Former Steeler Chris Hubbard Believes The Browns Are The Team To Beat In The AFC North: ‘It’s A Powerhouse’

The AFC has become a “Wild West” in the NFL with a handful of teams in the conference being legit title contenders. The Kansas City Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl champs and are always in the mix with QB Patrick Mahomes. The Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Chargers, and now the New York Jets all look prepared to make a push for the AFC crown in 2023.

However, the AFC North remains one of the toughest, if not the toughest division in all of football. There are  the Cincinnati Bengals with Joe Burrow and company, the Baltimore Ravens with Lamar Jackson under center, the Cleveland Browns with Deshaun Watson in Year Two with the team, and the Pittsburgh Steelers who look primed to make some noise in the conference with Kenny Pickett heading into his second season as the starter along with a renovated roster full of talented rookies and veterans.

When asked who should be the favorite in the AFC North on Good Morning Football Tuesday morning, former Steelers and Browns OL Chris Hubbard supported his most recent team, calling the Browns a legit contender to win it all this season.

“For me, man, I’m not just saying this because I’ve been there, but just looking at everything and all the draft that they have done this past year,” Hubbard said on GMFB. “They’ve added so many weapons on that team, and I just feel like the Browns has what it takes to be a top contender.”

The Browns have had a productive offseason, much like the Steelers have. Despite not having a draft pick until the third round, they managed to get WR Cedric Tilman to give Deshaun Watson another big-bodied weapon, DL Siaki Ika to shore up the run defense, OT Dawand Jones, who was considered a fringe first round pick before a questionable pre-draft process concerning his playing weight, EDGE Isaiah McGuire, who projects to be a solid rotational pass rusher, and QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who should become a viable backup should anything happen to Watson.

Cleveland also loaded up in free agency, signing DL Dalvin Tomlinson to bolster the defensive front, EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo to add a proven pass rusher opposite Myles Garrett, S Juan Thornhill, who brings range and a championship pedigree from Kansas City, and S Rodney McLeod, who is a seasoned veteran presence on the back end of the defense. They also recently traded for EDGE Za’Darius Smith from the Minnesota Vikings, landing a productive pass rusher and quality run defender to pair with Garrett, giving them a dynamic duo coming off the edge they were hoping to have with Jadeveon Clowney last year.

The Browns finished 7-10 last season and last in the AFC North. However, they have Watson now for the entire season after knocking off the rust and missing most of the 2022 campaign. The Bengals have been the team to beat in the division the last couple of years and the Ravens will always be a competitive team with Lamar Jackson at QB and John Harbaugh at HC. While I personally want to think that the Steelers have a good shot to push for an AFC North title in 2023, Hubbard has a point when saying that the Cleveland Browns have loaded up as well and look primed to make a run this season.

“It’s a powerhouse, man,” Hubbard said. “I really feel like it’s a real powerhouse.”

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