The Cleveland Browns are 3-6 on the season, and surprisingly, perhaps the biggest culprit has been their defense.
They rank 23rd in rushing yards allowed, 28th in forced interceptions, 30th in rushing touchdowns allowed, and 31st in points allowed.
Cleveland has given up at least 30 points in four of its nine games, and last week, it allowed the Miami Dolphins, who have a very weak running game, to rush for 195 yards.
This would make it seem the team has a lack of quality players on the defensive side of the football, but that is not the case at all.
Lost in the attention given to men such as All-Pro pass rusher Myles Garrett is the big season rookie cornerback Martin Emerson is having.
In fact, Pro Football Focus has ranked the third-round draft pick very high in the category of forced incompletions.
Martin Emerson Jr. has 8 forced incompletions this season 🔒⬇️
That ranks 2nd among all rookies and is tied for 4th most in the entire NFL 😳 pic.twitter.com/UF0z4idlZH
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) November 11, 2022
Emerson also has seven passes defended this season, and he’s allowing a pass completion rate of 58.0 percent and a passer rating of 89.7 when his man has been targeted.
That may not be enough to get him into the Pro Bowl this season, but it’s something substantial for him to build on.
Emerson Took Advantage When Called Upon
It was an injury to Denzel Ward, one of Cleveland’s starting corners and a two-time Pro Bowler, that opened up the opportunity for Emerson to start three games in October.
The team won one of those contests versus the Cincinnati Bengals, and with Emerson’s help, it was able to limit the defending AFC champions to just 193 passing yards.
He may not be able to beat out Ward or Greg Newsome II in the depth chart anytime soon, but he is another example of how well executive Andrew Berry has drafted in recent years.