4 most unexpected Cleveland Browns stars from 2023

The Cleveland Browns had to dig deep during the 2023 season which led to these 4 unexpected stars making their mark

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Tim Warner/GettyImages
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With the regular season in the rearview, the Cleveland Browns are focused on this weekend as they start their playoff run. Their first opponent, and hopefully not their last, will be the Houston Texans. As winners of the AFC South, Houston gets to host the game despite Cleveland having the better record.

As the team is focused on finding a way to stay alive and head to the Divisional Round, we’re about to take a look back on the regular season that just came to a close. The Browns were able to secure 11 wins despite an alarming number of players being sent to the IR. That doesn’t happen without some unexpected contributors doing more than their share.

With that being the case, here are the four biggest stars that no one saw coming this year. Without them, the Browns might not have been able to make it this far but thanks to them (as well as their expected stars such as Myles Garrett and Amari Cooper), they can make a run.

4. Ronnie Hickman, S

In an effort to shore up their secondary, the Browns signed Juan Thornhill and Rodney McLeod this offseason. Their presence gave them two veterans capable of playing coverage which eliminated a major concern on the back end. That concern came back when McLeod was lost for the season and Thornhill battled nagging injuries.

Thankfully, Ronnie Hickman was ready to answer the call. Undrafted out of Ohio State, Hickman burst onto the scene late in the year. He showed the fearless style he displayed at OSU but was also a weapon in coverage.

Hickman appeared in 10 games and had four starts. He finished with 25 tackles, three pass defenses, and had a pick-six in the win over the Jets. Cleveland should have Thornhill back in the playoffs but Grant Delpit’s status is still unknown. While they’d prefer to have Delpit, Hickman has proven himself more than capable of filling in until he can return.