Ranking the 15 Best Browns Players Heading into the 2023 Season

Who are the best Cleveland Browns on the roster for 2023?

Myles Garrett headlines the list of the 15 best Browns players that we ranked ahead of the 2023 season.
Myles Garrett headlines the list of the 15 best Browns players that we ranked ahead of the 2023 season. / David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports
6 of 8

5. Za'Darius Smith

Speaking of players who would be the best at their position group on most rosters, Za'Darius Smith was an incredible addition to the Cleveland defense.

Smith lost basically the entire 2021 season to injury, but he showed in 2022 that he hasn’t lost a step, still making the Pro Bowl with a 10.0-sack season for the Minnesota Vikings.

That gave Smith double-digit sacks in each of his last three healthy seasons, while also recording at least 23 QB hits in each of his last four healthy seasons.

In fact, Smith ranks No. 8 among all NFL players in sacks per game since 2019.

On his own, Smith is a proven Pro Bowler with All-Pro upside. But now that he joins Myles Garrett? The sky's the limit.

Opposing offenses won't be able to afford zeroing in on Smith the way they have been able to in the past, and dealing with Garrett on the opposite edge (not to mention Tomlinson in the middle) means that o-lines really have two options.

Either they're going to have to stop double-teaming Garrett so much (good luck), or Smith's going to get a ton of clear 1-on-1 pass rush opportunities. Depending on how things get schemed up, we might even see Smith finish with more sacks than Garrett in 2023.

4. Amari Cooper

Amari Cooper didn’t make it back to the Pro Bowl in his first season with the Browns, but he did show that he’s absolutely still a top wide receiver.

Despite being hampered by mediocre quarterback play from Brissett and Watson, Cooper bounced back with his third 1,100-yard season of the last four years, scoring a career-high 9 touchdowns.

His 83.6 receiving grade from PFF was the second highest of his career, and it ranked No. 16 league-wide among wide receivers.

Maybe even more impressive? Browns QBs had a passer rating of 105.9 when targeting Cooper last season. That means Jacoby Brissett/Deshaun Watson targeting Cooper reached Patrick Mahomes (105.2) type efficiency.

He's proven that he still has all the ability that made the cheap price to acquire him from Dallas so head-scratching, and if Watson can bounce back then Cooper should be in for a monster 2023 season.