Cleveland Browns 2022 NFL Draft Recap

Cleveland Browns 2022 NFL Draft Recap

by May 4, 2022 0 comments

After trading their first- and fourth-round selections to the Houston Texans as part of the package for Deshaun Watson, the Cleveland Browns entered the 2022 NFL Draft with seven total selections. The team was slated to make their first pick of the draft at No. 44 overall (second round) but opted to trade back. They swapped the pick in another move with the Texans, collecting a third-round selection (68th overall) and a pair of fourth-round selections (108th and 124th). General manager Andrew Berry didn’t stop there, later trading out of the 118th overall selection (fourth round) to the Minnesota Vikings. In exchange, Cleveland netted a fifth-round pick (156th overall) and a 2023 fourth-round pick. He also sent veteran cornerback Troy Hill to the Los Angeles Rams for a 2023 fifth-round selection.

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft Recaps.

Best Pick: Cade York (Round 4, Pick 124)

Cleveland has been looking for a kicker since they sent Phil Dawson packing in 2013. They have also tried to address the position through the draft before, most recently taking Austin Seibert in the fifth round in 2019. Still, coming off of a season that saw the team’s kickers combine for 72-percent on field goal attempts, snagging York feels like a win. The best kicker in the draft, he was efficient from all areas of the field throughout his career at LSU. He was especially dialed in from 50 yards and beyond. More importantly for the Browns, York now provides them a reliable leg from the 40-49-yard range. Solid from 50 yards as well, surprisingly the 40-yard range was where Cleveland’s kickers surprisingly struggled most last year.

Grade: A

Worst Pick: Jerome Ford (Round 5, Pick 156)

The issue with the Browns selecting Ford, a 1,000-yard rusher, in the fourth round isn’t so much with his talent, but the fact that Cleveland is already crowded at the position. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are still the locks as the starting tandem. Backups D’Ernest Johnson and Demetric Felton already fill out the room.

Selecting Ford feels like a move for the future, should the team look for flexibility away from Johnson or even Hunt. Still, with the control of that situation still in their corner, addressing the linebacker position for 2023 and onward with Damone Clark or even creating competition at punter with Matt Araiza would have been better uses of the selection.

Grade: D

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

Sleeper Pick: Perrion Winfrey (Round 4, Pick 108)

Atop the list of needs for the Browns this offseason were wide receivers and edge rushers. Cleveland did address both in the draft. The selection of Winfrey in the fourth round out of Oklahoma, however, may just be their best pick of the 2022 class.

An agile yet powerful defender up the middle, Winfrey had seen pre-draft grades from the second to the fourth round. In the four-front scheme like Cleveland operates, Winfrey’s slow snap demerit from Lance Zierlein could be a plus. A high-motor player, his delay won’t have him too far upfield when Myles Garrett comes around the edge. With uncertainty along the line outside of Garrett, grabbing a solution like Winfrey in the fourth round feels like an early steal.

Grade: B+

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

Summary

With receivers George Pickens and Skyy Moore still available, not to mention a bevy of skilled defenders on the board, trading out of the second round was a questionable move at the time. The selection of Martin Emerson out of Mississippi State with their first pick of the draft was odd too. Still, it was understandable given the position’s injury history. Moving Baker Mayfield would have earned them bonus points, and the selection of Ford remains a head-scratcher.

Without a layup in the first round to bolster their grade, Berry and Kevin Stefanski get a C+ for the draft. They hit the positions of need, though depth at linebacker and safety are still concerns. Sure, “C’s get degrees”. Combined with their strong free agency moves, was it enough for a championship run?

Grade: C+


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