The Cleveland Browns made a huge move last offseason and traded for embattled quarterback Deshaun Watson. Things weren’t great in year one, as the QB served an 11-game suspension, and the team went 7-10. Now the team must find a way to improve without a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. One of the biggest winners of the NFL Scouting Combine was West Virginia wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton, who should be available when Cleveland makes its first pick. Here is why a Bryce Ford-Wheaton Browns pick is a perfect fit.

Bryce Ford-Wheaton is a perfect fit for the Browns roster in NFL Draft

Deshaun Watson’s first year with the Browns didn’t go great, but most people didn’t expect it to. The QB looked rusty after nearly two full years off, and his wide receiver situation didn’t help.

Amari Cooper got back to his 1,000-yard from after a dip during his last season in Dallas. However, he was better with Jacoby Brissett than Watson. Cooper had just one game with his franchise QB where he went over 75 yards, and that was his three-catch, two-touchdown, 105-yard performance vs. the Washington Commanders.

Behind Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones was OK, and the rest of the wideouts — David Bell, Michael Woods, Anthony Schwartz, and Daylen Baldwin — weren’t great. Those four WRs had 380 yards combined on the season.

Getting a WR2 who, ideally, could become a WR1 someday to replace Cooper in the 2023 NFL Draft should be a top priority for the Browns. That won’t be easy, though, as the team’s draft starts at No. 42 in the second round thanks to the Watson trade.

The good news is, this isn’t a top-heavy WR NFL draft class, but it is a relatively deep one. There should be plenty of bargains in the later rounds, and one NFL Scouting Combine star definitely fits that bill.

Bryce Ford-Wheaton from West Virginia came into the NFC Scouting Combine as a solid Day 3 prospect. However, after putting up eye-popping numbers for his size, the Mountaineers WR moved up to the top of Day 3 and maybe even into Day 2.

Any college football fan familiar with Ford-Wheaton’s work knew he is a big guy. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he clocked in at 6-foot-3 3/8, and 221 pounds. And at that size, he ran a blazing 4.38 40-yard dash, which was fourth among all wideouts.

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He also recorded the No. 1 WR vertical jump, the No. 7 3-cone drill, and the No. 3 20-yard shuttle.

All this adds up to the fact that Bryce Ford-Wheaton is an athletic marvel compared to his current fellow prospects. To put it in true context, though, the receiver most matches up with DK Metcalf at his NFL Scouting Combine.

Ford-Wheaton is 3/8-inch taller than Metcalf and just seven pounds lighter. He ran the 40 0.05-seconds slower and jumped 0.5-inches higher than the Seahawks star. Neither was/is a polished WR coming out of college, but both showed enough to prove they can play at the next level.

In Morgantown, Ford-Wheaton had 131 catches for 1,666 yards and 13 touchdowns in 33 games. Those numbers aren’t dissimilar to Metcalf’s 67 catches for 1,228 yards and 14 TDs in 21 games at Ole Miss. Neither one was a finished project heading into their NFL draft, but with the size and athleticism Metcalf had, he was able to adjust to and then dominate the NFL game quickly with some good coaching.

The comparison to DK Metcalf is both because it is apt and to illustrate the point as to why a Bryce Ford-Wheaton Browns pick makes so much sense.

Not picking in the first round of the NFL draft means that the Browns have to take some big swings in the later rounds. They need some home runs in order to improve by leaps and bounds next season. Singles and doubles just won’t cut it.

There will be a lot of wide receivers in the second, third, and fourth rounds who can become solid No. 3s alongside Cooper and Peoples-Jones. However, there are relatively few (if any others) who could be the next DK Metcalf.

After the NFL Scouting Combine he had, it will be worth it for Cleveland to roll the dice on a Bryce Ford-Wheaton Browns pick. If nothing else, he should give Watson and the team a dangerous red zone jump-ball target right off the bat.

And if things go really well, he could be the WR1 type who could eventually surpass Cooper and become the next DeAndre Hopkins for Deshaun Watson, which is what the Browns ultimately need if the QB trade is going to pay off in a perennial playoff or even a Super team.