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2023 NFC North Position Rankings: Secondary

NFC North Position Rankings

The NFL season starts one month from today when the Detroit Lions take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. Last season, the Lions had one of the worst secondaries in the league, finishing 30th in passing yards allowed and tied for 23rd in passing touchdowns allowed. This offseason, in free agency, the Lions addressed that issue by signing three players Cam Sutton, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and Emmanuel Moseley. Will those three additions give the Lions the best Secondary entering the 2023 season?

NFC North Position Rankings: Secondary

Number Four: Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears secondary in 2023 will include three players on the team last year Jaylon Johnson, Jaquan Brisker, and Eddie Jackson. The three combined for 219 total tackles and five interceptions; Johnson was the only one who didn’t have an interception. They will also have Kyler Gordon back, and he is expected to be a backup to start the season; he finished second on the team in interceptions with three.

The Bears also added a piece to their secondary when they drafted Tyrique Stevenson from the University of Miami with the 56th overall pick. Last season at Miami, he had 25 total tackles and two interceptions.

Number Three: Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings finished 31st in the league in receiving yards allowed last season behind the Lions. The Vikings will have three returnees expected to start Andrew Booth Jr, Harrison Smith, and Camryn Byrum, who combined for 178 total tackles and seven interceptions; Booth wasn’t a starter last year and only played in six games for the Vikings. They also will have a depth piece in Lewis Cine, who they drafted 32nd overall in 2022, but he didn’t appear in a game for Minnesota last season.

The Vikings also went out and addressed their secondary by signing Byron Murphy from the Arizona Cardinals; he played in nine games last season, recording 36 tackles and two fumble recoveries. They also drafted Mekhi Blackmon 102nd overall from the University of Southern California; with the Trojans last season, he recorded 66 total tackles, three interceptions, and one forced fumble, an excellent piece for that Vikings secondary.

Jerry Jacobs Detroit Lions

Number Two: Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions had one of the worst defenses in the league, and they made sure to address that in the offseason; they added the three players I mentioned earlier and drafted Brian Branch out of the University of Alabama with the 45th overall pick, last season for the Crimson Tide, Branch recorded 90 total tackles, three sacks, and two interceptions.

The other three players they added combined for 121 total tackles and ten interceptions. Garnder-Johnson had six interceptions and was a vital part of the Eagles’ defense that went to the Super Bowl last season. The Lions also have Kerby Joseph, Tracy Walker, Jerry Jacobs, and Ifeatu Melifonwu; those four combined for 158 total tackles and five interceptions, with Joseph leading the Lions in interceptions with four.

Number One: Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers come in at the top spot for best secondary entering the 2023 season as they brought back their whole secondary unit that finished in the top ten for the least amount of pass yards allowed. The only player they lost was Adrian Amos, who signed with the New York Jets in the offseason. Rasul Douglas, Rudy Ford, Darnell Savage Jr., Eric Stokes, and Keisean Nixon are all back, as they combined for 236 total tackles and nine interceptions.

The Packers also feature one of the top cornerbacks in all of football in Jaire Alexander, who finished last season with 56 total tackles, five interceptions, and 14 pass deflections. The Packers also added Jonathan Owens from the Houston Texans, who played in all 17 games last season, recording 125 total tackles and one sack.

NFC North

Bottom Line: NFC North Secondaries are much improved

The NFC North is loaded with talent at wide receiver in Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jameson Williams, Denzel Mims, Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, DJ Moore, Darnell Mooney, and Christian Watson. Keeping the receivers in check will not be easy for the NFC North’s secondaries, but whichever can come out on top. The top two made sure they had solid units entering 2023, with the Packers retaining everyone from last season and the Detroit Lions going out and making sure their unit is much better this season than in 2022. Because of that, it has added to the high expectations for the Lions in 2023.

Written by Chris Lavallee

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