The Cleveland Browns traded their first-round pick and several of their 2023 draft picks in trades for quarterback DeShaun Watson and wide receiver Amari Cooper. While some may question the fact the Browns gave up their 2022 first-round pick in the compensation for the trade, the Browns can still make a splash in the second round with the 44th overall pick. Here are the most likely possibilities for the 44th overall selection.
Travis Jones-Defensive Tackle-Connecticut
It’s not a foregone conclusion that the Browns will draft a wide receiver in the second round. Cleveland needs to have a fearsome defensive line to maintain supremacy on that side of the ball. The Browns don’t have much depth at defensive tackle and defensive end. This needs to be a priority. Jones may not be the same caliber defensive tackle as DeVonte Wyatt or Jordan Davis but he’s still a big-time playmaker with a lot of upside.
Christian Watson-Wide Receiver-North Dakota State- Tall receivers over 6’2″ tall with a lot of speed are rare. Usually the shorter receivers are the fast ones and the taller ones are typically the more physical receivers who win those “jump ball” situations and get many receptions “in traffic”. Watson is a do it all receiver. Perhaps there will be another Watson on this team. Wide receiver is still an area of need especially since Jarvis Landry remains a free agent.
Alec Pierce- Wide Receiver-Cincinnatti
Pierce is a lot like Watson, another receiver over 6’2″ tall who has a lot of speed. Pierce was Desmond Ridder’s top receiver and these two were one of the most dynamic duos I’m division one college football. Will the Browns go with this talented receiver and have him continue to play in the state of Ohio?
Boye Mafe-Defensive End-Minnesota- Mafe is another intriguing option. The Browns can’t be too sure that they’ll re-sign JaDaveon Clowney so there may be too much risk in waiting until round three for a top edge rusher. The fact is the Browns placed a priority on making sure Myles Garrett had a dominant edge rusher on the opposite side of the line. Perhaps Cleveland will make sure that still ends up being true in 2022.
Tyler Linderbaum-Center-Iowa- The Browns released J.C. Tretter which shocked and upset many Browns fans. Tretter seemed like a “cap casualty” since the Browns spent a lot of the cap acquiring Watson and Cooper. The Browns said they will start second-year center Nick Harris who showed some promise right away. However, if the Browns feel like they need a solid backup plan or if Harris isn’t ready t start regular, Linderbaum could be a viable selection if he’s still on the board.
The Browns have so many options with the second-round pick that it’s tough to know which position they will prioritize first and which exact players are on their board with the 44th pick. These are some of the potential possibilities without factoring in a trade down which is also a distinct possibility since the team may need to gain a few draft picks after trading several of them away.
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