Cleveland Browns GM Andrew Berry has not selected a player in the first two rounds of the NFL draft for the past two seasons. Trades for QB Deshaun Watson and WR Elijah Moore, as well as a trade down out of the second round in 2022, have limited Berry’s draft stock.
Despite that, CB Martin Emerson had a great rookie year as the team’s first selection two years ago. In ESPN’s 2022 re-draft, Emerson was selected with the 44th pick instead of in the third round.
OL Dawand Jones was the big steal in 2023. Jones was selected to Pro Football Writer’s All-Rookie Team after having to step in for OL Jack Conklin in the second week of the season.
There was some surprise when Cleveland brought Jones in for a pre-draft visit as most expected he would be selected in the first or second round. Berry was able to scoop the big man up with pick number 111.
In ESPN’s 2023 NFL re-draft (subscriber, $), Jones jumped even higher than Emerson did the previous year:
28. Cincinnati Bengals
Original pick: Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson
New pick: Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
Jones finished second among all rookies in pass block win rate (86.8%). Having him in 2023 could have given him a year to learn the ropes behind Jonah Williams before slotting him in at right tackle in 2024. The Bengals will need to address that spot this offseason with Williams entering free agency. Murphy had just three sacks in 294 defensive snaps for Cincinnati. — Ben Baby
Along with WR Puka Nacua and undrafted LB Ivan Pace, Jones was one of the biggest risers in the re-draft process.
While Browns fans can celebrate the selection of Jones, and Emerson, now. The team has to turn those solid picks into AFC Championship Game appearances and more for success to define the organization.
Are you surprised by how high Jones went in the re-draft or do you think he should have gone even higher?