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DraftNerds – 2024 Cleveland Browns Mock Draft

The Browns were an interesting team in 2023 and overcame a lot. Can they find some consistency in players during the 2024 draft?

2023 Season Review

The Browns had a wild ride during the 2023 season. They got off to a hot start due to their defense but would deal with quarterback issues throughout the season. Late in the second half, they would figure it out with Joe Flacco at quarterback and take a round-one exit during the playoffs. The offense averaged at best during the season, but their defense ranked first in the league. The offense failed to support the defense, finishing with a -9 turnover ratio.

As I mentioned, the passing game had five different starting quarterbacks last year. DeShaun Watson tried to play through injuries, but it was clear he needed to be shut down for the season. The team would deal with a rookie and backup veteran for about four games until the team brought in Joe Flacco. Flacco would help ignite this passing offense and have some fantastic games. This would lead to David Njoku having a dominant second half of the season with Flacco as his quarterback. Amari Cooper would finish with 1200 yards, but he is starting to get up in age. The Browns would struggle to find a great second receiver. Elijah Moore was average, and young players like David Bell and Cedric Tillman did not flash much.

The run game saw Nick Chubb’s devasting injury in week two knock him out for the season. The team got solid production from Jerome Ford as the new starter. Kareem Hunt and Pierre Strong mixed in during the season, which was solid. Hunt is a free agent and seems unlikely to return to the team. The team also dealt with a rotation on the offensive line with massive injuries, and they had a next-man-up mentality.

On defense, they were a dominant force. They had 18 interceptions, but no one was genuinely dominant, but as a whole, they were. Myles Garrett had another elite season with over ten sacks, but the next-highest defender only had 5.5 sacks. The team seemed to lose key players on their defensive line, like Jordan Elliott and Shelby Harris.

During the 2024 free agency, the team brought new backup quarterbacks to compete behind Watson. The team would trade a few late-round picks for former bust Jerry Jeudy at receiver. They would get back guard Michael Dunn as well. On Defense, Za’Darius Smith, Jordan Hicks, and Maurice Hurst would all re-sign with the team this offseason.

The 2024 Mock Draft

2.54 Junior Colson, LB Michgan

Since the Browns don’t have a first-round pick, their first pick starts in round two. The Browns select Junior Colson, a linebacker from Michigan. The Browns could use some more youth at that linebacker core. They signed a guy like Devin Bush, but Colson could easily beat him for that starting job.

Colson is a monster on the field, involved in every situation. He is a tough player who will play through anything and make the tackle. His thunder-like tackle makes offensive players nervous. Colson has the speed and explosiveness to be a modern linebacker in this game. He needs to improve on reading offensive schemes more, but coaching should be able to help that. He’ll have the chance to be a day-one starter for the Browns. 

3.85 Maason Smith, DL LSU

The Browns need more depth on the interior defensive line, with some depth pieces left in free agency. Smith was a former five-star recruit coming into college with still a lot of untapped potential. The stats don’t jump off the screen for you, but his presence on the field does. Smith has a quick first step on pass-rush plays. He can leverage blockers off balance and disrupt a play. On run plays, Smith is very agile, able to get to the running back and stop him from making big plays. He has a high motor with a great burst. Smith has a history of missing time in 2021 and 2022 with a shoulder and ACL injury. He could fill as depth and eventually get a starting job.

5.156 Javon Foster, OT Missouri

The Browns need to boost their offensive line, especially with all the injuries last year. Foster is a fifth-year senior who will come in with tons of experience playing left or right tackle. Last season, Foster played 831 snaps and allowed just one sack and no QB hits. Foster thrives on being physical and winning the battle with strength against defenses. He is a solid athlete who made improvements as a pass blocker. The reason Foster is this low is that his footwork is very choppy. He relies too much on his handles, which could cause a boom or bust-like appeal to his game. Foster should fill in nicely as a depth piece but could have chances to play at either tackle spot.

6.206 Isaiah Adams, IOL Illinois

As I mentioned with Foster, the Browns still need offensive line help. Adams fell to the sixth round in a major steal for them. Adams is a two-year starter who has a wide-bodied frame. He plays like an anchor and has solid movement. Adams has been very effective on his pulls and has great body control to get to the angle for running backs. He played a lot of right tackle in 2023, but he could easily play at guard as well. Adams has been inconsistent with defensive players countering his moves. He plays upright too often, which sometimes causes him to get outleveraged. Adams should be a great addition to that offensive line for the Browns.

7.243 Jase McClellan, RB Alabama

The Browns are in a weird situation at running back. Chubb could still be a cap casualty this offseason if they don’t want to pay him after coming off a terrible injury. Jerome Ford is solid but needs a running mate to go with him in an offense. Pierre Strong is just a guy. The Browns have been known for their strong backfield.

McClellan isn’t like most Alabama running backs, but he has some talent for him. He has that explosiveness we want to see in a running back. He can make a defender miss and turn on the jets for a breakaway run. Unfortunately, he is like a one-trick runner and doesn’t possess great vision. He can easily get knocked down by defenders. His lack of production at an elite college makes scouts worried he couldn’t handle a three-down workload. He would be an interesting addition to this strong backfield. 

Fantasy Impact

Unfortunately, the draft does not have a lot of impact on fantasy. McClellan would be a decent first waiver claim off a rookie draft to see if he could be something with the Browns. He would be like Kenny McIntosh from last year. Colson would have some value in the late rounds of IDP drafts to see if he can land a starting job. His strong suit would be his ability to tackle. Smith would likely go undrafted in many IDP rookie drafts.

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