How the 2022 NFL Draft Changed Cleveland Browns Super Bowl Odds

How the 2022 NFL Draft Changed Cleveland Browns Super Bowl Odds

Ayden Fahlstrom
3 months ago
3 min read
Browns general manager Andrew Berry during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center

No move did more for the Cleveland Browns Super Bowl odds than the Deshaun Watson trade. But with no first-round pick as a result, adding a game-changing prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft would be a long shot.

Cleveland made nine selections in Las Vegas, thanks mainly to another trade with the Houston Texans. However, it left the Browns with no picks in the first two rounds.

Did GM Andrew Berry manage to add prospects that could significantly alter Cleveland’s title odds? Or are we still a ways away from seeing their contributions come to fruition?

Browns Fill a Few Voids on Defense

When Cleveland went on the clock for the 44th pick, a few of its options included Michigan EDGE David Ojabo and Western Michigan WR Skyy Moore. Instead, the Browns decided to trade down 24 spots for the No. 68 pick and two additional fourth-rounders.

Cleveland finally made its first selection in the early-third round, selecting Mississippi State CB Martin Emerson. Cornerback is a position the Browns have addressed early in each of their last three drafts, most recently taking Greg Newsome II in the first round of 2021.

After Emerson, the Browns grabbed EDGE Alex Wright with pick No. 78. The former UAB Dragon was one of the better value picks in the third round. As was Oklahoma DT Perrion Winfrey, a second-round talent Cleveland landed near the top of the fourth round.

The latter two rookies fill immediate needs on the defensive line following the losses of EDGE Jadaveon Clowney and starting DTs Malik Jackson and Malik McDowell. Emerson will also provide much-needed depth at corner, especially after Cleveland traded veteran Troy Hill for a fifth-round pick in 2023.

Cleveland Finds a Potential Starter in the Slot

The Browns had three picks in the third round, two of which went toward fixing the defense. However, finding a solid wide receiver was also high on the priority list.

With the 99th pick of the draft, Cleveland selected Purdue WR David Bell. Bell, an Indiana native, was one of the Big Ten’s most productive receivers across three seasons in West Lafayette. The 21-year-old caught 21 touchdowns in three years, ending his collegiate career as the Big Ten Wide Receiver of the Year and a First Team All-American.

Bell joins a wide receiver room with many new faces, including former Dallas Cowboys star Amari Cooper. With Cooper and 2020 sixth-rounder Donovan Peoples-Jones on the outside, Bell has a realistic chance to become Cleveland’s starting slot receiver in Week 1.

Cleveland drafted one more wide receiver, taking Oklahoma’s Michael Woods II in the sixth round.

No Odds Change for the Browns, at Least Not Yet

The Browns mortgaged their future for Watson, trading this year’s first and five other draft picks for the embattled QB. That move helped bring them to +2000 to win the Super Bowl, the same odds as the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.

Cleveland made some solid additions in the draft, mainly Bell and Winfrey. However, its draft class couldn’t move the needle on its Super Bowl odds. In fact, only the Philadelphia Eagles saw any real growth in their odds, moving from +5000 to +3300 after drafting Georgia stars Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean and trading for Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Brown.

Even though nine rookies couldn’t impact the odds now, things could change in the fall. For instance, Bell could immediately adapt to the NFL and transform into a high-end weapon for Watson. Or maybe Wright or Winfrey earns a starting spot and runs with it for the duration of the season.

The veteran stars like Watson, Nick Chubb, and Myles Garrett will again define the Browns in 2022. But there’s always a chance that one or more rookies emerge to put them over the top.

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