Cleveland Browns Pre Free Agency 2022 Seven Round Mock Draft

Cleveland Browns Pre Free Agency 2022 Seven Round Mock Draft

by March 9, 2022 0 comments

The Cleveland Browns are at a crossroads. With Baker Mayfield’s contract uncertainty, they have to get the roster prepared to move forward with a market veteran to contend in 2023 if he isn’t their guy. Tough decisions will be made this offseason. Expensive pieces like Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper could become cap casualties. Still, the team needs to reload with a young crop of rookie contracts. They have nine picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. Under the Rooney Rule, the Browns have an extra third-round selection this year and next year for developing Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. He is now the general manager of the Minnesota Vikings. With the organization verbally committed to Mayfield, they’ll look to restock the cupboards for him, starting immediately in the first round.

To help with this mock draft, I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator.

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Team Mock Drafts.

Round 1, Pick 13: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Wilson has already caught balls from Mayfield in workouts before, so taking him here was a no-brainer. An Ohioan by birth, Wilson attended the same high school as Mayfield in Austin, Texas, just years apart. Wilson returned back to Ohio to be a Buckeye, where progressed each season. Physically, he is a similar profile to former Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and his 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the combine is a fraction of a second slower. A former position of strength for the team, Cleveland could quickly find itself with a severe lack of talent at receiver. Wilson addresses the issue, adding a “boom or bust” talent too, likely pairing with Donovan Peoples-Jones at the top two receivers immediately if Landry is gone.

For more on Wilson, check out our scouting report on him.

Round 2, Pick 44: Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State

Coming off of a playoff appearance in the 2020 season, the Browns made a number of one-year additions to maintain salary flexibility while making a title run. Things didn’t go as expected, which is an understatement. Still, the organization did get to see just how disruptive Myles Garrett can be with better talent on the front line with him. Playing opposite Jadeveon Clowney, Garrett set a new franchise mark for sacks in a season. Clowney possibly revitalized his career at the same time. He has expressed a desire to return if the sides can agree on compensation. For his part, Garrett also wants Clowney back, but that won’t be enough. A former first-overall pick himself, Clowney is in this position because he struggled to stay healthy at his previous stops.

Grabbing Ebiketie in the second round provides injury insurance for both Clowney and Garrett. The Penn State product is also just an immensely talented prospect in his own right. Slightly smaller than his counterparts, Ebiketie at 6’2”, 250 lbs, made the leap in 2021 from Temple to competing in the Big 10 with the Nittany Lions. He excelled at Penn State, totaling 9.5 sacks last season, along with 62 total tackles, 18 of which were for lost yardage. Whether Clowney returns or not, the Browns would be right to make this pick here.

For more on Ebiketie, check out our scouting report on him.

Round 3, Pick 78: Phidarian Mathis, DL, Alabama

When the Browns made their playoff push in 2020, the team had Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi clogging up the middle. Last season pressure came from the outside, but the interior of the line with Malik McDowell and Malik Jackson was lackluster. In the AFC North, running backs Najee Harris, Joe Mixon, and J.K. Dobbins are as important to defend against as Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson. Cleveland may have regretted letting Richardson and Ogunjobi both walk, but they can partially correct it by drafting Mathis.

Playing at Alabama, Mathis was exceptional. He totaled nine sacks and 12 tackles for loss from the center of the line. A consistent workhorse, adding him to the interior between Garrett and another premium outside rusher in Clowney and/or Ebiketie is nasty. Mathis’ 6’4”, 310 lbs profile will take up a lot of space against the run. He can help anchor the front for years to come.

Round 3, Pick 98: Quay Walker, LB, Georgia

It took Cleveland a while, but they’ve slowly started to develop a winning culture. The team has come a long way from requiring Landry’s impassioned speech on HBO’s Hard Knocks in 2018. Since that time, the organization has made a concerted effort to add winners, whether individually or as parts of winning teams. Walker played in the center of the best defense in college football last season on a squad that utterly handled Alabama in the National Championship.

Cleveland will likely play this season without the services of Anthony Walker and/or Malcolm Smith at linebacker. Signs also point to the team moving on from Mack Wilson, who had an uptick last season after a disappointing 2020 season. Walker wouldn’t look to start right away. He’d still likely be behind Jacob Phillips, Jeremiah Owusu–Koramoah, and Sione TakiTaki in the pecking order. Walker started all 15 games for the Bulldogs and had six quarterback hits on seven total tackles in the title game against Alabama.

For more on Walker, check out our scouting report on him.

Round 4, Pick 105: Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State

Built as a run-centric scheme, head coach Kevin Stefanski’s offense also needs tight ends who are strong blockers. That’s why, in his first season with the team, Cleveland added Hooper in free agency and Harrison Bryant in the draft to team with David Njoku at the position. Three tight end sets aren’t uncommon in the playbook. Hooper could be released to clear salary cap room, which would leave the team down a tight end.

Ruckert, at 6’5”, 250 lbs, is an ideal candidate to fill that role. Finding him in the fourth round of the draft was shocking. A second-round talent, the Browns would add a tight end that plays both roles of the position extremely well. The team franchise-tagged Njoku as they work on a new deal too, so drafting Ruckert wouldn’t frustrate him in the way the Bryant pick did. Ruckert didn’t see a lot of passes his way at Ohio State, but when targeted, he caught the ball. That’s the kind of reliability Mayfield and the Browns need to make a push. Ruckert could be a key contributor right away.

For more on Ruckert, check out our scouting report on him.

Round 4, Pick 116: Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State

Factoring the loss of Beckham last season and the anticipated loss of Landry and Rashard Higgins before the season starts, Cleveland needs receivers. Wilson, Peoples-Jones, and Anthony Schwartz are a decent start. However, adding Shakir in this deep wide receiver class is a great find. The physical attributes weren’t a problem for the 4.43-second 40-yard dash runner. He caught 77 passes in 12 games last year for 1,117 yards and seven touchdowns. In Stefanski’s first year coaching the Browns, he liked to use the wide receiver passing option. Shakir completed four passes on five attempts in his career at Boise State, throwing one touchdown and one interception. An extremely versatile player, he fits exactly what the Browns need.

Round 5, Pick 154: Eyioma Uwazurike, DL, Iowa State

Cleveland has the potential to remake the defensive line in this draft, or at least give it some serious depth. Uwazurike is another massive tackle inside, measuring at 6’6” and 316 lbs. At Iowa State, he started all four years. He finished his career ranking in the top-10 in program history for tackles for loss and sacks. In 2021, the redshirt senior set up shop in the backfield. He recorded 12 tackles for loss and nine sacks, a number of which were deep behind the line. That kind of push is what Cleveland needs in the middle. Uwazurike’s favorable grades make him a value pick here that fits a need.

Round 6, Pick 191: Mike Rose, LB, Iowa State

Rose was the top linebacker last season thanks to his athleticism and skill at the position. From Northeast Ohio in Brecksville, Rose is a hard-nosed player who zeros in. However, his high motor can work against him at times. Like size and speed, desire is something a player has or they don’t. If they have it, they can generally be coached on the sports aspect. Rose could fill the void left by Wilson as a special teams contributor and in rotation at the position as an upside in his first year or two.

Round 7, Pick 220: Esezi Otomewo, EDGE, Minnesota

The Browns are past the days of needing to hope their seventh-round selections last. Like Rose in the sixth round, however, Otomewo just might. At 6’5” and 282 lbs, he is a massive body coming around the edge. A starter throughout his senior year is yet developing as a prospect with upside due to his physique and attitude. With the line that Cleveland already has and can begin the season with, Otomewo practicing with the likes of Garrett could pay dividends in the coming seasons. His size immediately would contribute for field goal defense duties as well.

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