Barring a trade, the Cleveland Browns will not be heard from in the 2023 NFL Draft until later Friday evening.
Cleveland did not have a first-round pick this year; they traded that selection (No. 12 overall) along with their third-round selection (No. 73 overall) to the Houston Texans as part of a deal to land quarterback DeShaun Watson.
The Browns traded their second-round pick (42nd overall) to the New York Jets for wide receiver Eli Moore. In that trade, the Browns acquired the Jets’ third-round pick, 74th overall. It’s one of two picks the Browns have in the third round of the draft. Cleveland was also awarded the 98th overall pick under the 2020 Resolution JC-2A deal for developing minority candidates for head coaching or front-office positions.
Heading into the draft’s second day, Cleveland is favored to pick a defensive lineman with their first pick at -135 at FanDuel Sportsbook. The second option is wide receiver at +250, followed by linebacker at +800. Running back (+2000), cornerback (+2000), safety (+2000), offensive lineman (+2000) and tight end (+2900) are all long shots. However, by the 74th teams, begin to start thinking less about needs and more about talent. If the best player on the board is a cornerback, don’t be surprised if the Browns select him.
Watson’s first full season with the Browns comes with some high expectations. He is at +3000 odds to win the NFL MVP despite only playing six games over the past two seasons. But if Watson can replicate his 2020 season when he threw for 4,823 yards and 35 touchdowns for the Texans, that could turn out to be a strong bet. No surprise that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the betting favorite at +650.
Watson is also +3500 to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year. The betting favorite and sentimental favorite for that award is Buffalo cornerback Damar Hamlin, who is well ahead of the field at -650. Defensive lineman Myles Garrett, a second-team All-Pro and NFL sack leader last year, is the co-favorite to win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year at +750. He shares the favorite spot with Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons. Both are slightly ahead of Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt, who is +850.
With a defensive player of the year favorite and top 12 MVP candidate, it’s no surprise the Browns are at +2800 to win the Super Bowl, tied for the 13th-best odds with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Cleveland is -105 to make the playoffs and +360 to win the AFC North.