I'd have probably removed Hadrian from the lineup except in preface (with Pius) to the lauded Marcus Aurelius. In his place, Emperor Aurelian to serve as a bridge between Severus and Diocletian, so as to emphasize how the costly militarism of Severus destabilized Rome's government and took a good few decades to sort out. Also to set up how the Empire shifted in the 3rd century from aggressive conquest to a defensive, preservationist posture, the Aurelian Walls being emblematic.
With Severus, the obvious contrarian opinion would be that he was a dominant NPA type with a fiercely hot temper. That said there are few NPA types in history that have been as ruthlessly and unceasingly combatant. In this scenario, we might assert the intrigues of Roman society in the late 2nd century hardened Severus's views on what good ruling was; a truly successful Emperor had to be out fighting, neither vying with or showing weakness to naughty connivers reclining in the capital.
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