Updated: Apr 29
The Cleveland Browns went night 1 in the NFL draft without a single pick. For years it seemed like the NFL draft was the Super Bowl for us Browns fans. It was the one night that gave us hope that we would finally turn around the franchise and lead us to the playoffs and even the Lombardi trophy.
Last night was an odd mix of emotions. For the first time in a very long time the Browns didn't have a first round pick. We didn't need one. We traded our next three to the Texans for opportunity to have a truly elite quarterback in DeShaun Watson under center for the next 5 years. The Browns have a top 5 offensive line and the best tandem of running backs in the NFL with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. We traded...sorry, absolutely fleeced the Dallas Cowboys by trading for wide receiver Amari Cooper for a 5th round pick and he will be our anchor as WR1. They have two lockdown cornerbacks with Denzel Ward and last years first round pick Greg Newsome. Two safeties who look to dominate this year in John Johnson III and Grant Delpit who looked stronger every game, and let's not forget the best defensive end the league in Myles Garrett, who honestly plays like a cheat code from a video game.
Even with all this talent there are still holes that need to be filled and tonight we have 3 picks in rounds two and three (picks 44, 78, and 99) to start filling out some of the positions that could use an upgrade or some depth. Andrew Berry has been stellar in finding maximum value in later rounds and tonight will be very interesting to see who will be putting on the brown and orange uniforms for the first time this year.
First off it's fairly obvious that the Browns need a WR to pair along with Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. While in day one of the draft there where a record number of both picks and trades for wideouts, that doesn't mean there isn't value to be had in both rounds two and three. Georgia wideout George Pickens, Western Michigan's Skyy Moore, North Dakota State's Christian Watson, Alabama's John Metchie III, Cincinnati's Alec Pierce, and Purdue's David Bell are all still on the board while I personally would prefer Pickens, Moore, or Watson, any of these receivers could help out the Browns in an area where we need more talent and competition between players.
Another area of need for our Browns is along the defensive front. USC has Drake Jackson still on the board. Houston's Logan Hall is a mountain of a man, along with UCONN's Travis Jones. Texas A&M's DeMarvin Leal maybe? Two of the best edge rushers in the Big Ten from a year ago are still on the board in Penn State's Arnold Ebiketie and Michigan's David Ojabo who tore his Achilles at his pro day, but was projected to be a top 15 pick. Maybe that is a route Andrew Berry takes. Taking Ojabo at 44 and letting him heal for a year. Then starting him in 2023. It's a first round player in the 2nd or 3rd round depending on how far he will fall. Point is any player here can help that defensive front become more dominant.
Does Berry take a position that maybe the Browns don't necessarily need, but the player is the best player available? Georgia's Nakobe Dean who was the anchor of the Bulldog's historic defense last year has fallen into the second round. Andrew Booth Jr, the cornerback out of Clemson is still on the board as well. Maybe someone who we just are not seeing is who the Browns value most.
The Browns also have the opportunity to trade. They can trade up to grab anyone of these players or maybe even trade down and try to acquire more draft capital and take more players who they might find value with in later rounds.
They maybe have something up their sleeves and are willing to package some picks together to go out and trade for a current player on another teams roster. With both AJ Brown from the Titans and Marquis Brown formerly of the Ravens being traded from their teams in the first round for picks maybe the Browns have the same idea. Deebo Samuel or Terry McLaurin anyone? maybe wishful thinking, but certainly not out of the realm of possibilities with this year draft being as crazy as it was on day 1.
That brings us to the million dollar question, or 18 million in this case, can the Browns move Baker Mayfield tonight? There are only a few teams who could use a starting QB. Only one quarterback was taken in all of round 1 and that was Kenny Pickett out of Pitt taken at number 20 by the Steelers. That leaves 4 solid prospects still on the board with Liberty's Malik Willis leading the charge. The Browns will have to eat some of Mayfield's 18 million dollar contract, but can they even get any value for him? They need to move on, and it has been reported the draft is where they hoped to do just that.
Tonight on night 2 of the 2022 NFL draft, us Browns fans will all be playing armchair GM dissecting every pick and move Andrew Berry makes. Yet the excitement of knowing our team will improve and seeing the newest members of the Browns is something we still all wait for every year.