STARKVILLE, Miss. — After trading down on Friday night, the Cleveland Browns used their first draft pick of the 2022 NFL Draft to select Mississippi State cornerback Martin Emerson with the 68th overall pick in the third round.
Emerson was selected a day after MSU offensive tackle Charles Cross became the highest drafted MSU offensive lineman ever, going No. 9 overall to the Seattle Seahawks. MSU’s last cornerback to be drafted was Cameron Dantzler in 2020 by the Minnesota Vikings.
Emerson, a native of Pensacola, Florida, was a three-year starter for the Bulldogs. In 36 career games, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder recorded 154 tackles, 16 pass breakups and one interception. His 89.6 coverage grade by Pro Football Focus was the second-highest by a Southeastern Conference cornerback since 2020.
As a junior in 2021, Emerson recorded 50 tackles, three for loss and three pass breakups. He was only targeted on 50 of 375 snaps in coverage (13.3%). As a sophomore, he led the Bulldogs with 11 pass breakups to go with 72 tackles and 1 1⁄2 tackles for loss. He graded as the No. 7 cornerback in the nation and No. 3 in the SEC with an 82.9 coverage grade. He started five of 13 appearances as a true freshman and tallied 32 tackles, 1 1⁄2 tackles for loss and one interception.
Emerson prepped at Pine Forest High School and was a three-star prospect. He accumulated 149 tackles, eight pass breakups, one forced fumble and one interception over his final two high school seasons. He earned Pensacola News Journal All-Area honors as a junior and senior.