Cleveland Browns defensive line ranked fifth overall in the NFL

The Cleveland Browns defensive line was ranked No. 1 in the AFC North and No. 5 in the NFL by PFF.
Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett, Alex Wright
Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett, Alex Wright / Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK

Myles Garrett by himself gives the Cleveland Browns defensive line credibility. The 2023 NFL Defensive Player of the Year has been strong against the run and pass and enters his eighth season in the league with 305 tackles and 88.5 sacks.

What makes Cleveland's defense dominant is that Garrett doesn't have to do it alone. That might have been the case early in his career but he's now surrounded by several talented players including Dalvin Tomlinson, Za'Darius Smith, Shelby Harris, Maurice Hurst, Alex Wright, and Ogbo Okoronkwo.

Throw in free agent addition Quinton Jefferson and rookie second-round pick Michael Hall, Jr. and it's easy to see why Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus says this is the best defensive line in the AFC North and the fifth best in the league.

Cleveland also has Siaki Ika, a third-round pick from 2023 who didn't make an impact as a rookie. If he can take a step forward in year two and become the run-stuffer they believe he can be, their line will look even more impressive.

Who is ahead of the Browns in D-Line rankings?

The four teams ahead of Cleveland in Monson's rankings are the New York Jets (No. 1), the San Francisco 49ers (No. 2), the Philadelphia Eagles (No. 3), and the Detroit Lions (No. 4).

We can debate a couple of these teams not deserving to be ahead of the Browns but it would be splitting hairs. It's hard to say any of these teams doesn't belong in the top five and after that, the difference is minimal.

If Cleveland wanted to end the debate and become No. 1, shutting down the run is a must. They were 11th in the NFL in yardage surrendered and 19th in average per rush. Overall, they were fine against the run but that's the one area where the others in the top five might have an advantage. The signing of Jefferson and hopeful growth from Ika could be what makes this happen.

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