Cleveland Browns NFL Draft Picks & Grades 2022: Browns Get Bigger in the Secondary and Stronger on the D-Line

Part of the Browns’ blockbuster trade to acquire DeShaun Watson was forfeiting their first round draft picks in each of the next three drafts. In a draft class that was more deep than it was star-studded, the Browns doubled down on this philosophy by trading their second round pick to the Texans for a 3rd round pick and two fourth round picks. Having pursued offense in the offseason by signing DeShaun Watson and Amari Cooper, the Browns went defense in the draft — taking a CB, DE, and DT tackle with 3 of their first 4 picks. In an otherwise underwhelming couple days for Cleveland, perhaps their most surprising move was the selection of Cade York, the 21 year old kicker from LSU, with their second pick in the 4th round.

Cleveland Browns Draft Picks 2022

Round 3 No. 68 CB Martin Emerson
Round 3 No. 78 DE Alex Wright
Round 3 No. 99 WR David Bell
Round 4 No. 108 DT Perrion Winfrey
Round 4 No. 124 K Cade York
Round 5 No. 156 RB Jerome Ford
Round 6 No. 202 WR Michael Woods II
Round 7 No. 223 DE Isiah Thomas
Round 7 No. 246 C Dawson Deaton

Overall Draft Grade: B-

Analysis: Having signed Wyatt Teller and Joel Bitonio to a pair of long term deals in the offseason, the Browns came into draft day having already executed most of the leg work on the offensive side of the ball. The primary need that remained to be addressed was the defensive line — a unit that’s seen constant turnover in each of the last 4 years outside of Myles Garrett. The other big thing the Browns needed was some size in the secondary. Newsome II and Ward have been great, though their smaller frames can present mismatches against bigger, stronger wide outs. By grabbing Martin Emerson and Alex Wright in the 3rd round, the Browns killed two birds with 2 stones and got bigger at corner and more dynamic on the D-Line. They continued to get arguably the top place kicker in this year’s draft in Cade York and a crafty WR from Purdue in David Bell.

Cleveland Browns Draft Grades 2022

Round: 3 Pick: 68 / Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State

Standing at 6’2” with 33.5” arms, Emerson entered this year’s draft in the 95th percentile in height and 97th percentile in length. This frame makes him an antidote to the shorter, speedier corners that currently start in Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome II. As a physical cover corner, Emerson is best when he can get his hands on receivers early in the route and latch on to them. Because he isn’t super fast, clocking a 4.51 40, he has a tendency to grab onto guys. To be effective at the next level, he’s going to have to learn how to play contained and bceom a more aggressive tackler. Overall, I like Marin Emerson as a corner, though I would’ve liked if the Browns went for one of the marquee linebackers that was still on the board in Chad Muma or Nakobe Dean. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has been great and the Browns could have cemented themselves as the best linebacking core in the division with a pick in the third round.

Grade: C+

Round: 3 Pick :78 / Alex Wright, DE, UAB

If Jadeveon Clonwney does end up resigning with Cleveland, I love this selection for the Browns. Though raw, Wright has great size and quickness. He is able to shed blocks and clog lanes in the run game as well as get to the quarterback. He doesn’t, however, have a refined technique and has been able to lean on athleticism alone at UAB. To be a force in the NFL, he’ll have to improve his hand usage and build his overall pass rush toolkit. He’s got the quickness and general instinct that one needs to get to the quarterback

Grade: B+

Round: 3 Pick: 99 / David Bell, WR, Purdue

Bell isn’t the flashiest wide receiver. He runs just a 4.65 40 and doesn’t have that quick twitch burst of a Tyreek Hill or OBJ. What he lacks in speed, however, he somewhat makes up for with his strong hands and on-field awareness. Bell’s read and react skills allow him to accumulate yards after the catch as well as anyone in the draft. He displays great balance in his route running and isn’t afraid to take hits. Perhaps one of the bigger green lights for scouts when it comes to Bell’s transition from college to the NFL was his ability to play up against good competition. In Purdue’s two biggest wins of the season in 2021 against Michigan State and Ohio State, Bell went for 217 and 103 yards, respectively. As of today the Browns still haven’t re-signed Jarvis Landry and the wide receiver position remains one of need. Though I thought Bell was closer to a 4th round pick, I like what he brings to the Browns here. My only concern is that with Amari Cooper also being more of a technician than a burner, the Browns lack some speed on the perimeter.

Grade: A-

Round: 4 Pick: 108 / Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma

Though a bit slower, Winfrey has the size and power you’d want to see out of someone in the middle of the defensive line. As one of Oklahoma’s de-facto enforcers, Winfrey routinely punished guys who gave him an opportunity to land a clean hit. The reason Winfrey fell to this point had less to do with his physical traits and more to do with his lack of versatility. Winfrey never showcased an ability to routinely rush the passer in college, and defensive linemen without a pass rush skillset are a hard sell for the first and second round. That said, between Myles Garrett, Alex Wright, and perhaps Jaedaveon Clowney, the Browns need a physical run stopper on the interior more than another pass rusher.

Grade: B

Round: 4 Pick: 124 / Cade York, K, LSU

Cade York’s utility on this Brown’s roster is apparent. Ever since Phil Dawson left the franchise in 2012, the team has struggled to find a consistent replacement at one of the most crucial positions. York comes in having put together one of the best collegiate resumes for a kicker to date. Over the course of his career at LSU, York connected on field goals from 50+ yards at a 78.9 percent clip. His kicks are high and rarely ever blocked, though he does hang the ball on some of his misses. I like the Browns’ thought process here, though it feels like a mild reaction to the Bengal’s Evan McPherson pick from a year ago. Either way, in a division with two of the best kickers in the league, the Browns are going to need something to counter in close games. If his collegiate production translates the way scouts think, teams may regret passing on him.

Grade: B

Round: 5 Pick: 156 / Jerome Ford, RB, Cincinnati

After transferring from Alabama, Jerome Ford sat most of the 2020 season behind Gerrid Doaks before getting the starting slot in 2021. At 210 lbs with a 4.46 40 time, Ford has physical tools that will translate well to the next level. With only 319 collegiate carries under his belt, Ford remains a fresh prospect with room left to grow. Joining a running back room with Nick Chibb and Kareem Hunt, he’ll have an opportunity to develop alongside the best. His quickness is apparent in the open field, though he tends to run fairly upright. Some find this pick curious given the Browns running back room, but all it takes is one injury at a highly physical position to upend this dual threat attack. If Ford can improve his ball security, he will be a good 3rd option in this star-studded Browns running back room.

Grade: B-

Round: 6 Pick: 202 / Michael Woods, WR, Oklahoma

The biggest knock on woods coming out of college was his lack of versatility as both a route runner and a pass catcher. Much of his production came from either hitch or out routes without a lot of maneuvering to get open. He does have good size and solid hands, however, along with deep-ball tracking abilities. There is potential, though I would’ve liked it if the Browns used this pick on a more sure-fire back-up on the offensive line.

Grade: C+

Round: 7 Pick: 223 / Isaiah Thomas, DE, Oklahoma

As a highly touted recruit coming out of high school, Thomas is similar to his Oklahoma teammate Perrion Winfrey insofar as he brings strength and power to the line, though not a lot of versatility. He’s got strong play awareness and is able to adjust his rush based on how a quarterback moves in the pocket. As of right now, it will be interesting to see where he fits in with the Browns schematically. He’s not quite strong enough to play 3-4, but also doesn’t have the pass rush abilities you’d want for a 4-3. My guess is he puts on some muscle, though Browns DC Joe Woods likes the 4-3 so Thomas’ fit remains uncertain.

Grade: A

Round: 7 Pick: 246 / Dawson Deaton, C, Texas Tech

Rounding out this class for the Browns is the C from Texas Tech. While this Browns line has been continuously praised for its proficiency at tackle and guard, there is still room for improvement at center, and Dawson helps fill this need. Lineups’ depth chart feature currently has Browns starter Nick Harris ranked 31st amongst all centers in the NFL. While it’s unlikely Deaton will get the start, he brings a level of balance and athleticism to the position the Browns currently lack. Though he doesn’t change direction well, he has good hands and quick feet. My only real gripe with this pick is that the Browns didn’t take a center sooner if they were going to take one at all.

Grade: B-

As a central Ohio native and lifelong Cleveland sports fan, Patrick Monnin has lived the emotional rollercoaster every sports fan knows all too well. Whether it be the Browns or the Buckeyes, he loves watching football and going on nice long runs in the afternoon. In the local Chicago area, where he now lives, he can often be found making the case for LeBron James as the greatest basketball player ever.

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