The Last Five No. 44 Overall Draft Picks: Where Are They Now?

The Last Five No. 44 Overall Draft Picks: Where Are They Now?

Ayden Fahlstrom
2 years ago
4 min read
Browns safety Grant Delpit takes the field against the Arizona Cardinals.

More often than not, the Cleveland Browns go on the clock near the beginning of the NFL Draft. This year, the Browns will have to wait until Friday before adding their next prized rookie.

Thanks to the blockbuster trade for QB Deshaun Watson — which includes this year’s 13th-overall pick — Cleveland will wait until pick No. 44 before making its first draft selection. The 44th pick can sometimes deliver a Pro Bowl-caliber talent (Patrick Surtain, Bob Sanders, Matt Forte), but it can also lead to some tragic mistakes (Titus Young, anyone?).

Before the Browns make their next pick, let’s look back at the last five players to go 44th overall in the NFL Draft, which includes a player currently residing in The Land.

2021 - CB Kelvin Joseph

Last spring, the Dallas Cowboys went all-in on revamping a defense that allowed the fifth-most points the year prior. After landing the future Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons at No. 12, Dallas selected Kentucky cornerback Kelvin Joseph 32 picks later.

Despite starting the year on Injured Reserve, Joseph managed to suit up for 10 regular-season games, including Dallas’ lone playoff matchup. The 21-year-old made two starts, racking up 16 combined tackles and a pair of deflected passes.

Even though his role has the potential to grow in year two, Joseph’s short NFL career could be impacted by legal issues. Earlier this month, the cornerback was a passenger in a vehicle where several fatal gunshots were fired. While the second-year man is working out with Dallas and has avoided charges, the ongoing investigation is certainly worth monitoring.

2020 - SS Grant Delpit

Should the Browns move forward with the 44th pick, the new recruit will join Grant Delpit on their playoff-caliber roster. Delpit, the Jim Thorpe Award winner for the National Champion LSU Tigers, was Cleveland’s second pick of the draft after OT Jedrick Wills Jr. went 10th overall.

Delpit, who was taken one pick before fellow safety and future Pro Bowler Antoine Winfield Jr., suffered a season-ending Achilles tear during his first pro training camp. However, the Louisiana-born safety saw plenty of action in ‘21, accruing 66 tackles, three pass deflections, and a Week 12 interception. 

After leaving a good impression in his final four games, the 23-year-old Delpit enters 2022 as a likely starter at strong safety alongside FS John Johnson III. Considering how quickly he progressed from a serious leg injury a year earlier, the future is bright for one of the Browns most exciting young players.

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2019 - LG Elgton Jenkins

Following back-to-back down years, the Green Back Packers made the most of their top-three draft selections in 2019. The Packers used their two first-rounders on EDGE Rashan Gary and FS Darnell Savage — two future starters — before landing on Mississippi State offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins. So far, Jenkins might be the best of the bunch.

Jenkins saw time at every OL position with the Bulldogs, even entering the draft as a center. Yet the second-rounder became a year-one starter at left guard, replacing the injured Lane Taylor and not allowing a single sack. The Mississippi native then delivered an impressive encore, securing Pro Bowl honors for the first-place Packers.

With the two-time All-Pro David Bakhtiari on IR, Green Bay moved the versatile Jenkins to left tackle in 2021. However, the 26-year-old tore his ACL in Week 11. Now, with one year left on his rookie deal, Jenkins will start somewhere on the o-line before securing a nice pay raise next offseason.

2018 - WR Dante Pettis

From when they drafted OT Mike McGlinchey to the moment their next pick rolled around, the San Francisco 49ers watched three dynamic wide receivers leave the board. D.J. Moore, Calvin Ridley, and Courtland Sutton have all gone on to produce above-average NFL careers. Meanwhile, the Niners were forced to settle on Dante Pettis.

During his four years at Washington, Pettis was no slouch, winning the Johnny Rodgers Award as college football’s best return specialist. Yet his impact as a punt returner never translated to the pros, accruing 41 total return yards in four seasons. He made 38 receptions with seven touchdowns in San Francisco as a receiver, five of which came in his rookie season.

In 2020, the New York Giants picked Pettis up off waivers. The 26-year-old played only five games in just under 1.5 seasons with New York, making 14 catches and securing another two TDs. Now, the former second-rounder is a free agent in search of his next home.

2017 - TE Gerald Everett

In 2016, the Los Angeles Rams traded a barrage of draft picks in order to select QB Jared Goff with the first-overall pick. While the move was necessary, it forced the Rams to wait until pick No. 44 before making their first draft pick a year later. From there, they landed on Gerald Everett, the fourth tight end selected in 2017.

Everett dominated the Sun Belt conference with South Alabama before joining a new-look Rams squad. Although Tyler Higbee sat ahead of him on the depth chart, the Georgia native immediately became an integral part of LA’s offense. Everett made 13 starts in 67 games (including the playoffs), catching 130 passes and 12 touchdowns across four seasons.

The 27-year-old earned his first true starting gig after signing with the Seattle Seahawks last year. He finished the year with career highs in starts (12), receptions (48), yards (478), and touchdowns (four). Everett’s big season landed him a two-year, $12 million deal with the LA Chargers, where he’ll presumably continue to serve as a true TE1.

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