After making noise in the NFL Playoffs two seasons ago, the Cleveland Browns went through a injury-marred 8-9 season last year. Having a losing season after such a promising season in 2020 continued a disturbing trend for the Browns franchise. The last time that Cleveland garnered two winning seasons in a row was way back in 1988 and 1989.
This type of desperation led to the Browns organization going all-in for this season. First, Cleveland traded for wide receiver Amari Cooper in March. Then, the Browns pulled off the biggest trade of the off-season when they traded away their first round picks for 2022-2024 along with this year's third round pick and fourth round pick for QB Deshaun Watson. Watson did not play last season due to an ongoing investigation. Nobody knows how long his impending suspension will be for the upcoming season.
Despite of the fact that the Browns made so many power moves in March, Cleveland still had nine picks in this year's NFL Draft. Here is a look at who the Browns drafted.
Round 3, Pick 4: Martin Emerson - CB - Mississippi State (6'2", 201 lbs, 50 tackles, three tackles for loss, three pass break-ups).
Emerson is the type of tall corner that is needed on every roster in the NFL. He should see some time in the defensive backfield rotation.
Round 3, Pick 14: Alex Wright - DE - UAB (6'5", 271 lbs, 7.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks).
Wright could compete for the defensive end starting spot opposite Myles Garrett since the Browns are not re-signing Jadeveon Clowney. The Browns need pass-rushing help because Garrett was the only one to have more than 10 sacks last season.
Round 3, Pick 35: David Bell - WR - Purdue (6'1", 212 lbs, 93 receptions, 1,286 rec yards, 6 TD).
Drafting a wide receiver was absolutely mandatory after the Browns did not decide to re-sign Jarvis Landry. Bell dropped in the draft because he ran a 4.65 40 at the combine. Nevertheless, he makes plays all over the field from the outside or in the slot. He will see plenty of time on the field.
Round 4, Pick 3: Perrion Winfrey - DT - Oklahoma (6'4", 290 lbs, 11 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks).
Winfrey should see some time in the defensive tackle rotation.
Round 4, Pick 19: Cade York - K - LSU (6'1", 206 lbs, 15/18 on field goals, 39/39 on extra points).
York is an accurate kicker that will compete to become the starting placekicker.
Round 5, Pick 13: Jerome Ford - RB - Cincinnati (5'10 1/2", 210 lbs, 1,319 rushing yds, 19 TD, 220 rec yards, 1 TD).
The Browns are loaded at running back with Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and D'Ernest Johnson, so it's an uphill climb for Ford to make the team. Hopefully, Ford can play well in the preseason so that another team can pick him up.
Round 6, Pick 24: Mike Woods - WR - Oklahoma (6'1", 204 lbs, 381 rec yards, 2 TD).
Woods could also see some time at wide receiver because the Browns need wide receivers.
Round 7, Pick 2: Isaiah Thomas - DE - Oklahoma (6'5", 266 lbs, 11.5 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 4 pass-breakups, 3 forced fumbles).
The Browns must be Sooners fans because they drafted three players from Oklahoma. He should see time on the field if he stays out of trouble off of the field.
Round 7, Pick 25: Dawson Deaton - C - Texas Tech (6'5 1/2", 306 lbs).
Deaton started at center for the past three seasons for the Red Raiders. He will contend for the back-up center position.
For not having any first round or second round picks, the Browns selected well. These picks will help build up the overall depth of the team. However, the grade for this draft is incomplete because we do not know how long Watson will be suspended by the NFL.