AFC North positional rankings: How the Browns stack up following the NFL Draft

How do the Cleveland Browns stack up in arguably the best division in the NFL in the AFC North?
Myles Garrett, Za'Darius Smith, Cleveland Browns,
Myles Garrett, Za'Darius Smith, Cleveland Browns, / Nick Cammett/GettyImages
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The 2024 NFL Draft has now come and gone. Combined with the NFL free agency period, the offseason action is all but complete. Heading towards training camp and the preseason in the lead-up to the Cleveland Browns 2024 playing season the question arises: how does the Browns' roster stack up against the other teams in the loaded AFC North?

Here we will break things down, position group by position group, comparing the Browns to division rivals Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, and Pittsburgh Steelers. Has Cleveland made enough improvements to overtake the likes of the reigning number-one seed in the AFC Ravens? Do the Joe Burrow-led Bengals find their way back to the Super Bowl? Has Pittsburgh righted the ship to make up some ground in the division?

Time will tell with the play on the field but, on paper, we evaluate how things currently stand with the rosters and see who may have the upper hand.


1. Baltimore Ravens
2. Cincinnati Bengals
3. Cleveland Browns
4. Pittsburgh Steelers

It is hard to go against the two-time (and reigning) NFL MVP, Lamar Jackson when ranking the quarterbacks in the AFC North. Despite little apparent interest when he became available last offseason, Jackson proved his worth after returning to Baltimore.

Not only did he continue to be the dynamic runner that everyone knew he was, but Jackson excelled as a passer at points in 2023 under new offensive coordinator (and former Browns OC) Todd Monken. He led the Ravens to the AFC Championship Game last season and has earned the top spot in these power rankings.

Joe Burrow is right there in the conversation with Jackson to be the top quarterback in the division. Although he struggled quite a bit last season, largely due to injury, I don't doubt one bit that Burrow can get back to the form that allowed him to lead his team to the Super Bowl in 2021, also coming off of a season-ending injury his rookie season. Burrow will be vital to the success of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2024 and he undoubtedly has the talent to elevate the team to compete for a division title once again this season.

The Deshaun Watson-led quarterback room of the Cleveland Browns comes in third in the rankings here. While Watson certainly believes he belongs squarely in the conversation for the top spot with Jackson and Burrow, we simply have yet to see that level of play from him in Cleveland.

The talent is still there with Watson, as we have seen in spurts. But two keywords will be crucial for Watson's success in 2024 with Cleveland: health and consistency. If Watson comes out and plays at a high level, stays on the field, and continues to lead the team from wire to wire, he has the potential to join that battle at the top and will likely have Cleveland near or at the top of the AFC North this season.

Despite the big swing that the Pittsburgh Steelers took at the quarterback position this offseason, they still land at the bottom in these rankings. I truly believe that the Steelers got considerably better at the position this offseason (Russell Wilson and Justin Fields>Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph, and Mitch Trubisky) but they still don't have the ceiling of the other rooms in the division or the proven consistency of some others.

While Watson may be the biggest question mark at the position in the division, the Steelers' options are right there with him. What version of Russ will the Steelers get? Will Fields even factor into the equation in 2024 (on offense, anyway)?

I think we just need to see how things play out before taking the Steelers out of the basement at the quarterback position.