When asked if there was a set of guidelines or priorities the Cleveland Browns follow when it comes to the NFL Draft, Andrew Berry said with a sly grin, "I don't know. I'll have to leave you guys to figure out that mystery." Going through his third NFL Draft, the patterns are difficult to ignore.
The first pick of the Browns draft was a corner. Mississippi State's Martin Emerson is a talented player, but no one expected the Browns to address corner first. The Browns follow their board. Berry has said he operates the NFL Draft as if he was on an expansion team, which means he's more worried about talent before need.
The Browns also put a heavy emphasis on the secondary. Denzel Ward just signed a five-year extension. Greg Newsome was taken in the first round. Grant Delpit was selected in the second round. John Johnson III was signed as a premium free agent.
Emerson may take over the role of Troy Hill after this season, playing primarily in the slot. Greedy Williams is also on the final year of his rookie deal.
Emerson, Alex Wright, the defensive end out of UAB and David Bell, the wide receiver from Purdue are all 21 years old. Coming into the draft, Berry's selections were already dramatically younger than every other GM in the league. It's not an accident.
This is an old draft class due to the pandemic. Maybe the Browns take an older player on day three, but early in the draft in particular, the Browns are going to take young players. The next player the Browns draft that is 23 years old or older will be the first one.
Berry has made a trade on the second day of the draft all three years. In this case, the Browns moved down 24 spots to add a pair of fourth round picks. The Browns were in talks to move up to move back into the end of the second round but the deal wasn't consummated.
The players that rounded out the second round include DB Cam Taylor-Britt, EDGE Drake Jackson, S Bryan Cook, RB James Cook and EDGE Nik Bonitto. One of those players is 21 years old in Jackson and one of them the Browns had in for a pre-draft visit, James Cook.
The three players that the Browns selected on day two of the draft were at premium positions; corner, defensive end and wide receiver. Last year, the Browns selected Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who didn't play a premium position because they simply valued the player that much. Overall, the earlier picks in these drafts trend towards those money positions.
Going into day three of the NFL Draft, there are some players that stand out based on the criteria put forth by the Browns to this point.
Brandon Smith, LB Penn State - 21 years old, freaky athlete with size
Perrion Winfrey, DT Oklahoma - 21 years old, interior pass rusher
Dane Belton, S Iowa - 21. Excelled in that slot safety role the Browns employ.
Percy Butler, S Louisiana - Not quite 22. Safety with both slot and special teams experience.
Daniel Bellinger, TE San Diego State - 21. Well rounded athlete with natural pass catching ability.
James Mitchell, TE Virginia Tech - 22. Suffered a torn ACL this past season. Close to full recovery. Great athlete with terrific production as a sophomore.
Kingsley Enagbare, DE South Carolina - 22. Similar mold as Alex Wright. Power rusher with proven production against the SEC.
Dohnovan West, C Arizona State - Not even 21 yet. Browns have a crowded OLine room, but he stands out as a great fit.
Cade York, K LSU - Regarded as the best kicker in the draft