Prospects for Browns to Avoid in 2022 NFL Draft
In March, the Cleveland Browns made a huge move by trading for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. It marks the start of a new era for the franchise, as Watson will take over the starting role from Baker Mayfield, whose future is uncertain.
While Cleveland acquired its new quarterback, it came at a high cost, as it had to send a large package of draft picks in return. That included the Browns' first-round pick (No. 13 overall) in this year's NFL draft. Although Cleveland still has seven selections, it won't be on the clock until No. 44.
Still, the Browns could come out of the draft with an exciting group of prospects. They need to surround Watson with talented players on offense and bolster their defense. And they will have to make the right draft decisions for that to happen.
With that in mind, here are some players Cleveland should avoid in this year's draft.
David Bell, WR, Purdue
The Browns acquired a new No. 1 wide receiver when they landed Amari Cooper in a trade with the Dallas Cowboys. But they are still lacking some depth in the receiving corps, so it wouldn't be surprising to see them use one of their first draft picks on an offensive playmaker.
However, Cleveland shouldn't bring in Purdue's David Bell. Although Bell posted some impressive numbers throughout his three-year career with the Boilermakers (including 1,286 receiving yards in 2021), his draft stock took a hit when he had a disappointing showing at the scouting combine.
As NFL.com's Lance Zierlein pointed out, Bell's "lack of functional explosiveness, speed and change of direction he showed at the...combine simply can't be ignored." It could indicate that Bell may end up being a bust at the next level.
There are a lot of talented receivers in this year's class. The Browns should take a safer option, as they can't afford to miss on a receiver and not have any great alternatives alongside Cooper.
John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
There's a chance that John Metchie III will still be on the board when the Browns are first on the clock. Or they may even consider trading up to land the Alabama wide receiver. But that isn't a move Cleveland should make—and it shouldn't look to take him at any point in the draft period.
Metchie suffered a torn ACL in the SEC Championship Game in December, and it's unclear how that could affect him when he gets back on the field. It's also prevented NFL teams from getting a look at him during the buildup to the draft.
It's possible that Metchie will develop into a strong wide receiver at the next level. But it could also take him some time to get going once he is healthy. And there is a slight risk with drafting him for the same reason.
The Browns should look for a wide receiver safer than Metchie and with less bust potential than Bell. That could be what's best for their offense in both the short and long term.
Logan Hall, DL, Houston
Perhaps the biggest hole on Cleveland's roster at this point is on the defensive line. Although the Browns have one of the best pass-rushers in the league in Myles Garrett, they need to bring in some players who can take some of the pressure off him.
Houston's Logan Hall could be a player Cleveland considers on either Day 2 or Day 3 of the draft (depending on when he's still available), but it may be better off not taking him. It's unclear whether Hall will play defensive end or defensive tackle in the NFL, but he might not be a great fit at either with the Browns.
"Improvement lies ahead for Hall, but he needs a scheme fit and extended runway as a rotational lineman," Zierlein wrote.
That's not what Cleveland needs. It requires players who can slot in next to Garrett soon, and Hall looks like he needs time to develop. So the Browns should look to add numerous other defensive linemen in the draft, ones who are more ready to contribute immediately.