In all, the Cleveland Browns drafted nine rookies at the 2022 NFL Draft a few weeks back.
And generally, the team did a good job targeting positions of need.
The Browns added defensive line depth by adding Alex Wright and Perrion Winfrey.
Cleveland also made efforts to improve its receiving corps through rookie pickups in David Bell and Mike Woods.
And the squad also clearly sought to solve its atrocious kicking situation by snapping up LSU’s boot man Cade York.
But with picks not coming until the third round, not every single one of the guys picked will have an instant impact.
Here are a few stabs at who might be in line for the Browns’ most impactful rookie award this season:
Expect Bell to “slot” in at the third receiver spot, with an “outside” chance to play 75% of the offensive snaps.
The Browns selected David Bell in Round 3:
He produced 1000+ yards as an 18-year-old true freshman…
Earning 101.6 yards per game in college:
Now here’s the thing:
— Sal Vetri (@SalVetriDFS) May 16, 2022
Those puns were very much intended.
That’s because Bell is a fairly versatile receiver who is capable of lining up in the slot or on the outside.
He won’t beat many with stunning athleticism or speed, but in this offense, he shouldn’t be asked to.
That leaves a guy like Bell to thrive in the mid-field.
Further, with Peoples-Jones and Cooper already rostered, Bell won’t suffer from being asked to do too much too quickly.
Instead, he can develop his game behind the two starters.
Winfrey has an enviable situation in Cleveland.
The #Browns got a DAWG in DT, Perrion Winfrey. 🐶
In 2021 at OU, he recorded 5.5 Sacks, 11 TFLs, 1 FF, and 29 Pressures. 🔥
Since 2020, he led Big 12 DLs in Pressures with 56. 🧨
He had the 3rd highest Pass Rush Win Rate among Draft Eligible Power 5 DTs at 13.7%. pic.twitter.com/ju5fIVcMfd
— The Hottest Take (@Hottest_TakePod) May 18, 2022
He gets to lineup alongside one of the league’s most prolific rushers in Myles Garrett.
Further, Winfrey will likely get the chance to start beside Garrett, unless the team goes out and nabs a veteran to play ahead of him.
Winfrey is a strong rusher in his own right, capable of applying pressure to the quarterback, just like he did at the Senior Bowl before the draft.
Winfrey’s impact goes beyond just individual stats, however.
If Winfrey can alleviate some of Garrett’s responsibility, or force offenses to gameplan around both players, then Winfrey’s impact will be all the greater.
Ultimately, offenses are always going to pick Garrett to double or target as the main guy.
But that could leave the door open to Winfrey to make his own individual impact, which in turn, could force offenses to weaken coverage against Garrett.
It’s a win-win.
Winfrey is a valuable pass rusher, and if he can put it all together, he and Garrett could give opposing offenses fits.
Despite the optics of picking a kicker, the Browns had a very clear need for the position heading into the draft.
And if the metric truly is impact, how could a player not involved in 100% of his position’s snaps not qualify?
How might last season have differed had the Browns not been forced to go for it on offense because of a complete lack of faith in the kicking unit?
Five games last season were losses by five points or fewer.
Not saying a competent kicker would have altered the course of five games, but what about just two or three?
A kicker isn’t going to help a team up its sack numbers or throw bombs to receivers downfield.
But, as we saw with the Bengals last season, a kicker 100% has the chance to impact a team’s success.