Help Choose the AFC North All Defense Team

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May 21, 2014; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive back Joe Haden (23) during organized team activities at Cleveland Browns practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Backfield


Joe Haden – Haden is one of the Top 5 corners in the league by most opinions. He shuts down one side of the field and makes huge emotional plays for the Browns. He sometimes gets burned on double moves but his aggressive nature also helps him be an asset in the run game as well.

Jimmy Smith – Smith, not withstanding very recent reports of legal issues, came into his own last season in his third year. he played in all 16 games and showed significant development in coverage skills. It is a knock on the AFC North’s corners that Smith might be the 4th best in the division.

Strong Safety

Troy Polamalu – Polamalu, with his reckless style, is starting to show his age. Yet when in the game he impacts it greatly in so many ways. He intimidates quarterbacks and can read snap counts to stuff the run. His coverage has fallen off some due to injuries but his football IQ is off the charts leading to big plays still in the passing game.

Donte Whitner – Pairing Polamalu with Whitner could be an option as both have coverage skills. Whitner, coming over from the 49ers, loves to hit but also can make plays in coverage. His desire to make big plays has caused problems with the new rules the NFL has instituted but the Browns hope to benefit from his style of play, leadership and football knowledge.

Free Safety

Reggie Nelson – The AFC North is also somewhat weak at the free safety position. Nelson is a 7 year vet who rose up through the Jaguars organization before coming over to the Bengals in 2010. Nelson is a quality player but isn’t likely to garner huge support from fans outside of the AFCN.

Tashaun Gipson – Again a problem at FS for the North is that Gipson’s main competition is rookie Terrance Brooks from the Ravens and new Steeler Mike Mitchell who bounced from the Raiders to the Panthers last year and now with the Steelers. Gipson could explode this year in the way that Pettine likes to use his free safeties and had a solid season last year. He has been recognized by some in the off-season as being underrated, breakout candidate.


Lardarius Webb – Webb is the shutdown corner for the Ravens. He makes big plays on defense and has history of returning punts, though the Ravens haven’t had him do it often in the past 2 years. Last year he had 22 passes deflected to go along with his 22 INTs and 74 tackles.

Leon Hall – The veteran stud corner in the AFCN is Hall. Paired with Jonathan Joseph for a few years, Hall now anchors the stellar secondary of the Bengals. Injuries have haunted him the last few years but he should return to his standout self this upcoming season.

Any alternative/write in votes or to advocate rearranging players make all comments below!