Another phase of the re-evaluation project that began in November has come to a close.
Andrew Berry and the Cleveland Browns drafted 9 new players yesterday.
Without a pick in the first round, fans’ anticipation centered on the #44 selection, deep in the second.
Our 2022 Draft Class❗️ pic.twitter.com/bVUaLmHCH9
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) May 1, 2022
But Berry pulled a fast one, deciding third-round talent was too consistent to pass up a 3-for-1 deal.
Cleveland finally sent their first card to the commission for the 68th selection, followed by the 78th and 99th.
Of course, we won’t really know for a few years, but here’s our shot at grading the Browns’ 2022 NFL Draft class.
Rd 3 (68) CB Martin Emerson, Miss St.
You could hear the collective, “huh?” from the greater Cleveland area as Berry added to his strongest position group.
And the fact he picked a cornerback with just one interception on 130 college targets didn’t clarify anything.
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) April 30, 2022
As far as the one interception, Emerson still graded as one of the best coverage corners in the draft.
He has a habit of knocking balls away instead of trying for the turnover, something Joe Woods is sure to work on.
Emerson doesn’t play off the ball well, but is solid across the board otherwise and could be in the rotation this season.
Rd. 3 (78) Edge Alex Wright, UAB
Alex Wright is another player drafted because of what Berry’s team believes he can do, not what he did at UAB.
Not that Wright’s UAB career was less than stellar, but the player will tell you he is still refining his game.
Wright is a late-comer to football, putting on the pads for the first time in the middle of high school.
The Cleveland Browns pick UAB Edge Alex Wright at No. 78 overall.
23.8% pass rush win rate in 2021 (2nd highest by C-USA Edge since 2014) 🐉 pic.twitter.com/3X3uTQtB0X
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 30, 2022
Scouts suspect he is still growing into his body and expect more weight and strength in the NFL.
But Wright already has elite length, wingspan, speed, and uncanny movement for a 270-pounder.
Browns’ coaches believe he can be an elite inside rusher and disruptor very soon.
Rd. 3 (99 overall) WR David Bell, Purdue
Let everyone else go gaga about the speedy receivers with the great combine scores.
All David Bell does is catch footballs.
In fact, he was the Big Ten wide receiver of the year in 2021 with a 93/1286/6 receiving line.
David Bell was my pre-draft WR9. He’s fantastic in contested catch situations, has succeeded everywhere he’s ever been, and finds himself thrust into a hybrid slot/Z role that can scheme guys wide open (release/route questions lessened).
Great situation. pic.twitter.com/qDKpBMIAIH
— Christian Williams (@CWilliamsNFL) April 30, 2022
Bell fell down the board because of one thing- his relatively-slow 40-meter dash time.
But he catches everything close to him, out-fighting and positioning himself well against all comers.
He is the ideal possession receiver operating inside or opposite of Amari Cooper.
Rd. 4 (108) DT Perrion Winfrey, OK
Andrew Berry turned social media angst to cheers with his first 4th-round selection.
Winfrey was ranked much higher on many draft boards, with few expecting him to survive the third round.
When Cleveland’s pick was announced, Winfrey was as relieved as anybody to be on the Browns.
PERRION WINFREY. 😤 pic.twitter.com/omex2yOU1J
— 𝕆𝕂𝕃𝔸ℍ𝕆𝕄𝔸-𝕍𝕊-𝕋ℍ𝔼 𝕎𝕆ℝ𝕃𝔻 (@soonergridiron) November 28, 2021
During an animated post-selection interview, Winfrey said his fall will motivate him further.
And he will need some work to control and make the most of his athleticism and speed.
Scouts believe he played out of position at nose tackle, a thought supported by an excellent Senior Bowl showing.
Rd. 4 (124) K Cade York, LSU
Draft traditionalists sounded off on Berry for using a fourth-round pick on a kicker.
But the way kicking has gone around here lately, Cade York quickly became the favorite selection in Cleveland.
York has not missed an extra point since his freshman season at LSU.
Cade York's 57-yarder in the fog to upset Florida was AWESOME.
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) April 30, 2022
And he hits a high percentage of 50+ yard field goals, including a game-winner from 57 yards against Florida.
That wasn’t his career-best, having hit a 59-yarder in a high school all-star game, too.
Drafting kickers is always a risky proposition, and York hasn’t kicked off a ball since high school. But…
Rd. 5 (156) RB Jerome Ford
Nick Saban once landed a helicopter on the 50-yard line of Jerome Ford’s high school field.
Ford committed to Alabama soon after, but he didn’t get a chance to shine behind Najee Harris.
When he transferred to Cincinnati, he waited another year to be a starter.
— Justin Williams (@Williams_Justin) December 21, 2020
And all he did was help lead the Bearcats to a 13-1 record with over 1500 total yards and 20 total touchdowns.
His draft reports sound familiar- solid, low, shifty, fast, balanced- or as his pro comp suggested, like Kareem Hunt.
And with Hunt a free agent after 2022, Ford might find himself playing his role in Cleveland sooner than later.
Rd.6 (202) WR Michael Woods II, OK
Michael Woods showed up at Oklahoma after 3 seasons with Arkansas.
Statistically, he put up better numbers with the Razorbacks before becoming part of Lincoln Riley’s offense.
Nothing positive stands out about his game, with good size, build-up speed, and average hands.
Beautiful play by Spencer Rattler. He escapes pressure & delivers a dart to Michael Woods II for the TD. The Sooners have scored on every offensive possession so far.
KANSAS STATE 10
— Brendan Moore (@bmoorecfb) October 2, 2021
Some scouts noted he lost focus at times which led to drops and he is purely a vertical receiver.
Woods could push Anthony Schwartz if the second-year receiver does not develop as expected.
But special teams might be Woods’ best hope to make the 53-man roster.
Rd. 7 (223) Edge Isaiah Thomas, OK
Andrew Berry said he wasn’t even thinking about it when he picked his third Oklahoma State player.
But there was former Sooner Isaiah Thomas’ name on the Browns card at 223, and he could be another steal.
Thomas decided to return for his senior year and it might have cost him a few rounds in the draft.
Isaiah Thomas gets the sack to force a field goal. Bonitto also in the area for the stop. pic.twitter.com/dD3mAUWe5e
— 𝕆𝕂𝕃𝔸ℍ𝕆𝕄𝔸-𝕍𝕊-𝕋ℍ𝔼 𝕎𝕆ℝ𝕃𝔻 (@soonergridiron) October 2, 2021
As a junior, he racked up 10 sacks and 46 quarterback pressures for Oklahoma.
But a preseason DWI charge got him suspended for the season opener and kicked off an uneven 2021 season.
His Senior Bowl showing didn’t help, but if Thomas can find his junior year self, this is an excellent pick.
Rd. 7 (246) C Dawson Deaton, Texas Tech
Most scouting reports were complimentary of Texas Tech center Dawson Deaton.
But they all said the same thing about the 6’5″ 306-pounder.
For such a big man, he relies too much on his above-average athleticism and form than he does on strength.
— The Rob Breaux Sheaux (@robbreauxshow) August 31, 2019
And he’ll need more strength to succeed against NFL defensive linemen.
Fortunately, most college players are in the same boat and the Browns’ coaching staff is ready to help.
And Deaton could make the center competition more exciting for the Browns.
Overall Grade: B+
Andrew Berry’s trade left him with a third-round start, and all things considered, he made up for the lost time.
Several of the Browns’ 2022 NFL Draft selections should see the field this season.
It could also be the first time one or more of his draftees does not make the final roster.
A quick peek behind the scenes as our draft picks get their new jerseys stitched pic.twitter.com/Z7zt9Smct1
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) April 30, 2022
But if Cade York hits a few game-winners for Cleveland, nobody will care.
Berry turned a B into a B+ by securing 2 additional Day 3 picks for his 2023 NFL Draft.
And Cleveland’s roster-building plan continues as scheduled.