Okay, I promise we’re almost done with the Ranking the Rooms piece. Although most of you haven’t agreed with the placement of each team in a large majority of the pieces from this series, I think today’s rankings of cornerbacks in the AFC North will bring a sense of togetherness.
Or maybe not; who knows.
No. 1 — Cincinnati Bengals
Despite losing Leon Hall to free agency and rookie first-round draft pick William Jackson III to a torn pectoral injury, the Bengals are still stacked at cornerback heading into the 2016 season.
Led by Dre Kirkpatrick, Darqueze Dennard and Adam Jones, the Bengals have a solid 1-2-3 at one of the most important defensive positions in todays’ game.
Although WJ3 would have added serious depth to a positional strength for the Bengals, his loss to injury isn’t a major blow to the franchise this year.
Backing up the trio is Chris Lewis-Harris, Chykie Brown and Josh Shaw — all of whom can step in and play at a high level if needed.
The depth at the position is largely why the Bengals hold down the No. 1 spot here, not because they have big names are corner.
No. 2 — Baltimore Ravens
Much like the OLB piece from the other day, the Ravens again slightly edge the Pittsburgh Steelers for No. 2.
Jimmy Smith returns for another year as a solid cornerback for the Ravens, while Shareece Wright will look to hold down the spot opposite of Smith.
What I really like about the depth chart at corner for the Ravens is that they have a lot of high-end players with vast potential, with guys like rookie Maurice Canady and veteran backups in Kyle Arrington and Jerraud Powers.
Powers was a productive player for the Ravens, while Arrington can handle himself in the slot.
No. 3 — Pittsburgh Steelers
William Gay is so exceptionally underrated that it’s completely unfair to the veteran, but everyone in the Steelers’ fan base knows how important he is to the success of failure of the Pittsburgh secondary.
Outside of Gay, there’s plenty of intrigue, but who knows what happens with this position in Pittsburgh.
Ross Cockrell was really solid last season for the Steelers, but he’s not a guy that gets fans excited often. Joining Cockrell is Doran Grant, who needs a solid preseason to make the team, while Donald Washington is looking for one more shot at cracking an NFL roster.
Senquez Golson would have played a major role here, but his foot injury knocks him out for most of the year, so Steelers fans won’t get a chance to see what the former second-round pick can do.
And that brings us to this year’s first-round pick — Artie Burns. He’ll be brought along slowly, so don’t expect much out of him.
No. 4 — Cleveland Browns
Joe Haden has really fallen off a cliff as a shutdown corner, so it doesn’t help that he’s slotted in as Cleveland’s No. 1 corner.
If Haden can return to form in 2016 the Browns should be fine at this position, but a lot rides on the veteran corner’s performance this season.
Behind Haden, there really isn’t much to get excited about.
Justin Gilbert sadly looks like a bust for Cleveland and could be cut this summer. Tramon Williams looked overmatched last year at times, but he appears primed for a bounce back season for Cleveland.
K’Waun Williams is facing a suspension from the team and is dealing with injuries, so he can’t be counted on as much, while the development of Jamar Taylor and Trey Caldwell is crucial to the position moving forward.