Predicting the first-round picks for each of the Browns AFC North rivals 

Which prospects could be joining the AFC North in the draft?
Brian Thomas Jr.
Brian Thomas Jr. / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages
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For the third time in as many years (and hopefully the last time) the Cleveland Browns will be without a pick in Round 1 of the NFL Draft. They surrendered the selections in the Deshaun Watson trade — and even traded their second pick in 2022 and 2023.

It can be tough for fans to sit back and watch the draft unfold while waiting for Cleveland to finally get on the board — which is currently slated to be pick No. 54. It’s even worse when their opponents start adding some of the top talent in the class.

Here we look at where the Browns three AFC North rivals sit in Round 1 and predict who they’ll be adding to their rosters.

Cincinnati Bengals, Pick No. 18: Brian Thomas, Jr., WR, LSU

Even with Tyler Boyd out, the wide receiver position might not stick out as a major need for the Cincinnati Bengals but that’s all dependent on what happens with Tee Higgins.

It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that he would hit free agency but then Higgins was slapped with the franchise tag. That keeps him in Cincy for now, but he could very well be on the trade block. That’s why this prediction has the Bengals landing Brian Thomas, Jr. from LSU.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 209 pounds, Thomas is a vertical threat who ran a 4.33 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He’s also fresh off a 17-touchdown campaign where he averaged 17.3 yards per reception. Adding the explosive Thomas allows the Bengals to move on from Higgins and keeps their offense just as dangerous.