Rams in free agency, but it also spent a first-round draft pick on Greg Newsome II in the 2021 NFL Draft. Newsome is coming off an excellent 2020 season at Northwestern in which he allowed just 12 catches on 34 targets. Those additions are supplemented by the returns of Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit from injury last year to give the Browns a much deeper group heading into next season.
Berry has given defensive coordinator Joe Woods a secondary that looks nothing like the one that was employed in 2020.
Which is good news for the Browns and potentially bad news for opposing offenses.