Apr 25, 2024 - Sports

Browns can finally move past Deshaun Watson trade at NFL draft

An NFL Draft helmet sits on a table at the draft in Detroit.

Photo: Perry Knotts/Getty Images

The NFL draft kicks off Thursday night in Detroit giving NFL teams a chance to secure their futures and improve their playoff chances for next season.

Why it matters: The draft brings an end to the polarizing Deshaun Watson trade saga for the Browns.

  • In 2020, Cleveland traded first-round draft picks in 2022, 2023 and 2024, as well as a 2022 fourth-round pick, a 2023 third-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick to the Houston Texans for Watson.
  • Without a first-round pick this year, the Browns will either have to trade up for a top prospect or get creative with their other six picks.

Zoom in: The Browns won't make their first pick until Friday. They have the No. 54, 85, 156, 206, 227 and 243 picks.

  • Cleveland will probably prioritize defense and could look to a player like Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Hall Jr. or Michigan's Kris Jenkins if they're available in the second round.

Zoom out: The first round will be all about quarterbacks — USC's Caleb Williams, LSU's Jayden Daniels and North Carolina's Drake Maye are expected to be the top three picks.

  • Ohio State star wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. could go as high as fourth.

What's next: Barring another trade, the Browns will have a first-round pick again in 2025.

How to watch: The draft will air live Thursday at 8pm on ABC, ESPN and the NFL Network.

Go deeper: Downtown Detroit businesses brace for NFL draft crowds

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