Browns: Andrew Berry willing to take risk on injured players in NFL Draft

Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver John Metchie III (8) looks on before the 2022 CFP college football national championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver John Metchie III (8) looks on before the 2022 CFP college football national championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Andrew Berry keeps a lot of information close to the chest, and rightfully so, but he did potentially give Cleveland Browns fans a glimpse he might do in the draft. 

We are less than a week away from the 2022 NFL Draft which doesn’t seem real, but it is. While the draft kicks off on Thursday, Friday is the more meaningful day for the Cleveland Browns as they don’t pick until 44 due to the blockbuster trade for quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Andrew Berry is entering his third NFL Draft with the Browns as general manager and so far, so good. While he has done well thus far, the job is far from finished, but luckily this is an area where he excels. With that being said, we rarely get any information out of him, but that is by design.

In his league-mandatory press conference last Friday, he continued to hold his cards close to his chest, but he did in his own way, give Browns fans a tiny snippet of his mindset ahead of the draft.

Normally, players who suffer injuries late in the college season or on their road to the draft are off-limits or take a drastic fall in terms of when they will be drafted. Berry said that he is open to the possibility of drafting a player who is coming off of injury, but there are a lot of questions he and his team must ask themselves.

How long is the player’s recovery time? How severe is the injury? Would a player have to essentially be medically “red-shirted” and lose a year of the rookie contract? Those are some of the questions Berry and the rest of the front office have been and will continue to ponder from now until the final pick of the draft is made

A question for us fans to ponder and analyze is who are injured players that Berry could possibly target this week.

Which injured players could Browns draft?

Let’s start off with the more serious injury and that is of David Ojabo, EDGE rusher out of Michigan. Ojabo tore his Achilles tendon at his pro day, so his timetable is still a long time away, but he’s absolutely someone the Browns should target, if possible. I have been very high on Ojabo, even calling him arguably the best EDGE rusher in the draft.

Yes, that means better than potential No. 1 overall pick and college teammate, Aiden Hutchinson. Ojabo finished with 11 sacks and 35 tackles in 2021 for the Wolverines.

If Ojabo falls to 44, it might be worth the risk for Berry to take. With that risk, it is high-risk, high-reward. Could Ojabo possibly return in the later stages of the season? It is not very likely, but I am not a doctor nor did I play one on television.

The wide receiver room needed a facelift this offseason and so far, Berry was able to acquire star wideout, Amari Cooper. The room still needs some work, but the draft and free agency will likely continue the makeover. There are a pair of Alabama receivers that are coming off ACL tears that would further enhance the position for the Browns should they make a full recovery.

The first is Jameson Williams, who depending on who you ask, was in consideration for the best receiver prospect in this year’s loaded class. He tore his ACL in the national championship back in January, so he could potentially miss the start of the season, but he would be worth the wait.

The 6-foot-2, 189-pound Williams would be a great fit alongside Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. In 2021, Williams finished with 79 catches for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns. DPD’s own Randy Gurzi said Williams would fix the wide receiver corps, this was when the Browns still had the 13th overall pick.

The second is John Metchie III, who tore his ACL in December in the SEC championship game. He would likely be able to return before Williams, but it will all depend on how each recovery goes. The Browns might be able to pass on Metchie at 44, but then be able to snag him at 78, depending on how the draft board falls.

Prior to getting hurt, Metchie was having a monster season for the Crimson Tide. He racked up 95 catches for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns. The combination of him and Williams was lethal for opposing defenders to try and guard and he could have similar productivity alongside Cooper and DPJ.

John Suchan of DPD thinks that Metchie is the best wide receiver option to take at 44. In a dream scenario, Metchie and Williams are both still on the board for the Browns to have to decide on at 44 and hopefully one of them is wearing brown and orange for years to come.

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The anticipation of what Andrew Berry and the Cleveland Browns will do in this year’s NFL Draft is through the roof. While it isn’t a lot of information, the fact we know that there is at least consideration of taking a risk on a player who is coming off of an injury is pretty sizable.