One of the added benefits of improving the defensive line this offseason is the way it frees up the linebackers. Cleveland has some athletic players, especially Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, but they've been held back by the fact that the D-line was being pushed back on every snap.
We've already seen JOK thrive in this defense in his limited preseason snaps. Others such as Sione Takitaki and Anthony Walker will benefit as well.
With Jacob Phillips heading to the IR, Tony Fields becomes the primary reserve and he too has been playing well. Jordan Kunaszyk and Matthew Adams round out the unit but they'll primarily be special teams contributors.
The top three cornerbacks for Cleveland are as good as any in the NFL. Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome were each first-round selections and are proven starters. Martin Emerson was a third-round pick last year but he was oftentimes their best corner.
All three should be even better in 2023 with the addition of Juan Thornhill since they will be able to play tighter coverage without the worry of constantly giving up the deep ball if the wideout gets past them.
Mike Ford is the fourth corner and was signed away from the Falcons. He showed up with a sack on the blitz last week and is another special teams ace. Cameron Mitchell is the fifth and beats out A.J. Green.