By Rory Daniels

The NFL Draft is over, and we cannot head into the three-month abyss that is the offseason without looking at what all 262 selections mean for each franchise. Whilst too early to judge just how successful a draft class each team’s was, we can look at how rookies fit within schemes, where they stand on depth charts, and who we can expect to make an impact in 2022. We continue our team by team series with the Cleveland Browns:

Draft Haul

368Martin EmersonCBMississippi State
378Alex WrightEDGEUAB
399David BellWRPurdue
4108Perrion WinfreyIDLOklahoma
4124Cade YorkKLSU
5156Jerome FordRBCincinnati
6202Mike WoodsWROklahoma State
7223Isaiah ThomasEDGEOklahoma
7246Dawson DeatonIOLTexas Tech

Day One

Credit: AP Photo/Ron Schwane

The Cleveland Browns were one of many teams without a pick on day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft. The reason being, they used it to secure their franchise quarterback of the future- Deshaun Watson. The exact cost of the move for the Browns was first-round picks in 2022, 2023, and 2024 along with a 2023 third-rounder and 2022 and 2024 fourth-round selections.

The move is shrouded in legal and moral complications that are too far-reaching to easily include in a simple draft evaluation. From a football perspective alone, it was a costly move to secure one of the most gifted players at the position. It also puts pressure on the Browns personnel department to find cheap rookies to fill out a roster that will be weighed down by the hefty, fully-guaranteed contract Watson commanded.

Day Two

Credit: John Kuntz, Cleveland.com

With that in mind, the Browns needed to make their second day selections count. They gave themselves multiple options by trading down from pick 44 and securing the Houston Texans 68th, 108th and 124th overall selections. It gave them three picks in round 3 and the first one was used on Missisippi State’s Martin Emerson. Cleveland has invested early draft capital in the cornerback spot and Emerson will be good depth behind Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome and the returning Greedy Williams. He’s a long corner, who has mixed it with the best receivers the SEC has had to offer.

The departure of Jadeveon Clowney after his one-year cameo meant the Browns needed a partner in crime for Myles Garrett. Chase Winovich arrived from New England but UAB’s Alex Wright, taken with the 78th pick is perhaps the more intriguing option. At 6’7 and 270lbs, Wright has the length and speed off the edge that allowed him to accrue 11.5 sacks during his college career.

The final pick of day 3 was Purdue receiver David Bell. Production wise Bell was a no-brainer. He twice surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in a season and was a constant problem for Big 10 defenses. His stock took a hit with some uneven athletic testing but he offers a reliable target in a receiving room short on talent.

Day Three

Perrion Winfrey appears to be excellent value for the Browns’ in round 4. No doubt his limited ability in the run game caused concern for many but his pass rushing ability was on full display throughout the pre-draft process. Winfrey was dominant in the Senior Bowl and will battle hard for starting reps.

The Browns were apparently inspired by the performances of divisional rival Evan McPherson over in Cincy and sought their own special teams ace in LSU’s Cade York. The fourth round feels rich but due to their abundance of picks in the mid-rounds, I’ll allow it to slide.

Next up was Jerome Ford, one of the stars of Cincinnati’s dream season. The former Alabama transfer will have an uphill task to make an impact behind the likes of Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson.

“Unable to jump the depth chart for consistent game time at Alabama, Jerome Ford called up his favourite recruiter, Bearcats OC Gino Guidugli, and made his way eight hours North. His arrival in Cincinnati coincided with the greatest era in the football program’s history, and Ford has been a huge part of their success. The perfect blend of size, speed and physicality, Ford feels slightly disrespected as a prospect, maybe like he has been in his collegiate career. But as a key contributor in 2020 and then the lead workhorse in 2021, he has been nothing short of sensational, with more than 2,000 all purpose yards and 28 TD’s in just 23 games. The best part? He hasn’t even tapped into all of his ability yet. If he can improve his blocking and get more opportunities as a pass catcher then there is very little to like about his game. If he falls to day three somebody is getting an absolute steal - Ford is Pro Bowl material.”
Mock Draft
Simon Carroll
Head Of NFL Draft Content

It was then a double-dip in Oklahoma as Cleveland added two of Perrion Winfrey’s teammates. Fellow defensive lineman Isaiah Thomas offers inside/outside versatility, a huge asset for a backup to have. Mike Woods is a receiver whose selection is a bit of a dart throw to see if anything can stick and add depth.

The final pick was Texas Tech’s Dawson Deaton. The center gig has been turned over to Nick Harris this season but with only Ethan Pocic as competition, Deaton will certainly get chances and snaps in pre-season to earn a full-time roster role.

One To Watch: David Bell

David Bell has a real opportunity to be a starter on this team. Of all the rookies taken his path seems the simplest. Amari Cooper will be the clear number one but Donovan Peoples-Jones and Bell should fill the remaining starting berths.

Bell’s athleticism and burst are questionable but it didn’t stop him in college and now he will get the opportunity to catch passes from an elite QB in Deshaun Watson. You can expect him to see time in the slot and on the outside and Cooper should draw most of the attention away from him. Don’t be surprised if he is soon recoding decent numbers in a solid offense.

UDFA Tracker

Isaiah WestonWRNorthern Iowa
Travell HarrisWRWashington State
Mike HarleyWRMiami
Felix HarperQBAlcorn State
Zaire Mitchell-PadenTEFAU
Glen LoganIDLLSU
Julius FaulkCBDelta State
Malik SmithTEFisk
Shaun JollyCBAppalachian State

As with Bell, the wide receiver room is the most likely spot that you will find an undrafted free agent stick for the Browns. They added three in Mike Harley Jr, Junior Faulk and the most highly-rated of the trio Northern Iowa’s Isaiah Weston. At 6’3 and with 4.42 forty-yard time, Weston is an intriguing player. He dominated at FCS level, averaging 23.9 yards per reception and that could translate to the pros.

A personal favourite pick up of mine was App State cornerback Shaun Jolly. His size likely restricts him to the slot role but with Troy Hill returning to LA, Jolly could find his way to the backup role at that position.

Credit: Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


For a draft lacking round 1 or round 2 picks it was quite a haul for the Cleveland Browns. Both Alex Wright and Perion Winfrey can play immediately as part of the rotation along the defensive front. They should ramp up the amount of pass rush juice this team has and alleviate some of the pressure from Myles Garrett.

I don’t see Martin Emerson having an immediate impact but his SEC experience should help if he is needed due to injury. Cade York in the fourth round was early and his success vs that of Bengals’ Evan McPherson will be an intriguing comparison for years.

David Bell and Isaiah Thomas have plenty to prove but I have seen the flashes in both to suggest they can put it all together. The greatest concern remains depth at receiver but the Browns did take plenty of stabs at the spot. If one should somehow provide a solution, this draft will be considered a resounding success given the lack of capital.

Mock Draft

Rory-Joe Daniels

Cfb contributor

formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.c