Cleveland Browns NFL Draft Grades 2022: Browns bolster secondary with Martin Emerson

What are the Cleveland Browns' grades for their selections in the 2022 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

The 2022 NFL Draft has officially kicked off, and the Cleveland Browns have made their first selection. As the seven rounds progress and the team makes all of their picks, we will provide a live draft grade and analysis for each of the Browns’ selections. How do these new prospects fit with the roster, what kind of impact will they have on the team, and what do the team’s needs look like now that the draft is complete?

Make sure to continue to check back as the 2022 NFL Draft continues for live Cleveland Browns draft grades and analysis.

Cleveland Browns grades for 2022 NFL Draft

What are the Browns’ grades for their selections in the 2022 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

Round 3, Pick 68: Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State

Finally, the Cleveland Browns have made their first selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. They traded back from the middle of the second round, moving back in the Day 2 range. Now, at 68th overall, the Browns have selected Martin Emerson, cornerback out of Mississippi State.

From a pure player perspective, Emerson is very much worth this pick. He has overwhelming size with a 6’1 5/8”, 201-pound frame, and 33 1/2” arms. He’s also no slouch as an athlete, with decent explosiveness and enough speed to carry receivers upfield. The question comes from where Emerson fits. Denzel Ward was extended earlier this year. Greg Newsome is a rising star, and Troy Hill can play the slot. Emerson has the length and intelligence to move to safety but the uncertain fit knocks down the grade a bit.

Grade: B-

Round 3, Pick 78: Alex Wright, EDGE, UAB

There are certain teams that have strict age and size thresholds. The Browns are one of those teams, and they’re following those thresholds with this pick. At 78th overall, the Browns have selected UAB edge rusher Alex Wright. Wright will be a surprising name for some, but he’s very much worth this pick. He has one of the more underrated skill sets in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Unfortunately, Wright wasn’t able to test in athletic drills after suffering a minor injury during the bench press at the NFL Combine. Nevertheless, his athleticism is easily visible on tape. Wright has great size and length at 6’5”, 271 pounds, with 34” arms. But he also has good burst off the line, along with spry lateral agility and reliable ankle flexion. For his size, Wright can bend and accelerate around the edge, and he has good power capacity. He’s young with all the tools, and his ceiling makes this pick easy to like.

Grade: A

Round 3, Pick 99: David Bell, WR, Purdue

With a large amount of uncertainty behind Amari Cooper at wide receiver, the Browns came into the 2022 NFL Draft needing a boost at wide receiver. Just inside the top 100, they’re banking on Purdue WR David Bell to give them that.

Bell’s athletic testing was uninspiring, and his tape isn’t always as consistent as you’d like it to be. While he’s an average athlete, Bell does have good nuance as a route runner. Furthermore, his catching instincts are superb, and he consistently tracks and contorts for passes in midair. His style of separation may not be translatable against NFL defensive backs, which generates pause. But he should have a stable role in the rotation.

Grade: B-

Round 4, Pick 108: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma

I absolutely love this pick for the Cleveland Browns. After an exceptional pre-draft process, there was an expectation that Perrion Winfrey might sneak into the back end of the first round. With some reported maturity issues possibly impacting his stock, he slips down to the fourth round where the Browns get phenomenal value. Winfrey is explosive, powerful, and has some positional versatility. He can knock offensive linemen back with a devastating initial punch. He’s only going to get better as he develops.

Grade: A

Round 4, Pick 124: Cade York, K, LSU

There’d been an expectation that we’d see a special-teams standout taken earlier than normal in the 2022 NFL Draft. However, few would have expected it to be LSU kicker Cade York. That shouldn’t disappoint Cleveland Browns fans. York is as clutch as they come, routinely nailing game-winning field goals with limited time on the clock. He has an exceptional leg and boasts accuracy for a team that only hit 72.7% of their field goals in the 2021 season.

Grade: A+

Round 5, Pick 156: Jerome Ford, RB, Cincinnati

One of the highest-ranked running backs on my personal Top 300 Big Board, Cincinnati’s Jerome Ford falls a little below where I would have expected him. A genuine speed threat with equally impressive lateral agility, he boasts quick feet and fluid hips. He can cut with no discernible drop-off in speed, with all the aforementioned traits making him a home-run-hitting playmaker.

Ford also showcases contact balance and the intelligence to play the game with a degree of patience. While he can be aggressive as a rusher, a lack of physicality as a blocker may have dented his stock. He enters a stacked running back room with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, which could impact his early impact on the league.

Grade: B

Round 6, Pick 202: Michael Woods II, WR, Oklahoma

Having added a big-bodied, physical pass catcher earlier in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns add an underrated wide receiver in Oklahoma’s Michael Woods II. He’s a sure-handed pass catcher who runs nice routes and is impressive at causing defensive confusion.

Like Bell, he’s a physical threat who can mix it up with even the most physical cornerbacks. While he’s not particularly fast in a straight line, he’s been able to impose himself as a deep threat. It’s another dangerous weapon for whoever starts the season under center in Cleveland.

Grade: B+

Round 7, Pick 223: Isaiah Thomas, EDGE, Oklahoma

The Browns could’ve stopped with Alex Wright and added enough talent at EDGE to call this draft a win. Wright is a stellar physical specimen with high-end upside. But the Browns compounded their momentum and stacked edge rushers by selecting Isaiah Thomas at the top of Round 7.

At 6’5”, 266 pounds, Thomas has the size the Browns covet on the edge. Meanwhile, he’s also an underrated athlete, with good straight-line burst and pursuit speed. Thomas is a high-motor guy with exciting tools. It’s a win getting him this late. Although he’s not the most flexible pass rusher, he provides great depth and has some rotational appeal.

Grade: A

Round 7, Pick 246: Dawson Deaton, C, Texas Tech

A tall, slender center, Dawson Deaton has many alluring qualities as an offensive line prospect in this class. He’s an excellent athlete who combines the ability to move quickly into position with impressive technical ability with his hands. He can mirror even the most elusive of pass rushers while providing some upside in the run game. Deaton can provide a good backup option at the pivot for the Cleveland Browns behind Nick Harris and Ethan Pocic.

Grade: B

What were the Browns’ biggest needs entering the draft?

  • DT, EDGE, WR, S, LB

The Browns have seen a huge shakeup this offseason with the arrival of Deshaun Watson and Amari Cooper. They still need another receiver to complement Cooper, but having him on the roster at least reduces the urgency.

The majority of their needs are on defense. The Browns have been making do on the defensive line alongside Myles Garrett in recent years. Now, they need to get him some partners he can work with as a unit over the next couple of years.

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