Rising Stocks – Defense
I don’t think Reggie Ragland is going to rack up 10 more tackles next week, in fact, he may not rack up 10 more tackles the rest of the season, but Ragland had a huge game for the Browns and he did more than his fair share to help put the Browns in a position to win. The Browns’ defense has been scorched on the ground by far worse teams than the Saints, so to hold them to only 17 points is a quiet victory, and Ragland led the way.
Sadly, Chase Winovich has only played six games, two of which are not really anything meaningful. For those four other games, he’s been fine. He played 32 snaps on Sunday and played very well against the run. Now, everyone knew the Saints were going to run it, so the play recognition was pretty easy, but still, it was good to see him play so well.
Martin Emerson has proven that he’s not ready to be a starter in this league, at least just yet, but there are flashes of what he could be if he puts it all together. He’s a solid guy for coverage assignments but against the run, he’s not been good. He catches guys too much, but on Saturday, he did more than just catch guys. He not only stood up a few guys on impact but he had his best tackling game in some time.
Taven Bryan has made himself very expendable, but on Saturday he looked downright tolerable. PFF had him in the Top 8 of players on defense and considering how well the Browns played against the Saints squad that ran the ball 39 times, it was good to see Bryan actually refuse to get moved a lot of times.
Denzel Ward was so not worth that contract he got but man, every so often, he looks like he should be. Ward stepped up big against the run on Saturday, having his second-best game against the run according to PFF.