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Cleveland Browns NFL Draft Specials Bets 2022: Exact Playing Position of 1st Drafted Player
Unless they make a significant trade, the Cleveland Browns will have to wait until Friday before handing in their first pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. After the Deshaun Watson trade, the Browns are slotted at pick No. 44, leaving them little idea of how the draft board will look.
Suppose general manager Andrew Berry and the rest of the scouting department play their cards right. In that case, Cleveland should walk out of the draft with a high-caliber player ready to contribute immediately. The question, however, is where the rookie contributes once he's on the field.
While nothing is off the table, it's doubtful the Browns target a quarterback or running back with the 44th pick. But there are several other position groups Cleveland could address with its opening selection.
Defensive Lineman (+150)
While the offense saw a massive addition with Watson, Cleveland's defense took some hits this offseason. The worst came on the defensive line, with three former starters (EDGE Jadaveon Clowney, DT Malik Jackson, DT Malik McDowell) currently out of the picture.
According to the latest odds on betJACK Training Camp, D-line is the most likely area for the Browns to address. At +150, you can grab the Browns to replace any of those three veterans with a high-upside rookie.
The Browns would undoubtedly be thrilled if someone like Purdue's George Karlaftis fell to them at 44. However, other edge rushers like Michigan's David Ojabo or Minnesota's Boye Mafe make sense. Cleveland could also bolster the interior of its line with a guy like UConn's Travis Jones or USC's Drake Jackson.
On paper, the defensive line is the Browns' most significant need. Fortunately, there should be a few serviceable options when they go on the clock.
Wide Receiver (+250)
When Watson takes the field, he'll throw to a wide receiver group that looks much different from Baker Mayfield's over the last two seasons. Cleveland has replaced Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry with Amari Cooper and Jakeem Grant, while Donovan Peoples-Jones returns for a third year in the Land.
Cooper and Peoples-Jones should have a prominent role in the offense, but Grant is more of a return specialist. Therefore, it wouldn't be surprising if the Browns looked at adding a WR with their first pick (+250) this Friday.
Even though several talented wideouts will go before Cleveland's first selection, the depth of the position group works to its advantage. First-round-caliber receivers like Penn State's Jahan Dotson or Western Michigan's Skyy Moore could be available at No. 44. If not, Georgia's George Pickens makes a decent amount of sense.
It's a good year to need wide receiver help. The Browns will address the position early, if not with their first selection.
Defensive Back (+350)
In 2021, the Browns used their first-round pick on Northwestern CB Greg Newsome II. Newsome was the final piece of a secondary that added free agent Nickel CB Troy Hill and FS John Johnson III while returning former high picks Denzel Ward and Grant Delpit.
All five defensive backs return in 2022. However, Cleveland is still +350 to use its first pick on either a cornerback or safety.
Admittedly, it would be surprising to see the Browns pass up a receiver or D-lineman for help in the secondary. However, nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the draft. With second-string CB Greedy Williams and Hill possibly leaving after the season, Cleveland could brace for the future by selecting Washington's Kyler Gordon or Auburn's Roger McCreary if the fit is right.
Unless a surefire first-rounder falls on their lap, the Browns would likely be reaching if they select a DB at 44. That said, they could always trade down.
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Offensive Line (+350)
During Cleveland's improbable 2020 season, the offensive line was the team's greatest strength. The majority of that line is still in place heading into '22, including former first-round tackles Jedrick Wills Jr. and Jank Conklin and All-Pro guards Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller.
So why are the Browns still +350 to use their first pick on the O-line? Two words: Depth and Center.
Conklin, a two-time All-Pro, made just seven starts last season. In his place, rookie Blake Hance produced an unsightly 36.9 pass-blocking grade according to PFF, so finding a more-suitable swing tackle makes some sense. Meanwhile, with the Browns cutting longtime center JC Tretter, Cleveland would have to consider Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum if he somehow fell to No. 44.
Unlike some other teams, the Browns don't have an immediate need for an offensive lineman. But as last year proved, having quality depth on hand is never a bad idea.
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