The Cleveland Browns would end up with the same player they took off the board first in last year’s NFL Draft, according to ESPN.com.
Hindsight is and will forever be 20/20, but it is fun to look back at the past and recollect of what could have or should have happened. The NFL Draft will always be looked at years later and dissected based on which players succeed and which ones don’t.
ESPN+ – a paid subscription service – polled various NFL writers to have them redraft the 2022 NFL Draft. Jake Trotter wrote that the Cleveland Browns would draft Martin Emerson with the 44th overall pick as opposed to pick No. 68.
Cleveland traded down with the Houston Texans who ended up taking wide receiver John Metchie III.
Based solely on the only season of evidence we have on the guys who were drafted last year, the Browns would be smart to take Emerson as he was impressive in 2022. You might even say he was a “slam dunk” pick.
Emerson was a pick that caught many by surprise, as cornerback was not a position of need for Cleveland a year ago, but the rookie out of Mississippi State proved to be well worth the third-round pick it took to draft him. It was only a surprise for about a day as the Browns traded fellow cornerback Troy Hill to the Rams, where he came from in free agency.
He was able to play in all 17 games, making six starts while playing in 72 percent of defensive snaps. He filled in for the injured Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome II while also competing alongside those guys and he proved that he has the potential to be a really good player in the NFL.
The size of Emerson helps set him apart from other corners and was a big (no pun intended) reason that he enjoyed a successful rookie campaign. In the 17 games, he recorded 51 solo tackles while breaking up 15 passes, ranking him sixth in the league, and also recorded a sack.
Opposing quarterbacks completed 46 of 91 passes (50.5%) on Emerson for 490 yards and three touchdowns. In the Week 8 matchup with the Bengals, Emerson held Tee Higgins to just two receptions on three targets for a measly eight yards.
Pro Football Journal named Emerson to the All-Rookie Team and it was well deserved. This bodes well for the Browns as the AFC is absolutely stacked with elite quarterback and wide receiver combinations. The Cleveland secondary could be a problem for years to come, especially if the team can add some pass rushers and run stuffers in the offseason.