Barring any surprises, the Browns seem poised to add their first rookie to the 2022 roster with pick No. 44, their first pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, next week in Las Vegas.
Predicting who they will draft, of course, is a bit of a challenge, but it's a safe bet that the Browns will have several promising players to select from a handful of positions and could still come away with a player capable of providing an immediate impact in 2022. Plenty of guys with first-round grades are often available in the second round, and the Browns — who own the 12th pick of the round — could have a shot to grab one of them.
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah discussed a handful of those prospects Thursday in a call with reporters.
Here are some of the players Jeremiah highlighted that could be on the Browns' radar when they're on the clock for the first time next Friday.
DT Travis Jones, UConn
Jones has been a commonly-floated DT prospect to Cleveland and has been rising up draft boards since a quality week at the Senior Bowl.
He's one of the more interesting defensive tackles at the top of the class because of how his team fared — the Huskies won only four games in Jones' career, but he still managed to stand out on their defense and totaled 8.5 sacks and 136 tackles in three seasons. He's a behemoth of a player, too, at 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds, and impressed scouts with his handling of some of the top interior blockers of the class at the Senior Bowl.
"He put on a show down there," Jeremiah said. "It's hard to find guys that are that big and that powerful and that athletic. He followed that up with an outstanding combine. He's probably helped himself through the process as much as anybody has. To me, if you go back again and just go back to the tape, you'd probably be a little bit disappointed, want him to dominate a little bit more, but it's all there. It's all in his body.
"I think he's probably going to come off the board -- maybe he sneaks under the bottom of one, but probably somebody that goes in that early second round when it's all said and done."
DE Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State
Ebiketie hasn't been as common of a player mocked to Cleveland, but he's projected to fall in the range where the Browns own their first pick.
The Browns still have a hole to fill on the other end of their defensive line after Jadeveon Clowney became a free agent, and Ebiketie, who transferred from Temple to Penn State last year and significantly boosted his draft stock with a 9.5-sack season, is one of the intriguing edge rusher options who likely will be available early on Day 2.
Similar to Jones, he has also been graded as a late first-round or early Day 2 selection, and Jeremiah is particularly a big fan.
"I love Arnold Ebiketie," he said. "I know he's a little bit older, but he is a stud. He's one of my favorite players to watch, kind of a leverage rusher, transfer from Temple. But he's got great hands. He's a fun one to watch. I think he'd give them some good pass rush there.
Check out photos of possible Day 2 defensive ends the Browns might target in the 2022 NFL Draft
WR David Bell, Purdue
The consensus on Bell among analysts has been split after he posted an underwhelming time of 4.65 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
But the production with the Boilermakers was there — he built two 1,000-yard seasons and caught 21 total touchdowns in three seasons. Speed might not be his strongest asset, but most analysts agree that he has the hands and route-running ability to last in the NFL.
Jeremiah projects Bell to land in the middle rounds, but that's because he believes the class has a good batch of talent. A mid-round selection for Bell wouldn't necessarily mean he's a player with a mid-round grade.
"David Bell didn't run the 40 time that he would have liked," he said. "I'm sure it's been well-documented, well-reported, but he's a good player. He's got outstanding hands. He wins a ton of 50/50 balls. More smooth than explosive. He's not going to be real, real dynamic from that standpoint, but he's got a huge catch radius. He can really catch the football, and he's tough and physical after the catch.
"In a group where we've got, again, a solid group of wide receivers, I would guess the high-water mark is probably the third round, kind of that sweet spot for him. But I wouldn't be surprised if somebody got a little bit of a bargain there in Round 4."
Check out photos of day 2 wide receivers the Browns might target in the 2022 NFL Draft
DE David Ojabo, Michigan
Ojabo's projected landing spot has changed considerably due to a torn Achilles suffered at his Pro Day, which could sideline him for the entirety of his rookie season.
Before that, however, he was a first-round prospect who might've fallen in the first 15 picks. He compiled 11 sacks with the Wolverines last season and flashed the agility and speed of a high-grade defensive end. He didn't start playing football until he was in high school and was always regarded as a player who could need time to develop in the league, but his big junior season showed huge potential.
"Ojabo is different just because, A, it's an Achilles and a little bit more severe, and it was later in the process at the pro day," Jeremiah said. "There's not as much time between the injury and when you've got to make that decision. I would imagine he probably goes in the second round. It's a deal where we've got eight teams with two picks in the first, so maybe somebody views that as a little bit of a luxury pick, but I don't know as much about where he is in the recovery process."
Jeremiah mentioned a handful of other options for the Browns as well, including Minnesota DE Boye Mafe — "I think there's a chance he could get (to pick No. 44)" — as well as Oklahoma DE Nik Bonnito and USC DE Drake Jackson.
"You get a little something different with a guy like Bonitto from Oklahoma, who has a big-time fastball off the edge," he said. "One of the more polarizing players (is) Drake Jackson from USC, a lot of teams like him in that range, kind of in that second-round, middle-second-round range because this is somebody who has got a lot of traits, long, rangy.
"His weight has kind of fluctuated. He was heavier early on, then he tried to drop a lot of weight, now he's put it back on, so he's kind of yo-yoed there, but he's somebody that can really bend and is explosive coming off the edge."
At receiver, Jeremiah highlighted North Dakota State's Christian Watson, the 45th player in his top 50 prospect rankings, and Georgia's George Pickens as likely receivers available for Cleveland.
He also mentioned Alabama's John Metchie III: "If you were saying, 'OK, who's the closest thing to Jarvis Landry, as he's moved on, I think John Metchie would probably be that guy from Alabama.'"