Cleveland Browns Rookie Forecast 2024

Michael Hall Jr - Rookie Forecast

Solid Starter

Michael Hall Jr., DT, Ohio State – Round 2

The Browns have been filling a consistent void at the defensive tackle position with veteran free agents over the past few years. With their first selection of the 2024 NFL Draft, Cleveland decided to find a potential long-term starter with Hall. Before long, Hall could be a dangerous three technique in the Browns defense.

For the NFL, Hall is a true three technique gap shooting interior defensive tackle. In the pass rush, Hall is quick off the ball and a capable three technique to line up over the outside shoulder of the guard. Hall uses his quick first step to fire his gap and get penetration upfield. With his burst to fire into the backfield, Hall has real ability to create disruption in the backfield while denying quarterbacks the ability to step up in the pocket. Hall also has some athleticism to redirect and adjust to scrambling quarterbacks. Hall is not stiff and has loose hips to change direction. While Hall is quick, he also has some upper strength to slap hands away while working to upfield to get after quarterbacks.

As a run defender, Hall is at his best firing his gap and trying to cause disruption in the backfield. In the college game he held up well as a nose tackle despite being undersized. However given his weight, he could have issues with mass and defending downhill runs coming straight at him at the pro level.

If it weren’t for significant character concerns that caused some teams to drop him off their board, Hall could have been a first-round pick. The Browns were a great landing spot as Hall could provide a big impact lining up next to Myles Garrett. After getting adjusted to the NFL, Hall has the physical talent to at least be a solid starter.

2023: Cedric Tillman, WR
2022: Martin Emerson, CB
2021: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB
2020: Jordan Elliott, DT
2019: Mack Wilson, LB
2018: Denzel Ward, CB
2017: David Njoku, TE
2016: Carl Nassib, DE
2015: Danny Shelton, DT
2014: Justin Gilbert, CB
2013: Leon McFadden, CB

Most Likely To Bust

Zak Zinter, G, Michigan – Round 3

The Browns added some offensive line depth with Zinter in the third round. While he had some media hype during the college football season as an early-round prospect, Zinter has some limitations and teams were not as high on him.

Zinter was a quality pass protector for Michigan during his collegiate career. He has strong hands that rock defenders and often knock them off balance to slow them down. Those strong hands also help him to sustain blocks and prevent second efforts from being effective. However, Zinter has some limitations for the NFL as he has some tightness and is limited athletically. Pro speed rushes will probably give Zinter problems and he will have to improve on that for the next level.

Zinter was a steady run blocker for Michigan as the Wolverines had a lot of success running behind him. He is strong at the point of attack with heavy hands to rock back defenders. With his large build and developed upper body, Zinter can drive block and get a push. He does have some issues with bending at the waist at time and that can limit his push in the ground game. Along with that issue, Zinter lumbers in space and is not a guard that is going to move well around the field. Thus, he is a better fit as a power man blocker rather than a zone based scheme.

Third-round picks are expected to be backups that eventually grow into a starting role. Right now, the Browns are set with their starting guards of Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller. Perhaps they drafted Zinter with the idea of grooming Zinter to replace Bitonio or Teller. Teams think ahead to get younger and cheaper starters, but I’m not sure Zinter can grow into that role. He will have to improve his ability to handle speed rushers and it would not surprise me if Zinter tops out as just a backup.

2023: None
2022: David Bell, WR
2021: Anthony Schwartz, WR
2020: Grant Delpit, S
2019: Sione Takitaki, LB
2018: Antonio Callaway, WR
2017: Jabrill Peppers, S
2016: Corey Coleman, WR
2015: Xavier Cooper, DT
2014: Christian Kirksey, LB
2013: Barkevious Mingo, LB

Potential Boom Pick


The Browns were without a first-round pick thanks to the Deshaun Watson trade. After the 2024 NFL Draft, Cleveland is finished paying off that deal having sent three first-round picks for the Texans. While I do not see a potential boom pick from this draft class, I think all things considered Cleveland has drafted pretty well without a first-round pick over the past three years.

2023: None
2022: None
2021: Greg Newsome, CB
2020: Jedrick Wills, OT
2019: Greedy Williams, CB
2018: Nick Chubb, RB
2017: Myles Garrett, DE
2016: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE
2015: Cam Erving, C
2014: Johnny Manziel, QB
2013: Jamoris Slaughter, S

ster Williams, DE

Future Depth Player

Jamari Thrash, WR, Louisville – Round 5

The Browns have a starting trio heading into the 2024 season with Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore, and Jerry Jeudy. However, Cooper and Jeudy have had a lot of injuries throughout their career. Moore has yet to establish himself as a dangerous receiver as well. Thrash will come in and compete with recent third-round picks Cedric Tillman and David Bell. If the Browns were optimistic about those two becoming starters, they probably would not have traded significant draft picks for Jeudy. Hence, Thrash could have a real shot to be a contributing backup for Cleveland.

2023: Siaki Ika, DT
2022: Perrion Winfrey, DT
2021: Richard LeCounte, S
2020: Jacob Phillips, LB
2019: Sheldrick Redwine, S
2018: Chad Thomas, DE
2017: Larry Ogunjobi, DT
2016: Cody Kessler, QB
2015: Duke Johnson, RB
2014: Pierre Desir, CB
2013: Garrett Gilkey, OT