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Browns Mock Draft: Adding weapons and solidifying the trenches with Matt’s version 1.0

Cleveland addresses the defensive line early in Matt’s first mock draft of the offseason

NCAA Football: Eastern Washington at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns have their sights set on the 2024 NFL Draft, and they’ve begun preparing to refuel their roster with a group of youthful playmakers on both sides of the ball.

The team currently has 26 players who are set to become unrestricted free agents in March and they’ll most likely need to rely on the NFL draft for a good portion of their depth moving forward. Cleveland has quite a few “big money” players on their roster and they can only restructure or extend contracts up to a certain point, and that point is getting closer and closer.

Being able to find quality players and “hit” on a majority of their draft classes will be of growing importance moving forward due to financial reasons, and there is a lot of opportunity to do so in the 2024 class. Despite not having a 1st round draft pick, the team should still be able to add a good amount of talent in April.

With the NFL Draft being only a little over two months away, we’ll continue to produce weekly mock drafts by different members of the team to give you multiple previews and draft strategies that could be utilized by the team. You can find Jack’s mock draft versions 1.0 and 2.0 here, and Jared’s version 1.0 here.

Without further ado, here it’s Matt’s mock draft version 1.0.

Round 2

Pick 54 - DT Brandon Dorlus, Oregon

The Browns could end up having a lot of attrition on the defensive line this offseason, specifically on the interior. Shelby Harris, Maurice Hurst, and Jordan Elliott are all set to become unrestricted free agents in March. Even though they should be able to extend or re-sign at least one of them, they still need to address and add some more youth to the defensive tackle position.

Dorlus has been a physically imposing defensive lineman for the Ducks over the past few seasons, and his skill set and athleticism should translate to the next level fairly easily. He tallied 86 total QB pressures throughout his final two seasons at Oregon and he should pair beautifully with Dalvin Tomlinson on the interior of Cleveland’s defensive line.

Round 3

Pick 85 - RB Trey Benson, Florida State

Benson has great size at 6’1”, 223 Lbs., and is an absolute tank when running inside between the tackles. He’s explosive and very hard to bring down due to his impressive lower-body strength and contact balance. Usually, ball-carriers that are built like Benson lack “long speed” but he’s consistently able to run away from 2nd and 3rd-level defenders in space.

Benson would give the Browns another starting-caliber player in the backfield going forward, and finding this type of competitor via the NFL draft is a smart way to go about doing it.

Round 5

Pick 134 - WR Malik Washington, Virginia

Washington had one of the best seasons in all of college football in 2023, and watching his tape, it’s very easy to see why. He might be pound-for-pound the best route runner in this year’s class and he displays excellent vision and awareness in the intermediate level of the field. He had 110 receptions for 1426 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns in 2023 which is insane when you factor in the type of quarterback play that the Cavaliers had this past season.

Washington could be dangerous in Cleveland’s offense as a slot receiver and would provide excellent depth for the wide receiver room going forward. He’s also been an above-average kick/punt returner on special teams, which is another “need” for the team that would also be addressed here.

Pick 154 - OT Javon Foster, Missouri

Foster has been one of the more solid left tackles in the SEC since 2021 and has good size and length for the position. Over the past two seasons combined, he’s only given up 5 sacks and 2 quarterback hits while going up against numerous NFL-caliber pass rushers.

Foster would most likely give the Browns an upgraded “swing tackle” over the likes of Geron Christian and James Hudson, with the potential of developing into something even more down the line.

Round 6

Pick 204 - TE Theo Johnson, Penn State

Come March, the only tight ends that will officially be under contract are David Njoku and Jordan Akins. Harrison Bryant has been an average TE2 for the team as of late but he’s set to become a free agent. Akins was “okay” when on the field in 2023, but the team could use some more playmaking ability behind Njoku going forward.

Theo Johnson is a big tight end (6’6”, 257 Lbs.) who can move well both inline and flexed out in spread formations. He would be a big, athletic pass-catcher for Deshaun Watson in any area of the field due to his ability to create constant mismatches with smaller defenders.

Pick 207 - CB Jarius Monroe, Tulane

Monroe has good length and size for the position and has been one of the top G5 cornerbacks over the past two seasons for Tulane. He has a nose for the football and has shown the agility, quickness, and reaction speed required to play in the slot as well.

He had a great week of East/West Shrine Bowl practice and was the Defensive MVP of the Shrine Bowl game itself on February 1st. A team can never have enough quality cornerbacks on its roster and one that’s as versatile as Monroe would be an excellent find in the 6th round for Cleveland.

Round 7

Pick 227 - DE Jalyx Hunt, Houston Baptist

Hunt is a small school, designated pass rusher-type that was originally recruited out of high school as a defensive back. He has a frame that could fill out at the next level (6’4”, 250 Lbs.) and good length with 34.25” arms. He’s very raw but has shown a lot of potential and done some fun things throughout his time at the collegiate level.

He undoubtedly has the foundation to be an effective edge rusher at the NFL level but needs to be coached up and able to refine his pass rush repertoire. The Browns would be getting a super athletic “ball of clay” that Jim Schwartz and Jacques Cesaire could mold into whatever they want.

What are your thoughts on this mock draft? Join fellow Browns fans in the comment section below.