Sorry PFF, Martin Emerson was not the most surprising player for the Cleveland Browns

PFF claims Martin Emerson was the Cleveland Browns’ most surprising player.

PFF is a useful tool but they aren’t the end all be all of pro football evaluation. They’re to be used sparingly and with proper context, they should not be cited as the gospel of football. So when they sit here and say that Martin Emerson is the “most surprising player” for the Cleveland Browns in 2022, I have to chuckle, because no. He wasn’t.

See, Emerson had a nice PFF grade. That’s neat. He was also the team’s third or fourth corner at times, and in nine of the 17 games, played less than 50 snaps in a game. Usually against the opposing team’s team’s third or fourth receiver.

He played well against third and fourth-string guys, posting a PFF grade of 72.5. He wasn’t covering the Ja’Marr Chases of the NFL, but as a third-round rookie, he played very well. He played as well as you’d expect from a third-rounder to play. Maybe that’s so a novel of an idea because most of the Browns’ 2nd and 3rd rounders since Andrew Berry took over have been so average or flat-out bad, but Emerson played like you’d want someone to in his position.

Maybe I had higher expectations for him, but I wasn’t surprised he did as well as he did. Do you know who did surprise everyone? Jacoby Brissett.

Jacoby Brissett was by far the most positive surprise the Cleveland Browns had

It’s pretty clear to say that Brissett is the biggest surprise this year, right? If it wasn’t for Geno Smith, Brissett would’ve been the “reclamation project” that everyone talked about. Brissett posted an 82.6 for PFF this year, which has him as a Top 10 quarterback (#6). Brissett wasn’t someone I expected such precise from. He truly surprised me.

That doesn’t mean the Browns have a quarterback controversy on their hands, as Brissett is still a limited offensive player, who isn’t going to beat many teams by throwing. But he is a good, smart, and aware player who can keep an offense moving as a piece of the machine, just not the star of it.

And if you want any further proof why PFF’s evaluation of the “biggest surprise”, in the same breath that they say Emerson was the biggest surprise, they also claimed Myles Garrett was tied for the league lead in sacks with 18 sacks. Not only did Garrett not have 18 sacks (16), Nick Bosa led the league with 18.5.

Highest-graded player: EDGE Myles Garrett (92.6)
Garrett once again finished as the NFL’s highest-graded edge rusher, posting a 93.5 pass-rush grade. He finished fifth in pressures (73) but was tied for the lead in sacks (18). Garrett is still the NFL’s best pure pass rusher, and that isn’t changing anytime soon.

Biggest surprise: CB Martin Emerson (72.5)
The 2022 NFL Draft produced several cornerbacks who played well this season, including Sauce Gardner, Tariq Woolen and DaRon Bland. But don’t forget about Emerson, who graded out as the No. 27 cornerback on the season. Despite not recording an interception this season, Emerson allowed just an 85.6 passer rating. Opponents completed only 53.9% of their targets when throwing at Emerson in 2022.

So I think Brissett clearly earned his spot, even if PFF thinks Emerson did.