The 2022 NFL Draft takes place from Las Vegas this weekend, and for the first time since 2019, the Browns do not have a first-round selection after giving away their No. 13 selection in the Deshaun Watson trade. Their first pick will take place at No. 44 overall in the second round.
Here are five options for the Browns at No. 44, in no particular order.
Nik Bonitto- EDGE- Oklahoma
As I wrote last week in my full mock draft, Bonitto, at only 6’3, is an undersized EDGE defender, but he can rush the passer. At 240, NFL Network says his comp is Vic Beasley, somebody who can either play as a 3-4 outside linebacker or as a 4-3 defensive end and uses his athleticism to get to the quarterback. There is concern of his ability to be a three-down pass rusher at his weight, but the Browns won’t need him to do that immediately. The Browns are mostly looking for VALUE with the limited draft supply they have, and Bonitto will provide value as a third down pass rusher in key situations, bolstering the teams’ defensive front.
Jahan Dotson- WR- Penn State
At 5’11, 178, Dotson is a speedster and could be the answer the team is looking for as a slot wide receiver, considering last year’s third-round selection Anthony Schwartz is still developing as an NFL player, catching only 10 passes in his rookie campaign. According to NFL Network, Dotson earned third-team Associated Press All-American and second-team All-Big Ten accolades last season while leading the Nittany Lions with 91 receptions and 1,182 yards. He also has experience in the return game.
Leo Chenal- LB- Wisconsin
Outside of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, the Browns linebacking core still needs work. Chenel was named the Wisconsin High School Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year his senior year in high school. He helped anchor the Badgers’ No. 1 ranked defense in the country last season. In 11 starts, he had 115 total tackles and led the nation with 18.5 tackles for loss, earning him the Big 10 Linebacker of the Year. According to Pro Football Focus, “His 94.1 run-defense grade wasn't too far behind Micah Parsons' (94.8) PFF college record.”
Quay Walker- LB- Georgia
When Walker was recruited to Georgia, he was considered a top-35 prospect. He played all four seasons as a Bulldog, with his play increasing every year. As a freshman, he earned the Georgia Special Teams Newcomer of the Year award. He started all 15 games for the 2021 national champions, recording 67 tackles, 5.5 for loss with 1.5 sacks and three pass breakups. Much like Chenal, he would bring another playmaker to the linebacking room.
Kyle Gordon- CB- Washington
Gordon’s teammate Trent McDuffie is projected to be a Top 10 pick in this year’s draft but don’t forget about Gordon. He was a top-25 pick nationally out of high school and earned honorable mentions as an All-Pac-12 defensive back his sophomore and junior years despite not playing much, according to NFL Network. In his senior year, he had 46 tackles, including two for loss, two interceptions and a team-high seven pass breakups. He can play press and gets aggressive with the receivers he defends, sometimes too much. Even with the team locking up Denzel Ward and drafting Greg Newsome in the first-round last year, 2019 second-round pick Greedy Williams is in the last year of his rookie deal and may not be brought back due to his lack of playing time since he’s had to deal with so many injuries. With the wide receiver talent in today’s NFL, you can never have enough help in the secondary, and with the lack of receivers being projected in the second-round outside of Dotson, the Browns may invest in one more defensive back with good upside in Gordon.