Cleveland Browns Final NFL Draft Grades 2024: Browns Bolster the Trenches With Michael Hall Jr., Zak Zinter Picks

Operating without a first-round pick for a third straight year, how did the Cleveland Browns do in the 2024 NFL Draft? Here's a look at their grades.

The Cleveland Browns‘ rotating door at the quarterback position didn’t prevent the organization from riding a dominant defense and a magical four-game run from veteran quarterback Joe Flacco to a surprise appearance in the AFC playoffs.

How do the Browns build on that performance without a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft? Let’s delve into Cleveland’s draft grades and how they addressed their needs.

Cleveland Browns 2024 NFL Draft Grades

Round 2, Pick 54: Michael Hall Jr., DT, Ohio State

As exceptional as the Browns’ defense was in 2023, they did have their struggles against opposing rushing attacks who could generate push along the interior of the defensive line. Despite Cleveland being without a first-round pick for a third consecutive year, it still managed to address its biggest need on the defensive side of the ball at No. 54 overall.

Michael Hall Jr. flashes great burst, top-shelf leverage, and violent hands at the point of attack, which gives him plenty of potential entering the league. If he can be a bit more efficient and consistent with his hands on a rep-for-rep basis, he could present a great value in the middle of the second round.

Grade: A-

Round 3, Pick 85: Zak Zinter, G, Michigan

If not for suffering a devastating injury against Ohio State during the 2023 college football season, Michigan guard Zak Zinter may have been in the mix for the best interior offensive line prospect in the class.

This definitely isn’t a need for the Browns’ roster in 2024 with the talented trio of Joel Bitonio, Ethan Pocic, and Wyatt Teller. But Zinter’s extensive experience and ready-made physicality entering the NFL could provide a great depth piece early in his career and eventually step into a starting role down the road.

Grade: B-

Round 5, Pick 156: Jamari Thrash, WR, Louisville

On Day 2, the Browns mostly focused on adding talent in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Yet, in Round 5, they decided to add a vertical playmaker at No. 156 by selecting Louisville wide receiver Jamari Thrash.

MORE: Analysis and Grades for All 7 Rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft

Cleveland acquired Jerry Jeudy from Denver earlier this offseason and has Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore as their projected top three receivers heading into the 2024 NFL season. Nevertheless, Thrash’s top-shelf route-running ability could factor in down the road if he can become a bit more consistent with his hands.

Grade: C+

Round 6, Pick 206: Nathaniel Watson, LB, Mississippi State

The Browns’ rushing defense had its temporary moments of struggles during the 2023 NFL season, which could be aided by their sixth-round selection of Mississippi State linebacker Nathaniel Watson in some capacity in the future.

He is a bit of a throwback Will linebacker in 4-3 schemes with the agility, acceleration, and stopping power to be an effective run defender in the league but likely lacks the ideal twitch and suddenness to be a full-time defender in the NFL.

Grade: C+

Round 7, Pick 227: Myles Harden, CB, South Dakota

Myles Harden may come from a small school, but he plays big against opposing wide receivers. He is a physical menace at the catch point and in run support while showing nuanced timing and precision in playing through a receiver’s hands in contested catch situations. Cornerback may not be a position of need for the Browns, but Cleveland got a very good player at No. 230 overall.

Grade: B

Round 7, Pick 243: Jowon Briggs, DT, Cincinnati

The Browns took one final opportunity to address the interior of the defensive line in the 2024 NFL Draft with the No. 243 overall by selecting Cincinnati defensive tackle Jowon Briggs.

The former Bearcat may not possess the ideal height, hand size, or arm length of his position counterparts — all falling below the 50th percentile at the position — but a powerful punch and first-step quickness give him a useful set of tools to contribute to this defensive line unit as early as the 2024 NFL season.

Grade: B

Cleveland Browns 2024 NFL Draft Summary

The Browns prioritized adding talent along the interior of their defensive line with their top pick at No. 54 overall and selected Ohio State’s Michael Hall Jr. to join Dalvin Tomlinson and Shelby Harris in the defensive tackle rotation.

KEEP READING: Browns UDFA Signings and Rookie Camp Invites

They also added Michigan guard Zak Zinter and Louisville wide receiver Jamari Thrash as potential future contributors in the middle rounds.

Final Grade: B

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