Post NFL Draft AFC North Power Rankings: Browns climbing the ladder

How does the AFC North look following the NFL Draft?
Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns
Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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3. Cincinnati Bengals

Throughout the 2023 offseason, Cincinnati Bengals fans went to town picking on the Cleveland Browns. They had their Week 1 game circled as the one to prove Joe Burrow can handle the Cleveland defense finally, but when the game started, that wasn't the case.

Cincinnati was handed a brutal loss but suddenly, that game meant nothing. Instead, the fan base congratulated the Browns on their "Super Bowl" and headed in a different direction.

By season's end, they were 9-8 and looking up at Cleveland but they deserve credit for hanging in while Burrow was injured. Jake Browning led them to a 4-3 mark while completing an impressive 70.4 percent of his passes for 1,936 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven picks.

He proved to be a solid backup but having Burrow back will make Cincinnati a more dangerous team. They also went into the 2024 NFL Draft and added more help on the offensive line by adding Amarius Mims in Round 1. That should help but there's still drama surrounding the team with Tee Higgins and Trey Hendrickson each trying to get out of town.

Talent-wise, they're better than the Steelers but if they don't get everyone on the same page, they could slide back into the basement.