As the NFL offseason unfolds, the Cleveland Browns are poised to build on the momentum from their promising 2023 season. With the 2024 NFL Draft looming, the Browns have a prime opportunity to enhance their roster. They can potentially uncover hidden talents that could propel them to greater success. In this piece, we explore four relatively unheralded prospects who possess the potential to make a substantial impact for the Browns in the upcoming season.

The Browns' 2023 Season

The Cleveland Browns navigated through a tumultuous 2023 NFL season. Despite an impressive 11-6 record, their playoff aspirations came to an abrupt halt with a decisive loss to the Houston Texans in the Wild Card Round. Nonetheless, the Browns exhibited glimpses of their potential to emerge as a dominant force in the league. They particularly showcased by their top-rated defense in 2023. As they turn their attention to the 2024 NFL Draft, the team aims to build upon their strengths and address areas needing improvement. Making the right moves here could set the stage for a more successful postseason run in the upcoming year.

The lingering disappointment of the Texans defeat will resonate among Browns fans. That said, given the multitude of injuries faced throughout the season, victory expectations were tempered. Instead, fans can reflect on the captivating season that unfolded. Traditionally, Cleveland shifts focus to NFL Draft preparations early in the season. This year, despite limited draft assets and the team's on-field success, Browns mock drafts haven't generated the usual level of interest or urgency.

Browns' Deshaun Watson stands next to Nick Chubb amid contract talks

The Browns' 2024 Draft Context

Once again, the Browns find themselves without a first-round pick in 2024. This is the final year owing to the Watson trade with the Houston Texans, who also possess the Browns' fourth-round selection.

Right now, Cleveland holds second- and third-round picks. Those are in addition to fifth- and sixth-round selections.

General Manager Andrew Berry has seen some success with mid-round picks, though. This suggests the Browns may opt to trade down again in the second round to acquire more selections. If not, offensive tackle and wide receiver emerge as the most logical positions to target.

Considering Jedrick Wills' underwhelming performance and Geron Christian's solid play at left tackle, it's plausible that Cleveland might not retain Wills beyond next season. Thus, selecting a tackle in the second round seems sensible.

Receiver prospects such as Devontez Walker from North Carolina, Adonai Mitchell from Texas, and Ladd McConkey from Georgia also appear viable options on Day 2.

Even with Nick Chubb's potential return for 2024, the Browns may seek to bolster their running back depth. Prospects like Audric Estimé from Notre Dame and Blake Corum from Michigan warrant attention.

Cleveland's aim to replenish its talented defense suggests prospects like Oklahoma linebacker Danny Stutsman, Washington State safety Jaden Hicks, Penn State pass-rusher Adisa Isaac, and Georgia defensive lineman Nazir Stackhouse are likely to draw interest in the mid-rounds.

Here we will look at the four sneaky good players whom the Cleveland Browns must take during the 2024 NFL Draft.

Brandon Dorlus, DT, Oregon

In fortifying the defensive line, Brandon Dorlus emerges as a potential key addition for the Browns. Despite the successful incorporation of a veteran presence by Berry, there remains a consistent necessity to bolster both lines of scrimmage. Dorlus brings a formidable blend of pass-rushing finesse and run-stopping prowess. He would align seamlessly with DC Jim Schwartz’s wide-9 system. His skill set positions him strategically to enhance the Browns' defensive front.

Junior Colson, LB, Michigan

Junior Colson, hailing from Michigan, presents himself as a prospective linchpin for the Browns' defense. Exhibiting prowess in both pass coverage and run defense, Colson holds promise to fill a vital role within the team's linebacker unit. Yes, Anthony Walker's leadership is commendable. However, the Browns face a scarcity of quality linebackers under contract for the future. Colson's track record of contributions to a championship-caliber defense renders him an enticing prospect.

Malachi Corley, WR, Western Kentucky

Malachi Corley stands out as one of the more interesting receiving prospects from a Group of Five program in this class. He has even earned the moniker “YAC King” due to his dynamic playmaking ability after the catch. Drawing comparisons to Deebo Samuel, Corley's impressive average of 9.2 yards-after-catch over the last two seasons underscores his potential to be a game-changer for the Browns' offense.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers wide receiver Malachi Corley (11) runs the ball against Old Dominion Monarchs linebacker Koa Naotala
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Ladarius Henderson, OT, Arizona State

Ladarius Henderson brings to the table a lengthy wingspan and projects as a future right tackle in the NFL. Demonstrating sound footwork and technique, he already exhibits proficiency as a pass blocker. The Browns stand to gain solid depth with Henderson, who also holds the potential to secure a starting role. However, his tendency to rely excessively on his length occasionally leaves him vulnerable to quicker pass rushers. This surely represents an area for improvement, especially in the competitive environment of the AFC North.

Looking Ahead

As the Cleveland Browns gear up for the challenges and opportunities of the 2024 NFL Draft, the spotlight shines on these four potential game-changers. We have Brandon Dorlus, Junior Colson, Malachi Corley, and Ladarius Henderson. Each prospect offers a unique skill set and the potential to significantly bolster the Browns' roster across different positions. With strategic selections and careful consideration, the Browns have the chance to solidify their foundation and elevate their competitive prowess in the upcoming season. As the draft unfolds, Cleveland fans want to see how their team navigates the draft board. The right picks could secure the talent necessary to propel them toward returning to the NFL playoffs.