The Browns opened their 2022 NFL Draft at No. 68 overall in the third round on Friday by bolstering their cornerback depth with Martin Emerson from Mississippi State.
Here's five things to know about Cleveland's newest addition to the secondary.
1. He was one of the tallest cornerbacks of the draft class
One of the first things that stands out about Emerson is his size — at 6-foot-2 and 201 pounds, he's one of the tallest cornerbacks in the draft class and has the type of frame that projects well in the secondary. He recorded 16 pass breakups and one interception across three seasons at Mississippi State, where he was a starter for three years and garnered plenty of experience against a receiver that had plenty of big-name receivers during Emerson's career. His best season was in 2020, when he led the Bulldogs with 11 pass breakups.
2. He was consistently strong in coverage
Emerson was regarded by draft analysts as a strong coverage cornerback whose numbers didn't quite show his true potential. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler said Emerson "was consistently one of the top coverage players in the SEC during the last two seasons" and is "good-sized athlete with the length, toughness and coverage awareness that will translate well to the next level." Pro Football Focus gave Emerson an 89.6 coverage grade in 2021, the seventh-best in the nation.
3. Versatility is one of his strongest traits
Both the Browns and Emerson view versatility as one of his best traits. Browns Vice President of Player Personnel Glenn Cook said of Emerson: "We love his length, size, his ability to press. He'll give us a bunch of multiplicity and versatility on that side of the football, so we're excited."
Emerson also said he's willing to play anywhere the Browns ask him in the secondary.
"If that is going to press, playing off, zone, blitzing or whatever, just being versatile," he said. "I feel like I can bring that to this team."
4. He made a position change in high school
Emerson underwent a position switch from wide receiver to defensive back as a sophomore at Pine Forest High School. He hails from Pensacola, Florida, and was a three-star recruit before heading to Mississippi State.
5. With Emerson, the Browns are deep at cornerback
Emerson joins a Browns CB room that is loaded with talent. He joins Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome II, Greedy Williams, Troy Hill and AJ Green, giving the Browns a plethora of players in a position where depth is always needed.