It's the first Friday of February, meaning we're officially less than three months away from the 2022 NFL Draft.
Yes, that's the main focus once again in our batch of questions in this week's Browns Mailbag. We're tackling four of them to carry you into the weekend.
Do you think it would be more optimum to go DT or WR with the No. 13 pick? — Gary R., Dayton
That's not a decision for me to make, of course. What I can provide, though, is some analysis of where the experts think the strength of this draft class lies, and whether "best player available" and one of these positions is more or less likely to intersect at No. 13.
As it stands today — with a LOT of time left in the draft process — most draft experts believe WRs are more likely than DTs to be picked in the top half of the first round. A number of different WRs — Treylon Burks (Arkansas), Garrett Wilson (Ohio State), Jameson Williams (Alabama), Chris Olave (Ohio State) and Drake London (USC) — have all been pegged by mock drafters to the Browns or other teams in their tier of the draft. DTs, meanwhile, have mostly been projected toward the bottom half of the first round. Some mock drafts don't include any in the entire first round.
Still, there are a couple of names to keep in mind. Two of them — Travon Walker and Jordan Davis — both played at Georgia and couldn't possibly be any different. Walker, per CBSSports.com, is considered a "tweener" who can play on the inside or outside depending on the scheme. Davis, at 6-foot-6 and 330 pounds, is an old-school nose who can swallow up multiple blockers. A couple other names of note are Logan Hall (Houston) and Cameron Thomas (San Diego State). Both are versatile defensive linemen who have the potential to play on the inside in certain schemes.
Something to remember, and we'll probably include this disclaimer in most of our mailbags until the draft. Just because the Browns appear to have needs at certain positions, it doesn't mean they'll feel the need to address them in the early portions of the draft.
"Certainly, need or position of value, all of that can play a role in it, but by no means is it the primary goal and not even close to the primary weighting in terms of the draft decisions," Browns EVP of Football Operations and GM Andrew Berry said last year. "Honestly, that is how teams make mistakes."
Which position groups seem to have the most top-tier player depth in this upcoming draft class? I would expect the Browns to be especially interested in the defensive ends, defensive tackles, wide receivers, offensive tackles, linebackers, kickers and punters this class has to offer. — Nick D., Glendale, Arizona
As mentioned in our first answer, the wide receiver position appears to be once again chock full of talented players. In a recent interview on NFL Network, draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he had first-round grades on seven wide receivers, including, of course, all of the players who have been linked to the Browns at No. 13. There's enough depth, in Jeremiah's opinion, to where a first-round quality receiver could become available in the second round or even later.
Another position loaded with talent is edge rusher, and that's a big change from last year. And it goes beyond Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson and Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux, both of whom are expected to be top-five selections. A number of talented pass rushers are coming off great weeks in Mobile, where they starred for scouts during Senior Bowl practices. Florida State's Jermaine Johnson, Cincinnati's Myjai Sanders and South Carolina's Kingsley Enagbare are just some of the talented edge rushers who could provide great value, whether it be at No. 13 or later in the draft.
Check out photos of current Browns players who participated in previous Senior Bowls as the 2022 Senior Bowl gets underway in Mobile, Alabama
Who are the top three kickers coming out of the draft that the Browns may consider? Do you see them going after a much promising kicker? — Jeffrey S., Lake Mary
There doesn't appear to be a consensus top kicker in this year's class, but there are a handful of names to monitor. Here are a few to know.
Oklahoma's Gabe Brkic had the chance to go back to school in 2022 but opted to enter the draft. It's hard to blame him. He was 57-of-69 for his career on field goals, including a 10-of-14 mark from 50+ yards. Brkic, it should be noted, hails from nearby Chardon.
Texas' Cameron Dicker is currently participating in the Senior Bowl after going 13-for-15 on field goals as a senior. He made a kick of 50+ yards in each of his four seasons with the Longhorns.
Michigan's Jake Moody won the Lou Groza Award after knocking through 22 of his 24 field-goal attempts during the Wolverines' march to the College Football Playoff. This was Moody's first season as Michigan's full-time placekicker, and he certainly made the most of it.
As for whether the Browns would use a draft pick on a kicker, Berry said the team was open to all options at all positions. It also should be noted the Browns have used draft picks on kickers twice since 2017.
When do your podcasts start again? — Stephen N., Westlake
Ah, yes, a Best Podcast Available fan!
I'm very excited to share our first episode of 2022 will debut Thursday at ClevelandBrowns.com, YouTube.com/Browns or wherever else you get your podcasts. Jason Gibbs and I will tackle the latest draft news every week and bring on a slew of awesome guests. We'll have you covered each Thursday all the way through the end of the offseason workout program in June. Can't wait to get back behind the mic!