The Cleveland Browns are having a pretty rough offseason. They just landed Deshaun Watson, a legitimately good quarterback, although controversies still haunt him. The Browns could add to the waves they made in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, where they will have a total of seven picks (at the time of this writing) to use to bolster a roster that hasn’t reached the lofty goals Cleveland had in 2021. That said, here are three bold 2022 NFL Draft predictions for the Browns.
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Browns predictions for the 2022 NFL Draft
3. Cleveland gets Myles Garrett Pass Rush assist in second round
At pick No. 44, the Browns certainly won’t see the names of Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux, George Karlaftis and Travon Walker available once Cleveland gets their turn much later in the second round. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t find a gem in round two, where they can use a pick to get help from Myles Garrett on the defensive front.
The Browns have arguably the best passing thrower in the game today in the form of Garrett, who is coming off a monster 2021 season. But even with Garrett prowling opposing quarterbacks and using his nearly unfair combination of speed, power, and size to his advantage, the Browns still finished on the outside in both total sack count and sack rate; the Browns were tied with the Buffalo Bills with 38 sacks and were 11th with a 6.95 defensive sack percentage. And that’s even with Jadeveon Clowney on the team.
Speaking of Clowney, he remains a free agent after kicking off his career with the Browns in 2021, just half a sack away from matching his 9.5 career total sacks, which he had when he was still. with the Houston Texans. Another defensive end who is still a free agent after recording 2.5 sacks with the Browns in 2021 is Takk McKinley. injuries, which is also less than a year away from turning 30.
Guys like Arnold Ebiketie, Kingsley Enagbare and Drake Jackson could still be available in the second round, so the Browns could have their eyes on them.
2. The Browns select a quarterback
The Browns just bet the farm on Deshaun Watson, so why would they take a quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft? Surely the keys to Cleveland’s offense are now in Watson’s hands. Plus, the Browns still have Baker Mayfield. In addition to those, the Browns also signed veteran Jacoby Brissett to a one-year deal this offseason. But in many ways, the moves made by NFL teams come out of nowhere and don’t make much sense, especially if that team is Cleveland. With Watson, even with the huge investment the Browns have spent to get him out of Houston, they must have more than a hint of fear that the quarterback’s off-field issues will end up ruining his time in Cleveland. All things considered, the Browns took a risk on Watson, a move that alienated Mayfield, who may not even be in a Browns uniform in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season. It’s probably not a waste for the Browns to use a pick in the later rounds to select a quarterback, just to kick the tires on a player’s potential. Skylar Thompson, Jack Coan, Brock Purdy and D’Eriq King were big college names the Browns could add to their main roster ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.
1. Cleveland trades Baker Mayfield to Seahawks and gets a first-round pick again
Watson’s arrival in Cleveland marked the end of the Mayfield “era” for the Browns, who had their ups and downs with the former Oklahoma Sooners star. To get Watson from the Texans, the Browns had to cough up a bunch of future picks, including a 2022 first-rounder (13th overall), leaving Cleveland out of sight on day one of the 2022 NFL Draft. But the Browns are still buying Mayfield, possibly also in pursuit of a first-round pick.
The Seattle Seahawks are the team most tied to a Mayfield trade and that remains true even after signing Geno Smith to a $7 million deal. The Seahawks shipped Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos and now own Denver’s ninth overall pick in the upcoming draft. Part of returning for Seattle from this trade is Drew Lock, who isn’t exactly a quarterback that would excite a fan base. Mayfield could be a polarizing prospect for the Seahawks, but at least he has more experience with still a ceiling to explore – and unlock in a new environment.