The following is an excerpt from Warren Sharp’s 2024 Football Preview book. In addition to Warren’s deep, detailed write-up on all 32 NFL teams, each chapter features page after page of full-color charts, stats, and heatmaps as well as draft class analysis from Ryan McCrystal. Click here for a full FREE chapter from the 2024 Football Preview.

With 2024 NFL training camps on the horizon, we’re starting to understand how 2024 NFL draft classes will impact each roster this season.

Let’s look at the Cleveland Browns, breaking down the most likely instant-impact rookies from each class, while also providing some insight into why certain early picks may not see the field.

Who are the Cleveland Browns rookies?

  • Michael Hall Jr. — DT — Round 2
  • Zak Zinter — OG — Round 3
  • Jamari Thrash — WR — Round 5
  • Nathaniel Watson — LB — Round 6
  • Myles Harden — CB — Round 7
  • Jowon Briggs — DT — Round 7

Cleveland Browns Draft Class Grade:

The Cleveland Browns received a C draft grade from Sharp Football.

Which Browns Rookies Will Make An Impact?

The Browns blended need, value, and upside perfectly with the selection of Michael Hall Jr. (second round). Hall was one of two Power Five interior pass rushers (also Washington second-round pick Jer’Zhan Newton) to generate a pressure rate of 10% or higher in each of the last two seasons. And Hall didn’t even turn 21 until June. Hall will work into the defensive line rotation in the short term, potentially pushing for the starting gig. 

Zak Zinter (third round) was a surprising choice as all three of Cleveland’s starting interior linemen are under contract through 2025. Perhaps the Browns anticipate needing to make some tough salary cap decisions next offseason with both Wyatt Teller and Joel Bitonio set to cost over $20 million against the cap. 

Zinter is recovering from a broken leg which required surgery, so it’s unclear how much help he’ll be in 2024. He could potentially serve as a backup at all three interior line spots. Even if healthy, this selection may have been considered a reach. Zinter appears to lack the power to contribute at a high level in the run game. Michigan averaged 1.8 yards before contact per attempt when running to Zinter’s gap last year, the lowest rate of their five starting lineman and 18th out of 32 Big Ten guards. 

Presumably, the Browns have a plan for Jamari Thrash (fifth round) otherwise they wouldn’t have added him to the mix. However, he’s probably competing with David Bell for the final spot at receiver on the 53-man roster. Thrash generated 27% more yards after the catch than expected last season based on route-adjusted data. Based on that skill set, he would be a natural fit as a backup to Elijah Moore

Linebacker Nathaniel Watson (sixth round) adds depth at a position of need, and his production as a three-year starter at Mississippi State is worth betting on. Poor testing numbers and a history of off-field incidents contributed to him sitting on the board late into Day 3. Watson’s 6.6% missed tackle rate was the second lowest in the SEC last year (minimum 75 attempts). 

Myles Harden (seventh round) is a developmental cornerback prospect who spent four years as a starter at South Dakota but missed significant time due to multiple injuries. The Browns have a deep secondary, so Harden needs to prove his worth on special teams to make the roster. 

Adding Jowon Briggs (seventh round) felt like overkill after adding Hall on Day 2. Cleveland has a veteran group at defensive tackle, so some youth was needed, but it will be difficult for Briggs to crack the 53-man roster unless one of the veterans gets cut.

This was the final year the Browns were short on draft picks due to the Deshaun Watson trade, so we knew going in this would be a light class for Cleveland. However, only one player (Hall) has a clear path to a starting job in 2024 or 2025. This draft class makes almost no impact on Cleveland’s outlook for 2024, and it would be mildly surprising if it produced more than one long-term starter.

This analysis continues in the 2024 Football Preview

Order Warren Sharp’s 2024 Football Preview to get draft class analysis for all 32 NFL teams.

Warren Sharp’s 500+ page full-color PDF, the 2024 Football Preview, is unlike anything you have previously read. Stunning visualizations, including new heat maps, are built with the reader in mind. Innovative, next-level thought process abounds in every team chapter and article.

Get Warren’s Book for $34.99

Order Book

Warren Sharp’s book shares insights into the players, coaches, teams, and philosophies with one goal: to prepare you for the 2024 NFL season with the smartest information delivered in the fastest, most direct way possible for optimal reviewing and retention.

  • Team Chapters previews are in-depth, data driven & full of actionable info
  • Fantasy Football player profiles, predictions, and ranks
  • Vegas Odds forecast team wins, division rankings, lines for all 2024 games
  • Coaching strategic advice for teams, play calling analysis & team tendencies
  • Front Office Analysis positional spending, roster construction & cap analysis
  • Reasons to bet over/under win totals & analysis of futures betting market
  • Rookie draft class deep dive into impact for every team
  • Rankings for every positional unit on every team with analysis
Draft Class Analysis for All 32 Teams
Arizona Cardinals
Atlanta Falcons
Baltimore Ravens
Buffalo Bills
Carolina Panthers
Chicago Bears
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Denver Broncos
Dallas Cowboys
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Rams
Miami Dolphins
Minnesota Vikings
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants
New York Jets
Philadelphia Eagles
Pittsburgh Steelers
Seattle Seahawks
San Francisco 49ers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tennessee Titans
Washington Commanders