As the dust settles on the Cleveland Browns' rollercoaster 2023 season, the focus shifts toward building on their existing foundation. The 2024 NFL Draft presents a prime opportunity for Cleveland to address key needs, refine their roster, and solidify their aspirations of becoming a dominant force in the AFC. The draft could be the linchpin that propels the Browns from playoff participants to championship contenders.

Cleveland Browns' 2023 Season Recap

The Cleveland Browns entered the 2023 season perched on the edge of playoff contention and ultimately secured a postseason berth with an impressive 11-6 record. Their journey to the playoffs was filled with unexpected challenges and dramatic twists, defying all predictions.

Sure, critical players such as Nick Chubb, Deshaun Watson, Jack Conklin, Jedrick Wills, and Dawand Jones landed on injured reserve. However, the Browns continued to clinch victories. The team surged into the playoffs under the leadership of Joe Flacco. He became their fourth starting quarterback of the season.

The season was nothing short of remarkable for the Browns. They just overcame relentless adversity and refused to let injuries derail their playoff ambitions.

However, the magical season came to a stark end with a 45-14 defeat at the hands of the Houston Texans. With the postseason wrapped up, head coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry are now faced with considerable tasks ahead. The team must contend with several players becoming free agents. That's a consequence of frequent roster adjustments throughout the season, along with various strategic gaps that need filling.

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

Draft Context

After losing linebackers Sione Takitaki and Anthony Walker Jr. to free agency, the Browns did make a temporary enhancement by signing Jordan Hicks. However, at 32, Hicks's best years may be behind him. As such, the team would benefit from adding a robust run-stopping linebacker to balance a defense that predominantly focuses on pass-rushing and coverage.

Take note that both starting offensive tackles were sidelined due to injuries last season. In addition, Jedrick Wills Jr.’s contract will near its end in 2024. This means securing a capable left tackle is a priority for the Browns. Yes, the arrival of Jerry Jeudy brings a boost, but the offense could still use another dynamic player. This is especially true since Amari Cooper was responsible for a significant portion of last season’s offensive output.

Here we will look at the rookie prospects that the Cleveland Browns might pick up in our 7-round 2024 Mock Draft.

Pick No. 54: Michael Hall Jr., DT, Ohio State

After a flurry of picks, including several players previously linked to the Browns, the team finds itself choosing among a narrowed field. By this time, several key prospects like Xavier Worthy and Kingsley Suamataia would have already been taken. As such, Cleveland's decision comes down to a few notable names. Among them, Ladd McConkey, T'Vondre Sweat, and Michael Hall Jr. remain viable options. The Browns, in need of bolstering their defensive and offensive lines over adding another wide receiver, will likely pass on McConkey. Concerns about Sweat's off-field issues remove him from second-round consideration. The choice turns to Hall. He is a local talent from Streetsboro. Hall should be the preferred pick due to positional necessity and local ties.

Pick No. 85: Kiran Amegadjie, OT, Yale

With the potential upcoming departures of Jedrick Wills Jr. and Jack Conklin, the Browns could see Dawand Jones stepping up as the right tackle. However, shifting Jones to the left side remains questionable. This is where Kiran Amegadjie comes in. He has formidable run-blocking skills and versatility to potentially shift inside to guard. As such, Amegadjie presents an ideal solution. Drafting him allows Jones to stay on the right, providing time for Amegadjie to develop and possibly take over the left tackle position by 2025.

Yale Bulldogs offensive lineman Kiran Amegadjie (72) blocks Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Lwal Uguak (98) during the first half at Rentschler Field
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Pick No. 156: Mason McCormick, OL, South Dakota State

Identified as a powerhouse in the run game, Mason McCormick’s skill set as a guard who could potentially fill in at right tackle makes him an attractive option for the Browns. With expressed prior interest from Cleveland and the team needing depth behind Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller, selecting McCormick would be a strategic move to strengthen their offensive line reserves.

Pick No. 206: Erick All, TE, Iowa

Following pre-draft visits, and with the departure of Harrison Bryant to the Raiders, the Browns find themselves considering Erick All at pick 206. As a solid candidate for the second tight end spot, All will compete with Jordan Akins and Giovanni Ricci. He can fill the gap behind David Njoku, providing depth and competition in the position.

Pick No. 227: Edefuan Ulofoshio, LB, Washington

Ah, finally, we have a linebacker. Thanks to a trade with Tennessee, the Browns utilize one of their seventh-round selections on linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio. With a history of interactions and a need for more depth in their linebacker corps, Ulofoshio could also contribute significantly on special teams. This makes him a valuable late-round pick.

Pick No. 243: Rasheen Ali, RB, Marshall

With their final pick, the Browns opt for another local talent. That's Rasheen Ali from Marshall. Despite concerns over his injury history, Ali’s impressive college stats make him a worthwhile gamble in the seventh round. His potential to at least be a strong practice squad player underscores the low-risk, high-reward nature of this selection.

Each of these prospects brings unique strengths to the Browns, promising to invigorate the team’s roster and enhance their competitive edge in future seasons.