The NFL season feels so close yet so far away. Such is the way the offseason is scheduled. It seems like yesterday and a year ago that the Super Bowl finished up and we were headed toward NFL free agency and the NFL draft.
For the Cleveland Browns, this offseason was vital for the future of the team. After two straight losing seasons, GM Andrew Berry and HC Kevin Stefanski are on the hot seat (at a minimum with fans and media if not also ownership).
Stefanski kicked off the changes with the firing of DC Joe Woods and the hiring of Jim Schwartz in his place. Later, Mike Priefer was replaced as the special teams coordinator by Bubba Ventrone.
Those two moves could get overlooked but they are huge upgrades.
Berry continued the change process with a lot of moves in free agency and the draft.
Last week, we covered a myriad of NFL power rankings where the Browns averaged 18th out of 32 teams with their highest ranking at #14 and their lowest at #21. Today, we bring you Pro Football Focus’ power ranking where Cleveland is ranked much higher:
9. CLEVELAND BROWNS
Biggest impact player from the draft: DI Siaki Ika
Pre-Draft Ranking: 21
The Browns shored up their defense this offseason by adding safety Juan Thornhill, defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson and edge Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. Drafting Siaki Ika, who posted a 76.4 PFF pass-rushing grade and an 11.6% pass-rush win rate in 2022, will morph their defense into a force to be reckoned with. Cleveland also added to its receiving corps by drafting Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman.
It is interesting that PFF jumped the Browns 12 spots from their pre-draft ranking despite not having a first or second-round selection. Cleveland’s jump dropped the Baltimore Ravens one spot to #10 while the Cincinnati Bengals remain the top-ranked AFC North team at #4.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the lone AFC North team not ranked in the top 10.
How surprised are you by the Browns ranking?