CLEVELAND — The 2022 NFL Draft has officially come and gone. The Cleveland Browns made nine selections, beginning with defensive back Martin Emerson in the third round.
While the Browns are adding all nine players to their roster now, it’s unlikely that all of the draft picks make the team’s 53-man roster when the season begins in September. With that said, the Browns still do have a couple of holes to fill on their roster that need to be handled prior to the start of training camp.
Here are three things the Browns still need to accomplish this offseason:
Re-sign Jadeveon Clowney
The Browns added a pair of defensive ends in the draft in Alex Wright out of UAB and Isaiah Thomas out of Oklahoma. It’s not a given that both make the roster – particularly Thomas, who was drafted in the seventh round – or contribute right away. Wright could be part of the future pairing with All-Pro edge rusher Myles Garrett, but that seems like something down the road, rather than in 2022.
There’s still a void opposite Garrett that needs to be filled for this season. The Browns currently have a handful of guys that can help out situationally or in spurts. That’s not good enough for a team that has Super Bowl aspirations. The best way to fill this void would be to bring back defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney spent last season with the Browns and had his most productive season in a few years. With Cleveland he had nine sacks (his most since 2018, and just half a sack off his career high) and 11 tackles for loss in 14 games. He was certainly the best player the Browns have had opposite Garrett. Bringing Clowney back would turn a spot that’s currently seen as a question mark into a strength of the defense.
Add more receiver help
The Browns made a terrific value play when they selected wide receiver David Bell out of Purdue with the 99th overall selection. Bell is coming off a fantastic career at Purdue that featured a pair of 1,000-yard seasons both as a freshman and a junior. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound fell in the draft partially due to his poor testing at the NFL Combine and his pro day.
Bell could step in and be the third wide receiver on the Browns as a rookie, although that may be a bit ambitious for a guy that was selected in the third round. Perhaps the Browns are counting on a big jump from second-year wide receiver Anthony Schwartz or are planning on using return specialist Jakeem Grant on offense quite a bit.
While those could all be potential moves, the Browns adding another receiver via free agency still makes the most sense. It’s clear that Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones are going to be the two top wide receivers, but the Browns need a third that can be counted on. The best available in free agency for the Browns would be Jarvis Landry, who was released by the team back in March. A return to the Browns for Landry would boost both the floor of the group and the ceiling as well.
Trade Baker Mayfield
The Cleveland Browns need to move on from quarterback Baker Mayfield one way or another before training camp starts. There were reportedly serious talks between the Browns and the Carolina Panthers about a trade that would have sent the former No. 1 overall pick to Carolina during the draft, but nothing came to fruition as the Panthers traded back into the third round to select a quarterback.
The Browns currently have three other quarterbacks on the roster in Deshaun Watson, Jacoby Brissett, and Josh Dobbs. There’s no room for Mayfield, and even if there was it would be far too awkward to keep him around. Finding Mayfield a new home as soon as possible is the best outcome for everyone involved.
Editor's note: The video above is from an unrelated story an the Browns new radio broadcast team published on April 27, 2022