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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Running Back

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

Browns fans will certainly be upset about this one, but there is too much uncertainty surrounding Nick Chubb to have them higher at this point. If we knew that Chubb was 100 percent healthy, ready to start the season, and would play at the same level we have been accustomed to, Cleveland would be No. 1. Unfortunately, that just isn't the case right now.

I think the team is in a better spot this year than last with Jerome Ford, D'Onta Foreman, and Nyheim Hines on the roster to fill varying roles, Chubb's health and level of play, when he returns, will be be the unquestioned key to the success of the room. Factoring in what the Ravens now have in place with free agent signing, Derrick Henry, and electric 2023 undrafted rookie, Keaton Mitchell, I just don't think we stack up.

Heading into the season, I even give Pittsburgh a slight edge over Cleveland with a duo of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, who both played well last season and complement each other nearly perfectly with their styles of play. The Bengals let Joe Mixon walk this offseason and signed 2023 standout Zack Moss to replace him. Between Moss and 2023 fifth-round pick, Chase Brown, they hope to keep pace with the firepower at the position in the division.

Wide Receiver

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

As I am writing this, Tee Higgins is still on the Cincinnati Bengals roster. That is very important for this exercise, as any change in that situation could lead to a drastic change in the rankings. But right now, a duo of Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase has to top this list. The Browns are very close with Amari Cooper in the top tier of wide receivers in the NFL, but Jerry Jeudy, Elijah Moore, and the rest of the depth chart are big enough question marks to pale in comparison to what Cincinnati has.

The Ravens have a rising, young star in Zay Flowers, as well as a couple of solid targets alongside him in Nelson Agholor and Rashod Bateman, but don't quite have the firepower to keep pace. For Pittsburgh, George Pickens could become a superstar if he becomes a little more consistent, but after him (especially after trading away Diontae Johnson this offseason) they bring almost no proven depth to the table.

Tight End

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

Another spot Browns fans will likely be upset with after an incredible 2023 season from "The Chief", David Njoku, but here we look at the entire position room, and Cleveland has a glaring lack of depth at tight end. Jordan Akins is currently slated to be TE2, with Giovanni Ricci the current TE3 as someone who has been utilized more as a fullback/H-Back and had just one reception in 2023. I was shocked Cleveland didn't address this spot in the 2024 NFL Draft, so we will see how things play out this year.

Mark Andrews, as the best tight end in the division, headlines a group that also has some talented depth pieces with Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar in Baltimore. The Bengals addressed the tight end position this offseason, signing Mike Gesicki to be the primary target in the room, complementing Drew Sample (one of the better blocking tight ends in the NFL) and Tanner Hudson (a favorite target of Burrow late in the season).

With Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, and likely either Connor Heyward or MyCole Pruitt rounding out the room, I think the Steelers have solid pieces at tight end as well.