Every little detail in team building is important. While fans and media may only focus on big names or those that have fantasy football impact, depth, special teams and non-box score matters are very important to winning championships.
Other details matter as well including asset allocation at certain positions. For example, few expected the Cleveland Browns to pay Ethan Pocic during NFL free agency because they have big contracts for three of their five offensive linemen and invested a first-rounder in another.
The Browns free agent period has been very active with retaining players, signing new players and, now, trading for one. The sheer volume is impressive:
- LB Anthony Walker
- Center Ethan Pocic
- CB AJ Green
- LB Sione Takitaki
- LB Jordan Kunaszyk
- FS Juan Thornhill
- DT Dalvin Tomlinson
- DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
- TE Jordan Akins
- LB/ST Matthew Adams
- CB/ST Mike Ford
- DT Maurice Hurst
- DT Trysten Hill
- QB Josh Dobbs
- WR Elijah Moore
It is easy to assume that at least 14 of those 16 players will be on Cleveland’s roster at the start of the season if everyone stays healthy.
As we shared in our way-too-early 53-man roster projection, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for new players, especially considering that GM Andrew Berry might not be done yet. As things work together, the volume of players that have been added to the Browns roster could have an impact on how the team attacks the NFL draft.
As of now, like last year after a trade down on day two, Cleveland does not have a selection in the first two rounds of the draft. Their first selection will come at pick #74 instead of #42 because of the Moore trade. The Browns do have eight total selections to work with including pick #98 as their next selection.
The problem with having eight selections is that the team is unlikely to have eight roster spots available. At this point, barring injuries, Cleveland’s roster has five or six openings that could be claimed by a rookie.
How Berry has attacked free agency points to the team either trading up in the 2023 NFL draft and/or trading picks this year for picks next year. As he did with Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Berry could catch a falling player by moving up from the middle of the third round to late in the second by trading one of his two fourth-round selections.
The Browns also can think ahead to the 2024 NFL draft where they currently do not have a first or fourth-round selection. Berry could swap a ‘23 fifth-rounder for a ‘24 fourth-rounder to add to next year’s haul and not create too much clutter on this year’s roster.
Needless to say, adding or retaining 16 players, so far, during NFL free agency could have a simple impact on the 2023 NFL draft for Cleveland.