Hot Takes, Predictions for Browns Rookies After 2022 NFL DraftMay 2, 2022
Hot Takes, Predictions for Browns Rookies After 2022 NFL Draft
After trading their first-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft in order to land quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Cleveland Browns had to wait until the No. 68 overall selection in the third round before they were on the clock.
However, the Browns still came out of the draft with nine players, including three who were taken in Round 3. So it's quite possible they will have some rookies who make an impact in 2022, especially considering the depth of this year's class and the talent level of some of the players who were available late.
Cleveland had some holes to fill, and it did that via the draft. Now, these young players will begin trying to carve out roles with their new team.
With this year's rookie class now in place, here are some early hot takes and predictions for the upcoming season.
Martin Emerson Will Start Multiple Games as a Rookie
It was a bit surprising that the Browns went with a cornerback for their first selection. That wasn't one of their biggest positions of need, considering their unit already contained Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome II and Greedy Williams.
Depth is important in the NFL, though, and that's what Martin Emerson will provide for Cleveland at the beginning of his career. The former Mississippi State cornerback will be developed by the Browns, which could reap the benefits in the future.
The 21-year-old played 36 games over his three-year career with the Bulldogs, so he brings plenty of experience to the NFL. He isn't known for forcing turnovers, but he provides solid man-to-man coverage and uses his size and physicality to make things tough on opposing wide receivers.
Expect Emerson to solidify a spot as one of the Browns' top reserves early in the season. And due to a combination of injuries and him playing well, he should get a few starts under his belt in 2022.
Alex Wright Will End Up with at Least 8 Sacks
Let's assume Jadeveon Clowney doesn't return to the Browns for the 2022 season. He's a free agent, so it's not a sure thing that he could be back. And if that's the case, Cleveland doesn't have many returning pass-rushers, other than Myles Garrett.
Enter Alex Wright, who was selected by the Browns with the No. 78 overall pick in the draft. The UAB defensive end is an exciting prospect who uses his speed as an asset on the edge. Given Cleveland's current roster situation, he could have a sizable role for the team in 2022, too.
In 2021, Wright had his best season with the Blazers as a junior, collecting 45 tackles and six sacks in 12 games. He will continue to become a better pass-rusher as he gains NFL experience and picks up some new skills, which could be learned from a veteran like Garrett.
It wouldn't be surprising if Wright starts to take playing time away from Chase Winovich and makes an impact during the upcoming season. So, the prediction here is that Wright will play better as the year progresses and will have a strong second half to finish with eight or more sacks in his rookie campaign.
David Bell Will Emerge as Browns' Clear No. 2 Wide Receiver
Amari Cooper is the Browns' clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver, but he can't catch every pass. He'll likely put up some big numbers. However, Cleveland will need some other playmakers to step up, especially so opposing defenses can't just key in on taking away Cooper.
The Browns should have battles for receiving spots during training camp, which could allow David Bell to land a big role for the 2022 season. The Purdue wide receiver was taken by Cleveland with the No. 99 overall pick, and that may end up being a steal.
Over three seasons with the Boilermakers, he totaled 2,946 yards and 22 touchdowns in 29 games. He may not be the flashiest playmaker, but he's reliable and should excel at both catching and route running early in his NFL career, which could make him a nice fit alongside Cooper.
Considering the Browns need somebody to step up and seize the No. 2 receiving role, Bell is a perfect candidate to do that. He should put up solid numbers and be the clear secondary option to Cooper throughout the upcoming season, even as a rookie.