Despite a disappointing season that resulted in the team’s defensive coordinator Joe Woods getting fired, the Cleveland Browns‘ defense did have some great individual performances.
Those players are reflected in the Pro Football Focus end-of-season grades.
The highest-graded Browns defensive players include two free agents, one rookie, and two veterans.
Browns DEs Top The List
Two defensive ends top the list.
They are Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, who seemed to create a good partnership until Clowney aired his grievances in Week 18 which caused him to be scratched from the roster.
Garrett is consistent and continues to be excellent each season.
In fact, this is his second consecutive season being the NFL’s top-ranked DE, according to PFF.
Myles Garrett's 92.6 PFF grade not only led all EDGE defenders in 2022, but it also marked a career-high:
2022: 92.6 (1st)
2021: 92.0 (1st)
2020: 86.0 (6th)
2019: 86.5 (11th)
2018: 86.9 (12th)
2017: 80.0 (22nd)
B2B years at No. 1 😤 pic.twitter.com/HmnmnGebGF
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) January 11, 2023
His prospects could only get brighter and better with a new DC at the helm in 2023.
The Rook Is Third And Ahead Of Last Year’s Top Draft Pick
Martin Emerson Jr. turned in an outstanding rookie season as noted by PFF.
He continued to improve during the season so fans are eager to see what his sophomore season will look like.
#Browns rookie CB Martin Emerson Jr’s rookie year in review:
• 50 tackles
• 1 sack
• 45 receptions allowed on 82 targets
• 13 passes defended
• 74.9 coverage grade
Great rookie campaign for a player I’m very excited to see continue to develop.
(Stats per PFF) pic.twitter.com/YpXdycgxlt
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) January 9, 2023
Emerson finished ahead of last season’s first-round pick., Greg Newsome, who finished fourth.
Greg Newsome's 2022 season (Year 2) : 42 tackles, 0.5 sack & 6 passes defensed in 15 games (QB's when targeting him went 39/62 for 400 yards, 2 TD's & a 92.1 QB Rating) pic.twitter.com/ldwF2cOY3A
— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) January 9, 2023
Last But Not Least Is A Fan Favorite
Highest graded Browns defensive players in 2022 (min. 400 snaps):
🥇 Myles Garrett – 92.6
🥈 Jadeveon Clowney – 75.8
🥉 Martin Emerson – 72.5
4⃣ Greg Newsome II – 69.1
5⃣ Sione Takitaki – 67.7 pic.twitter.com/mYoc1S13s1
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) January 10, 2023
Sione Takitaki finished fifth and was a cornerstone for this defense that continued to lose linebacker after linebacker to season-ending injuries.
Takitaki has already expressed an interest in returning to the Browns in 2023 and is indicating that his ACL injury is progressing well.
ICYMI: Sione Takitaki hopes to re-sign with the #Browns and expresses optimism about his ACL recovery: "I told them I want to be back, so we'll see what the future holds." https://t.co/ufmZGYcr4J
— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) January 10, 2023
If the new defensive coordinator ends up being Brian Flores or Jerod Mayo, it will be interesting to see how the linebacker position evolves since both have a background in coaching the position and in Mayo’s case playing linebacker.
Elwood Browns says
Dear Dee Haslam, tell your analytics guys we need one or two linebackers who have cop tires, cop suspensions, and cop shocks who can stop running backs and tight ends. Not all light guys who break.