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Who will the Browns take at #44? Our experts predict

There are needs at many positions

Syndication: USA TODAY
George Pickens
Joshua L. Jones via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Browns do not possess a first round pick this year having dealt that slot in the Deshaun Watson trade. Which is a bummer for not only the team itself, but for Browns fans who won’t have any of the excitement buildup for the April 28 broadcast of the first round.

Cleveland’s first pick in the 2022 NFL draft is in the second round at pick #44.

Other picks include:

  • 3rd Round (No. 78) overall
  • 3rd Round (No. 99 overall - compensatory selection)
  • 4th Round (No. 118 overall)
  • 6th Round (No. 202 overall - from Dallas)
  • 7th Round (No. 223 overall)
  • 7th Round (No. 246 overall)

But for now, let’s focus on just their first selection in Round 2. Who will GM Andrew Berry select?

The Browns’ needs are few but vital. Wide receiver, defensive tackle, pass rusher, safety, kicker, maybe a punter, backup tight end and a swing tackle to groom along the offensive line are the key positions that will assuredly be addressed.

But their first pick in the draft will become the most crucial new component.

Here at DBN we gathered several Browns writers to see who they would take and why. So, let’s draft!

Jacob Amstel

President: Browns Backers with a Twist


Cleveland, Ohio

Pick: WR George Pickens, Georgia

With the 44th overall pick, the Cleveland Browns will select the wide receiver from the University of Georgia, George Pickens. The Browns will focus on the wide receiver position with their second round pick of the NFL draft as a cheap, young wide receiver is more valuable as the position’s market has grown exponentially this off-season. The other position to watch for is defensive end, but as more time goes by, options such as Jadeveon Clowney becomes more realistic. Pickens offer a unique skill set with only two drops in 139 targets and great size (6’-3”, 200 pounds). He is also a willing blocker in the run game, which is a necessity in Kevin Stefanski’s offense. Last year Pickens suffered an injury and the front office will need to feel comfortable drafting him from a medical standpoint. Viewed as a first round talent, Pickens will drop to the Browns as a run on wide-receivers will happen throughout the first round of the draft. At pick 44 overall, the Cleveland Browns will select their Jarvis Landry replacement with a very talented wide receiver in George Pickens.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Marcus Donald

The Mr. Deacon Experience Channel


Pick: DE George Karlaftis, Purdue

After working for the Browns for two years and covering this team for so many years prior to the explosion of social media, I can honestly say the Browns are in a very interesting position this year.

After acquiring Deshawn Watson from the Houston Texans, the Browns have lost a bevy of draft capital. I feel there will be an attempt to regain those lost assets by trading back in this year’s draft with the 44th pick.

This is still an analytically-based pro football team. Andrew Berry and company’s strategic acquisitions of talent pushed the envelope when it comes to smart contract decisions and player personal choices. I still feel that Paul DePodesta’s “Moneyball” philosophy will still entangle Jimmy and Dee Haslam’s ears and have them move forward to replace what was lost in the Watson deal. In my eyes, the Browns will not take a pick at 44th.

On the other hand, sometimes taking the best player available is a wise choice. The Browns tend to overthink this process.

The Browns still have a lot of holes on this team, logically after cutting center J.C. Tretter it seems to me that the Browns would take an offensive center to keep Watson on his feet. They signed C Ethan Pocic from Seattle to battle with Nick Harris for the starting center spot.

I would take a defensive end in case Jadeveon Clowney does not come back. I would take George Karlaftis from Purdue or Jacub Panasiuk from Michigan State to fill the role opposite Myles Garrett. I feel like one of these players will still be around at 44.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Moore

DBN Staff Writer

Pick: DE David Ojabo, Michigan

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry will enter the 2022 NFL Draft with a few obvious roster holes to fill as the club still needs another starting-caliber wide receiver to pair with Amari Cooper, as well as help along the defensive line.

The good news is that this year’s wide receiver class is deep, so even though the Berry will miss out on the top wide receivers after trading away this year’s first-round selection, there should still be quality at No. 44 with the likes of Georgia’s George Pickens, Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore and Alabama’s John Metchie III as players to watch.

But there is a scenario that might catch Berry’s fancy, and that is if Michigan defensive end David Ojabo falls into the second round. A projected first-round selection after posting 11 sacks and earning second-team All-American honors last season, Ojabo is now considered a possibility to slide because he likely will not see the field this fall after suffering a torn Achilles tendon during his Pro Day in March.

But if he is there when the Browns are on the clock, Berry will play the long game and select Ojabo as the future bookend to defensive end Myles Garrett and give the Browns a pair of pass rushers that can give opposing quarterbacks sleepless nights for the next several years.

Nicholas Karns

The Barking Browns Show


Pick: WR George Pickens, Georgia

Pickens has some injury concerns but that didn’t stop Andrew Berry from drafting Greg Newsome last year and it paid off. Pickens has the perfect combination of size and speed and can be a Number 1 wide receiver in this league some day. He is also not afraid to block in the run game, something Kevin Stefanski will love.

Matt Wood

DBN Staff Writer

Pick: WR George Pickens, Georgia

I think it’s going to be George Pickens if he is there. Position of need, hits a lot of the guard rails and has big time upside. We saw last year that the Browns will gamble on an injury in this range (JOK) and I think they may be more willing to shoot high without a first rounder.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 09 Nevada at San Diego State Photo by Alan Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jim Workman

President: Charleston WV Browns Backers


Pick: DE Cameron Thomas, San Diego State

I like the idea of adding San Diego State defensive lineman Cameron Thomas with the No. 44 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

He’s projected to be a Top-50 pick only because he played in the Mountain West Conference and didn’t get as much exposure as the Power 5 guys. But he’s a inside/outside force that will thrive with Garrett and (hopefully) Clowney showing him the ropes and taking on most of the attention. Some call Thomas a “JJ Watt type.” That’s not a bad guy to be compared with. He’s capable of clogging up the middle, stopping the run, while also creating a fearsome pass rush. That’s a recipe to make the Browns defense an elite unit.

Arkansas State v Georgia Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Angeline Adams

Administrator: Cleveland Browns We Bark Together


Pick: WR George Pickens, Georgia

I’m hoping he’s there but if available my pick is George Pickens. At 6’3” he’s a 5-star recruit, good route runner with great hands who is super athletic and big. Fast with a 4.43 40 time at the combine. His ability to adjust his body while using his long arms to creates space against smaller defenders and still stretch to make the catch on diverse deep balls is clutch. Even if they have to go up a bit to get him they should. Deshaun Watson to Pickens adds tremendous potential to the wide receiver room.

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Barry Shuck

DBN Staff Writer

Pick: EDGE Boye Mafe, Minnesota

What I would really like to see is a dominating force along the defensive line. I want the best D-Line possible - one that can take over a game. Remember the New York Football Giants in the Super Bowl in 2007 against the 18-0-0 New England Patriots and then again in 2011? Both seasons they stockpiled guys like Justin Tuck, Fred Robbins, Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan, Lival Joseph, Jason Pierre-Paul and Chris Canty. These guys were all over the quarterback as was their trend both seasons. The last few Super Bowls really showed the importance of a spectacular line along the defensive front. Constant pressure when any team drops back to pass. With that you need exceptional pass rushers and Mafe is just that. Makes sense to bring in a young buck and let Myles Garrett help him while the two wreck havoc. A lot of upside with this guy with excellent balance and elite speed with quickness. Tore up the Senior Bowl this year against top offensive linemen and was the game’s Most Valuable Player. Yes, a defensive end got that award. A run-and-chase defender and can cover running backs with natural coverage skills. He has the talent to be the best pass rusher in this class.