The excitement of a possible Cleveland Browns playoff push has given way to the reality that it was unlikely after the team’s losing ways kept creeping up. The return of QB Deshaun Watson did little to push things ahead and, in fact, may have taken the offense back a step or two.
Instead of running the table toward a 10-7 record, the Browns not are left to play out a string of games that are likely meaningless outside of getting Watson ready for next year.
That means, almost completely, we turn our attention toward the 2023 offseason including free agency and, most importantly, the 2023 NFL draft.
While Cleveland doesn’t have a first-round draft pick, and their own third-round pick also goes to the Houston Texans, they are in line for a full draft class in 2023. While fans might bemoan the lack of a top selection, teams are not just built in the first round. GM Andrew Berry (yes we assume he will be returning) must still get value in other places.
Monday Night Football’s game between the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots could make a slight adjustment to the Browns selections but only if the Cardinals win to go to 5-8 as well on the season. For now, here is Cleveland’s expected draft slotting for the 2023 NFL draft:
Second Round - Pick #43
Third Round - Pick #99 (Compensatory pick for the loss of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah)
Fourth Round - Picks #111 & 131 (Minnesota’s selection from a 2022 trade)
Fifth Round - Picks #144 & 148 (Baker Mayfield trade compensation, not confirmed)
Sixth Round - Pick #190
Seventh Round - Pick #231
Realistically, how should the Browns use their first four selections?