After many wondering what the status of Deion Jones would be after completing the four week IR requirement, the Atlanta Falcons have found the solution: a trade. According to a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Falcons have dealt him to the Cleveland Browns.
Jones never seemed to find his footing in Dean Pees’s defense and his contract started to be a point of contention for many fans. While the play of Jones had dipped, he was a certified star during the early days of the Quinn era. He was an interception machine and if not for injuries, his dominance may have continued to reign.
We wish Deion Jones all the best in his new venture with the Browns in the wake of this trade. So let’s remember the good times and watch one of his more memorable interceptions below.
What do you think about the Falcons decision to trade Deion Jones? Let us know in the comments, and follow the entire ATB Falcons crew @falcons_atb on Twitter!
The Big Ben and Joe Flacco days are over in the AFC North now, but it is still one of the closest divisions in the NFL. Four teams with elite superstars believe they can win it this year. Let’s take a look at what each team did this offseason, and what to expect from each AFC North team in our final preview before Sunday’s kickoff.
AFC North Preview
4. Cleveland Browns
Key losses – WR Rashard Higgins, CB M.J. Stewart, FB Andy Janovich, WR Jarvis Landry, TE Austin Hooper, C J.C. Tretter, QB Baker Mayfield, QB Case Keenum, LB Mack Wilson
Key additions – WR Jakeem Grant, QB Jacoby Brissett, QB Deshaun Watson, DT Taven Bryan, P Corey Bojorquez, C Ethan Pocic, WR Amari Cooper, DE Chase Winovich, CB Martin Emerson, LB Alex Wright, WR David Bell, K Cade York
Re-signed – DE Jadeveon Clowney (1-year), S Ronnie Harrison (1-year). RB D’Ernest Johnson (1-year), LB Anthony Walker Jr. (1-year)
Extensions – TE David Njoku (4-years, $56 million), CB Denzel Ward (5-years, $100 million), QB Deshaun Watson (5-years, $230 million)
Needless to say, it was a rough 2021 for the Browns as they finished 8-9. Even so, this off-season could’ve been even worse. They brought in some talent, but also criticism, by trading for quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson will be suspended for the first 11 games of the season after receiving a huge contract and that could prove to be detrimental.
After a season ranked 18th in the NFL, the Browns offense could get off to a rough start. Due to Watson’s suspension, they will have Jacoby Brissett starting under center. They have a top-tier offensive line, but Brissett’s inability to be a quality starter will hold the offense back. They brought in receiver Amari Cooper to help, but with Donovan Peoples-Jones as your #2, they will be a bottom-tier group.
The line will help in the run game though. With the duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, they should be a top rushing team again. Harrison Bryant is back to try and prove he can be the long-term starter at tight end. This offense will struggle with Brissett, but should be top-ten with Watson.
The defense ranked third last season in total defense and will look to continue to repeat that success. The line has elite defensive end Myles Garrett, but I’m not sold on the other pieces there. Garrett can bolster them to a top-15 group, maximum. They have a nice linebacker room with Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah next to Anthony Walker, who should have a good season this year.
Their secondary is very good, with Denzel Ward being a star at cornerback. Greedy Williams and Greg Newsome II played great in coverage last season and could improve. The safety tandem is solid, even after a rough season last year from John Johnson III. This defense could fall from its ranking last season but should still be top-15.
This team would’ve been a playoff contender if it wasn’t for the Watson suspension. Since it happened, I have them finishing 6-11, and 3-3 against the AFC North. A bad start will hinder their chances.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
Key losses – WR James Washington, ILB Joe Schobert, WR Juju Smith-Schuster, QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Ray-Ray McCloud, OG Trai Turner
Key additions – OG James Daniels, ILB Myles Jack, C Mason Cole, QB Mitchell Trubisky, CB Levi Wallace, WR/ST Gunner Olszewski, S Damontae Kazee, DT Larry Ogunjobi, OL Jesse Davis, LB Malik Reed, QB Kenny Pickett, WR George Pickens, DL Demarvin Leal
Re-signed – CB Ahkello Witherspoon (2-years), S Terrell Edmunds (1-year)
Extensions – WR Diontae Johnson (2-years, $36 million)
Ben Roethlisberger’s last season ended after going 9-7-1, squeaking into the playoffs. They move now to quarterbacks Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett to compete for the job. Head coach Mike Tomlin is back looking to keep his streak alive of not having a losing season. However, it will be tough to do that in a loaded AFC.
Big Ben’s last year was anything but pretty. They finished 23rd in total offense, and they may have gotten worse. Wideout Juju Smith-Schuster left for Kansas City, and we don’t know how good — or not good — Trubisky or Pickett will be. Trubisky is starting week one, but with a bottom-three offensive line, he’ll have a tough time keeping the job.
Najee Harris is looking to improve on his 3.9 yards per carry last season. He showed signs of being a superstar in this league and will need to improve to keep that “future superstar” narrative.
The receiving corps is solid with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. They’re getting help from rookie receiver George Pickens, who has looked good so far. They’ll also have Pat Freiermuth at tight end, and he is looking to prove he can be the long-term option there.
The defense took a step back last season, and I expect them to remain in a similar spot. They ranked 24th in the league, but have one of the best pass rushes in the league. T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward lead the way as some of the NFL’s best at their positions. A top-five line is followed by an improved linebacker room. Bringing in Myles Jack to play alongside Devin Bush could be a real force this season.
The secondary is what hurts the Steelers, and in a pass heavy league, that is not good. Levi Wallace is with Cameron Sutton and Ahkello Witherspoon, which creates a lackluster cornerback group. Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds is a great duo at safety, but I’m just not sure they can make up for the cornerbacks.
A new quarterback behind a bad offensive line will lead to a bad offense in 2022, and I believe Mike Tomlin’s streak will end. I have the Steelers going 7-10 after finishing 2-4 against the AFC North. The only chance at the playoffs is their defense carrying them.
2. Cincinnati Bengals
Key losses – OT Riley Reiff, TE C.J. Uzomah, OG Quinton Spain
Key additions – OT La’el Collins, C Ted Karras, TE Hayden Hurst, OG Alex Cappa, S Daxton Hill, CB Cam Taylor-Britt, DL Zachary Carter, C Ted Karras
Re-signed – CB Eli Apple (1-year), DT Josh Tupou (1-year), WR Stanley Morgan (2-years), QB Brandon Allen (1-year), Jessie Bates (Franchise Tag), DT B.J. Hill (3-years)
Extensions – HC Zac Taylor (5-years)
The Bengals reached the Super Bowl last season, and head coach Zac Taylor was rewarded with a 5-year extension. Even after last year’s run, they added more talent to their roster. Yet, they are still not looked at as real contenders. They finished 10-7 last season, so we’ll have to see if they can improve on that.
The offense is almost identical to last season with quarterback Joe Burrow leading the way. They finished 13th in the NFL last season in total offense after a monster season by Ja’Marr Chase. He is the center of one of the top receiving corps in the league. Burrow and Chase have the highest expectations for a QB-WR duo this season.
The offensive line has improved over the years, and is finally top-ten. They spent big there in free agency, and it should pay off. Three big moves in La’el Collins, Ted Karras, and Alex Cappa will help open up holes for running back Joe Mixon. This offense is going to keep getting better as their guys get more experience.
The Bengals finished 18th in total defense after ranking 26th in passing defense. They should still be solid against the run with great linebackers and defensive line. Germaine Pratt and Logan Wilson are looking to build off a strong 2021 as the starting linebackers. The strong season helped lead them to a fifth-ranked finish against the run.
The secondary is much improved with rookie safety Daxton Hill coming in. He will work with and next to an amazing duo of Jessie Bates III and Von Bell. Mike Hilton led the corners, and Chidobe Awuzie showed he can be the #2 in Cincy. Eli Apple has been inconsistent, but provides some help behind Hilton and Awuzie.
The national media isn’t sold on the Bengals, and neither am I. However, they will make the playoffs at 11-6, while going 4-2 against the AFC North. It was a surprise to see a Super Bowl run last year, and I would be surprised again this season.
1. Baltimore Ravens
Key losses – WR Marquise Brown, C Bradley Bozeman, CB Tavon Young, LB Chris Board, S Deshon Elliott, WR Sammy Watkins, CB Anthony Averett, P Sam Koch, OLB Jaylon Ferguson, DC Don Martindale
Key additions – S Marcus Williams, OT Morgan Moses, DT Michael Pierce, RB Mike Davis, CB Kyle Fuller, RB Kenyan Drake, S Kyle Hamilton, C Tyler Linderbaum, OLB David Ojabo, DT Travis Jones, P Jordan Stout
Re-signed – FB Patrick Richard (3-years), ILB Josh Bynes (1-year), DE Calais Campbell (2-years), DE Justin Houston (1-year)
Extensions – K Justin Tucker (4-years, $24 million), HC John Harbaugh (3-years)
It was a tough season for the Ravens last year, as they finished 8-9 and last in the AFC North. It felt like injury after injury for them, but now they are back and healthy. They traded away wideout Marquise Brown, as he wasn’t loving his time in Baltimore. With Lamar healthy and ready to go, they are looking to make it back to the playoffs.
Baltimore ranked sixth in total offense last season behind another great rushing attack. Lamar Jackson is looking to return to MVP form after a battle-filled 2021. Their offensive line has the potential to be great with Ronnie Stanley and Morgan Moses as the starting tackles. This will help the run-heavy Ravens wear down defenses with running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mike Davis.
The receiver room got weaker with the trade of Brown, but they still have some guys to watch. Rashod Bateman showed flashes of being able to be a #1 WR, but Devin Duvernay and Demarcus Robinson behind him could hold the group back. Tight end Mark Andrews is looking to continue being elite, as he’ll open up the field for Lamar.
The defense struggled last year, ranking 24th in total defense. The secondary should be back to being elite with Marcus Peters coming back from missing all of last season. With one of the best corners in Marlon Humphrey next to him, the cornerbacks are looking like the best group in the league. Marcus Williams joins the safety group alongside rookie Kyle Hamilton to create a scary tandem.
The defensive line is still solid with Calais Campbell and Michael Pierce. I’m waiting for Patrick Queen’s monster season, and it could be this year. The linebacker room is above average with Josh Bynes next to him. This defense is healthy again and should be top-five in the league.
I believe people are forgetting how good Lamar Jackson is. They are contenders, when healthy, and we’re going to be reminded about that this season. I have the Ravens finishing 12-5 after going 2-4 against the AFC North.
Kareem Hunt has been rumored to be traded, and a trade to the Miami Dolphins could potentially be a possibility.
The Miami Dolphins have made several moves at the running back position this offseason, agreeing to terms with free agents Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert and Sony Michel. However, more backs appear to be available, with Kareem Hunt topping the list of backs available to the Miami Dolphins.
Hunt’s trade rumors have begun to circulate following the Browns’ recent backfield moves. After already signing Nick Chubb to an extension last year, they drafted Jerome Ford in the fifth round and gave D’Ernest Johnson (who impressed last year) an extension of his own.
This leaves Hunt, who only has one year left on his deal, as the potential odd man out. While Hunt and Chubb have certainly been a dynamic duo, Cleveland clearly wants to utilize their young pieces. This may leave the former Chiefs star wanting more touches, and thus, being moved. On top of this, Hunt has been “holding in” at practice. Rumors say that he either wants a raise or to be traded.
The Miami Dolphins, who have had a talent deficiency at running back over the last two seasons, were naturally connected to Hunt, and for good reason. His ability to make plays out of the backfield is among the best in the league, and provides a dynamic skillset the team has lacked.
Is it Practical?
However, I mentioned earlier, the Dolphins have already made several moves at their running back position. These signings clearly have them leaning towards a running back by committee, similar to Mike McDaniel’s San Francisco scheme. This makes little sense for Hunt, however, who is already coming from a similar situation. While Hunt would be the most talented back, he would still have to split touches with at least three others. That likely wouldn’t work for Hunt, who would seek an increased workload and more money if he was to be moved. Miami likely has already allocated too many assets to other backs to put money and picks into a Hunt trade.
The Bottom Line on Kareem Hunt and the Miami Dolphins
However, the timing is at it’s worst for Miami. Hunt is extremely talented, and likely will see high production wherever he goes, it’s just unlikely to be with Miami. Their room is simply too crowded for someone who will demand the touches that Hunt does. They have the capital to make the deal, but already have allocated so many assets to the position.
Miami has more than capable backs in Mostert, Edmonds, Michel, Myles Gaskin and Savlon Ahmed, and we can expect to see them divvy up touches come the start of the season.
The Cleveland Browns have a multitude of picks on Day 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft. They have pick 108, 118, and 124 in the fourth round, as well as pick 202 in the sixth round and picks 223 and 246 in the seventh round. I would be surprised if the Browns used all of these picks. Expect something to either be packaged together to move up in the draft or to be exchanged for future capital. You can check out our recap of the Browns Day 2 moves. Unlike our Day 2 Fits article, we will not be going pick-by-pick in our Browns Day 3 fits article, as a lot of them will overlap. With that said, let’s get into the Browns Day 3 fits.
As always, all RAS cards come courtesy of our friend Kent Lee Platte and his website ras.football.
Browns Day 3 Fits
Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma
The Browns passed on Perrion Winfrey multiple times on Day 2. He is by far the best player still available at the top of the fourth round. Winfrey played as a nose tackle at Oklahoma, but showcased his ability to be a penetrating three-technique at the Senior Bowl.
John Ridgeway, Arkansas
John Ridgeway is an interesting nose tackle prospect. He has the look and toughness necessary to be a solid, early-down rotational defensive tackle. His age may be a disqualifier, as he will turn 23 on May 7.
Thomas Booker, Stanford
Stanford’s Thomas Booker fits a lot of the Browns markers for day three picks. Booker can be a developmental three-technique. He is an incredible athlete for the position.
Christopher Hinton, Michigan
Chris Hinton is a solid athlete for the position, and possess strong hands. He is a developmental pick, but is one of the younger players available on day three at the position.
Cade Otton, Washington
Cade Otton is not only the youngest of the four tight ends on the list, but also the best. Otton is my personal tight end one, and would be a fantastic plug-and-play replacement for Austin Hooper. He adds more run-after-catch ability than Hooper.
Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina
Isaiah Likely did not test well, but he is a talented player who can be useful due to his versatility. He is a good blocker in addition to his receiver ability, and can line up in a variety of positions.
Chigoziem Okonkwo, Maryland
Maryland’s Chigoziem Okonkwo is an above average athlete who is undersized for the position. Okonkwo can line up anywhere except in-line tight end and could be useful as a multi-positional player, as either a third tight end or a fullback.
Daniel Bellinger, San Diego State
Bellinger is not a player I watched, but his athletic profile makes him a target for the Browns. He was productive in college and is sure handed.
Leon O’Neal Jr, Texas A&M
Both of these safeties either don’t fit or are near not fitting the Browns typical age constraints they’ve shown under Andrew Berry. However, both will most likely be available in rounds six and seven and are much better players than that on tape.
Leon O’Neal Jr. is a good strong safety who is best coming downhill, both against the run and to play in underneath zones. He is probably best in a cover three heavy scheme with some man-to-man mixed in, such as the Cowboys, but he can be used in a variety of ways. O’Neal has shown flashes of two-high ability and can be a rotational safety for a team that doesn’t run a lot of cover three or man. He has tackling issues due to poor form at times, but brings power to every tackle.
He will fall due to his subpar forty-yard-dash time at his pro day, but his other athletic testing was solid.
Brad Hawkins, Michigan
Brad Hawkins is another older prospect who has good instincts as a free safety. Michigan trusted him to play single-high often, despite having Daxton Hill on the team. He is extremely experienced and can be a rotational safety found in round seven.
Kingsley Enagbare, South Carolina
South Carolina’s Kingsley Enagbare has the hand power, size, and production to be a successful base end in the NFL. He is an ideal 5-technique, but has fallen due to his lack of lateral mobility and poor technique.
Tyreke Smith, Ohio State
Tyreke Smith is a solid athlete who has some pass rush upside. Smith can come in and compete with Chase Winovich for the fourth pass rusher spot on the roster.
Brandon Smith, Penn State
Freak athlete Brandon Smith needs to improve on both the technical and mental aspects of the game. Smith can be a developmental MIKE linebacker behind Jacob Phillips and Anthony Walker.
Damone Clark, LSU
LSU’s Damone Clark has fallen in the draft due to an injury that will most likely keep him out for the entirety of his rookie season. He is talented enough to have gone in the third round based on tape, but may be available much later on day three.
Kyle Philips, UCLA
UCLA’s Kyle Philips is an immediate starter in the slot and can be productive for a long time. Phillips is my personal top available wide receiver.
Khalil Shakir, Boise State
Boise State’s Khalil Shakir is a versatile receiver who can do whatever you ask of him. He is most likely a fourth-round selection.
Romeo Doubs, Nevada
Romeo Doubs played in an air raid offense that allowed for only a limited route tree. Doubs did display some big play ability. He will probably go before he should, and wouldn’t be a good value.
The Cleveland Browns came into Day 2 with three selections on the day. They made a trade while still selecting three players and adding two additional Day 3 assets. Cleveland came in without a lot of major holes to fill, and selected players to fill two of their top three needs.
To see how this compares to our various mock draft scenarios, read our Browns Mock Draft 3.0. For information regarding some other players the Browns may have considered, as well as one they selected, see our Browns Day Two Fits. With that being said, let’s get into the 2022 Browns day two recap.
The differential is quite obvious, with the Texans winning the equivalent of the 105th pick in the Jimmy Johnson chart and the Browns winning the equivalent of the 56th overall selection according to the Fitzgerald-Spielberger trade chart. While the trade moved the Browns past a lot of top targets, they did pick up a lot of additional value.
Trade Grade: B-
Pick 68: Martin Emerson, DB, Mississippi State
The Cleveland Browns selected Martin Emerson from Mississippi State at 68 overall. With that selection, the Browns passed on an extremely talented defensive tackle in Travis Jones, whom the Ravens selected at pick 75. The Browns also traded out of range to select great talents like Drake Jackson, David Ojabo, George Pickens, John Metchie III, and Skyy Moore at positions of need.
However, Emerson himself is a very talented player. He was the eighth-best cornerback on my personal board. Emerson may also provide safety versatility, which is important for the Browns. He is an average athlete speed-wise, but possesses great size and length for the position as well as good lateral mobility. Emerson struggles in man-to-man coverage. His best traits are his zone instincts, which is why he may be a solid safety.
Pick Grade: B+
Pick 78: Alex Wright, EDGE, UAB
Cleveland needed an edge rusher badly, even if they end up re-signing Jadeveon Clowney, which seems likely. Alex Wright is a high-upside edge rusher who can come in and be a quality third edge. While Wright lacks tape against high-level competition, he was extremely productive and showed good traits on film.
Analytical teams are sure to love Wright, and it’s understandable why they made the selection. While it was a bit of a reach for me relative to where I thought he would go (had him pegged for the 99th selection), the value itself is not bad. Other players in consideration at edge rusher at this pick were Cameron Thomas and Kingsley Enagbare, both of which are in the same tier as Wright. Wright definitely has more upside than those two, which is most likely why the Browns selected him.
Pick Grade: B
Pick 99: David Bell, WR, Purdue
David Bell is an extremely productive receiver who has been a good player since he entered college for Purdue. Bell is physical and technically refined. However, he’s a below-average athlete at a position filled with freak athletes. The fans are sure to be excited for his arrival, as Ohio State receiver’s coach Brian Hartline tweeted his support of going up to get him prior to the Browns’ selection of Bell.
He is going to come in and be an immediate contributor to their wide receiver room. While he was not my personal top receiver on the board (that honor is still held by Kyle Philips) he is in a similar range.
From an analytics perspective, David Bell is an absolute steal at this slot. Bell’s run-blocking grade from PFF has improved every season. Bell’s comparisons from an analytical perspective are very favorable. PFF’s Kevin Cole wrote a comparison piece on Bell that compared him favorably to top NFL wide receivers like Keenan Allen and Jarvis Landry.
Pick Grade: B-
Browns Day Two Recap
The Browns made three selections all of which were favorable values. They passed on a lot of very good players, but the picks were still solid. The Browns filled a majority of their needs, now only really needing an additional defensive tackle as well as depth pieces. Overall, it was a good but not great draft day for the Browns.