Browns take defensive back with their first pick of draft

FILE -Mississippi State cornerback Martin Emerson, left, tackles Georgia wide receiver George Pickens during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Athens, Ga. Georgia wide receiver George Pickens still has a chance to be a major contributor for the Bulldogs this season. The junior who was expected to be third-ranked Georgia's go-to receiver before he tore the ACL in his right knee during spring practice will be available Friday, Dec. 31, 2021 for the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Orange Bowl against No. 2 Michigan. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

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FILE -Mississippi State cornerback Martin Emerson, left, tackles Georgia wide receiver George Pickens during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Athens, Ga. Georgia wide receiver George Pickens still has a chance to be a major contributor for the Bulldogs this season. The junior who was expected to be third-ranked Georgia's go-to receiver before he tore the ACL in his right knee during spring practice will be available Friday, Dec. 31, 2021 for the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Orange Bowl against No. 2 Michigan. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

The Cleveland Browns made their first pick of the 2022 NFL Draft in the third round Friday after trading away their second-round pick an hour earlier.

With the 68th pick overall, they selected former Mississippi State cornerback Martin Emerson.

A three-year starter, Emerson was the left cornerback in defensive coordinator Zach Arnett’s man-and-zone scheme. Despite never earning all-conference honors and logging only one interception, he was consistently one of the top coverage players in the SEC during the last two seasons. He totaled 122 tackles and 14 passes defensed in 23 games over the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Cleveland, which did not have a first-round pick Thursday, traded the 44th pick (second round) to Houston in exchange for three picks (Nos. 68, 108 and 124). The Texans took Alabama wide receiver John Metchie with that second-round selection.

The Browns already were set to make two selections in the third round.

»With the 99th pick overall in the third round, Cleveland selected Purdue wide receiver David Bell, a three-time all-Big Ten player. He was a first team All-American, first team all-conference and Big Ten Wide Receiver of the year in 2021 after catching 93 passes for 1,286 yards and six touchdowns with five drops.

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