For not drafting in the first two rounds, the Cleveland Browns didn’t do too bad at the 2022 NFL Draft.
Andrew Berry and co. were able to find good depth at key positions, especially after trading their second-round pick at 44 away for three additional picks later in the draft.
PFF graded the Browns’ draft selection at a “B”, with many other groups agreeing the team spent their picks wisely.
But while there is optimism for this year’s draft class, the Browns may have made some surprise picks.
Whether the Browns seem to overvalue a player or made a selection at a position the team already has depth at, there are a few picks that not every Browns fan agreed with.
Here are 2 surprise picks made by the Browns in the 2022 Draft.
1. CB Martin Emerson Jr., Mississippi State
As much as the Browns using their first pick of the draft at #68 on cornerback isn’t what most would have guessed, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The cornerback position is highly valued by the Browns and a position where they believe that can never have too much talent.
And this makes more sense when considering Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski are both former defensive backs themselves.
But, all the same, it seems like they could have waited to find cornerback depth later in the draft.
Especially considering the depth the team already has, with starters Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome, and the team’s reliable backups in A.J. Green and Greedy Williams.
Looking at Martin Emerson Jr. himself, however, he has a lot of upside.
New #Browns CB, Martin Emerson Jr, in 2021:
🔸57.1 Cmp% Allowed
🔸78.8 Coverage Grade
Lockdown on the Lake. 🔐
(🎥 via @MartyMargg1) #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/kP4uubohyJ
— The Hottest Take (@Hottest_TakePod) April 30, 2022
He’s big, physical and sturdy enough to play up against bigger wide receivers and tight ends.
He also has experience playing safety, which could give the defense more flexibility in moving players around downfield.
But he also has a lot to work on.
He’s slow, lacks agility and has a hard time containing fast wide receivers.
It’s these kinds of limitations that will prevent him from having an immediate impact and why the Browns may have been smart to look elsewhere in the draft.
There are reports the Browns were originally eyeing Alamaba wideout, John Metchie, with pick #44, who possesses the kind of explosiveness many Browns fans would have liked on the team.
Instead, the Browns added Martin Emerson Jr.
Emerson wasn’t drafted to compete for a starting position or even an important role.
But, with the right development, he could make an important impact on the Browns in the coming years.
2. K Cade York, LSU
There has been a chorus of fans this season calling for the Browns to draft a kicker.
To their delight, the Browns selected LSU’s Cade York at pick 124 in the fourth round.
This makes York the highest selected kicker since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 draft.
Browns made LSU’s Cade York the highest drafted kicker since 2016:https://t.co/q3k0q1KXrl
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 30, 2022
It’s nice to see the Browns are trying to solve their woes at the kicker position, but selecting a kicker with a higher draft pick doesn’t guarantee all their problems will be fixed.
Kickers rarely work out in the NFL long-term, even if they did well enough in college to be selected in the draft.
Out of the 47 kickers who have been drafted since the NFL adjusted to seven rounds in 1994, only 19 spent at least three years with the team that originally drafted them.
It also must be remembered that the Browns have already tried spending a pick on a kicker twice in the last 5 years.
The team drafted Zane Gonzalez from Arizona State in the seventh round in 2017 and Austin Seibert from Oklahoma in the fifth round in 2019.
Both kickers were off the team within three years of being drafted.
York does come into the league highly touted and with better grading than most kickers have received since 1994.
🚨CADE YORK IS A CLEVELAND BROWN🚨
91.4 field goal/extra point grade in 2021 (🥈 among all FBS kickers) pic.twitter.com/tcRKLHxq5j
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) April 30, 2022
But even so, considering how often kickers don’t work, it seems risky having spent a fourth-round pick on York.
The Browns would have made less of a risk had they taken the usual, much less exciting route– inviting kickers off the street to compete for a job and hoping one of them sticks as a long-term solution.
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