Was the Browns 2022 Draft successful?
By: Ivan Mulinder
The Cleveland Browns entered the 2022 Draft with the following needs: DE, DT, K & WR. They ended up drafting 9 players (4 on Offense, 4 on Defense, and 1 ST). Here’s a list of the players they selected:
- Round 3 Pick 68 CB Martin Emerson from Mississippi State
- Round 3 Pick 78 DE Alex Wright from UAB
- Round 3 Pick 99 WR David Bell from the Purdue Boilermakers
- Round 4 Pick 108 DT Perrion Winfrey from Oklahoma Sooners
- Round 4 Pick 124 K Cade York from LSU
- Round 5 Pick 156 RB Jerome Ford from Cincinnati Bearcats
- Round 6 Pick 202 WR Mike Woods from Oklahoma Sooners
- Round 7 Pick 223 DE Isaiah Thomas from Oklahoma Sooners
- Round 7 Pick 246 C Dawson Deaton from Texas Tech
After the 7 Rounds, the Browns then selected 12 UDFA including:
- WR Isaiah Weston from Northern Iowa
- CB Julius Faulk from Delta State
- TE Zaire Mitchell-Paden from Florida Atlantic
- S D’Anthony Bell from West Florida
- LB Silas Kelly from Coastal Carolina
The NFL experts grading this Draft seem to have gone for a consensus grade of B+ but Andrew Berry was really pleased with his haul. I think, yet again, he drafted very well selecting players with high upside in key positions and trading down 3 times to get more of them. The Browns have a pretty full roster packed with a lot of talent. Most of these players have been picked to come through to the first team in a couple of years or more, as important rotational players, with 3 likely starting straight away.
The 3 picks Andrew Berry traded down for turned into those 3 likely starters:
- CB Martin Emerson is graded the 3rd best CB in the SEC by PFF. He’s 6.2 201lbs with a 4.53 40-yard dash. Over the last 2 seasons, he’s posted 14 pass breakups and 4.5 tackles for loss. He has all the traits to play zone and man coverage although he’s not as good at stopping the run. This was a surprise pick for the Browns as CB wasn’t considered a need, but during Day 3 Troy Hill was traded back to the Rams for a 5th Round 2023 pick making Emerson a likely rotational starter.
- DT Perrion Winfrey, 6.4 290lbs and in 2021 posted 11 tackles for loss in 12 starts with 5.5 sacks. According to Sharp Football, he was the second-best value pick in the first 4 Rounds being picked 57 places lower than expected. Browns fans watching his video know they’ve got a very passionate guy who is a real brawler. This was an excellent pick and filled a real need for the Browns.
- K Cade York was the best Kicker in the Draft. In the regular season for LSU, he kicked 81.8% of his FG successfully and 97.6% of his extra points. He is famous for kicking a 57-yard FG in fog to beat the Florida Gators. We all saw how crucial McPherson was to the Bengals Super Bowl run last year and the Browns lost 5 games by less than 5 points last season so this was a very important pick and it shows how much Berry values him by getting him at 124.
In the Defensive End Room, Alex Wright is an archetypal Browns DE and probably fell to 78 because he didn’t test at the Combine. He’s 6.5 271lbs and in 2021 registered 7.5 tackles for loss and 7 sacks, with 3 pass breakups and 2 forced fumbles. PFF graded him the 3rd best DE in College Football so this was another important pick up at a crucial position of need and Wright will be a useful backup next season to Garrett and whoever else the Browns bring in during Free Agency. The Browns added a second DE in Isaiah Thomas who is 6.5 and 266lbs. He’s had 8 sacks a season for the last 2 years, and in 2021 added 11.5 tackles for loss, 4 pass breakups, 34 QB pressures, and 3 forced fumbles. His RAS score is 9.16 which is super athletic. The Browns have added quality depth to a really important position of need. I’m grading this room upgrade as an A.
WR concerns were covered with 2 selections, the better of which is undoubtedly David Bell who is 6.1 and a slightly heavier 212lbs. He was No.1 in contested catches in College football and had 13.8 yards per catch last season with 1,286 yards. He’s not fast, but he’s an excellent route runner both inside and outside and can create separation laterally, and uses his weight to win contested catches. This could mean that Landry isn’t returning as Bell and the Browns TE will be the short to medium range targets. Hopefully, this means the Browns will be after someone else like Will Fuller now the Draft is over. Michael Woods was selected with the pick the Browns received for the Amari Cooper trade and I suspect was selected because he has many of the traits Berry likes- he’s young at 22, he’s very athletic with a RAS score of 7.64 and he’s 6.1, so we’ll see how he progresses. Isaiah Weston is freakishly athletic with a RAS score of 9.99, a 4.42 40-yard dash, and elite measurements in the vertical and broad jumps. I really think he’s one to watch, but the Browns still need to add a WR post Draft.
The Browns were not expected to select an RB with Chubb, Hunt, Johnson, and Felton already established on the roster, but Jerome Ford is a good choice. 5.10, 210lbs with a 4.46 40-yard dash. In 2021 he had 19 touchdowns, with 52 missed tackles forced, 32 explosive runs, 3 yards after contact per attempt, and a PFF rushing grade of 89.4! Kareem Hunt is on the last year of his contract and D’ernest Johnson is a free agent which no other team opted to take, so is back with the Browns. Jerome Ford is clearly the replacement for someone, and I speculate that Hunt might be used as a bargaining tool in a potential Baker trade.
The Browns had a very good 2022 Draft which will go under the radar as they didn’t pick until Round 3. If they add more quality players, if Deshaun Watson gets a lot of game time, barring injuries, they’ve set themselves up for contention in the AFC North and the AFC Championship.