With the 68th pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected CB Martin Emerson (6-2, 201 lbs) from Mississippi State. He is the first pick of this year’s draft, and it comes in the third round. Cleveland originally had No. 44 overall in the second round, but while they were on the clock, they made a deal with the Houston Texans.
Here is a scouting report from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, who had Emerson as his 21st-ranked cornerback on his board, a projected 5th round pick:
A three-year starter at Mississippi State, Emerson was the left cornerback in defensive coordinator Zach Arnett’s man-and-zone scheme. Despite a mediocre college résumé (never earned All-SEC honors and logged only one interception), he was consistently one of the top coverage players in the SEC during the last two seasons. Emerson is a good-sized athlete with the length, toughness and coverage awareness that will translate well to the next level. While he can jam and be disruptive from press, he lacks ideal pedal fluidity and change of direction in man coverage, struggling to make up the lost steps when overaggressive. Overall, Emerson lacks quick-twitch athleticism and functional play strength, but he shows a natural feel for spacing and disruption in zone coverage. He has NFL starting potential, ideally suited in a Cover-2 or Cover-3 scheme.
Here is what Tim Miller (former DBN contributor) thinks of the selection:
Martin Emerson is an outside CB: almost 6'2", 200 lbs, good ball skills. Not small, quick twitch slot guy. Think Greedy Williams, not Troy Hill. Probably comes on in nickel next year and Ward or Newsome bump inside to cover slot. Probably competing for dime CB this year. #Browns— Tim A. Miller (@Bumblyjack) April 30, 2022
Emerson had a coverage grade of 89.6 from Pro Football Focus, which ranked 2nd among SEC cornerbacks since 2020. With that in mind, they graded the pick as below average:
How He Fits the Browns
Fans will be a bit perplexed with this selection. Emerson is a big cornerback, but the team just locked up Denzel Ward to a big contract, and drafted Greg Newsome in the first round last year. Nickelback Troy Hill is still under contract for three more years. Does Emerson have a role somewhere else?
What do you think, Browns fans?
How do you grade the Cleveland Browns’ selection of Martin Emerson at No. 68 overall?
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