3 likely targets at each pick for the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Draft

Using the Browns age, RAS guardrails, and team needs to pinpoint possible targets with each of their 2024 NFL Draft selections
Michael Hall Jr.
Michael Hall Jr. / Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
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2024 NFL Draft week is officially upon us! While the draft is, thankfully, no longer the proverbial "Super Bowl" for the Cleveland Browns, it is still a very important process for the franchise to round out its roster with hopes of finally getting to the real thing.

The Browns still lack a first-round pick following the trade for recovering quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is on the mend from a season-ending shoulder injury last season. The team is still fully committed to the 28-year-old veteran and will do everything in its power to put him in the best possible position to succeed.

Whether it be some more offensive weapons at his disposal, some depth along the offensive line to protect him, or some valuable pieces on the defensive side of the ball to help keep the team in games, Watson will certainly be in the minds of the decision-makers for the Browns come draft weekend.

Here, we utilize what we know from general manager Andrew Berry and the analytical front office and their tendencies when it comes to age and Relative Athletic Score (RAS), to highlight three potential prospects Cleveland could target with each of their six current selections in the 2024 NFL Draft. Berry, as he has shown in past drafts, will likely move around the draft board a bit, likely trying to recoup another top 100 pick this year or to stack another pick or two for next year's 2025 NFL Draft Class that has a chance to be a bit more talented and deep than this year's group of entrants.

If Berry and the Cleveland Browns pick where they are currently slotted to in the 2024 NFL Draft, I could see them targeting some of these prospects.

Round 2, Pick 54 overall

1. Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

Even after trading for former Denver Broncos wide receiver, Jerry Jeudy, and signing him to a contract extension, the future of the wide receiver position is still very unclear for Cleveland.

The team still rosters recent draft picks at the position in Cedric Tillman, David Bell, and Michael Woods II, but none have been overly impactful in their varying amounts of time in Cleveland. The team acquired Elijah Moore in a trade last offseason, but he, like star wideout Amari Cooper, has not been signed long-term.

They certainly want to keep Cooper past this season, but who knows what price they would be willing to pay? Tillman is likely still a part of the plan for the organization but beyond 2024 there is a ton of uncertainty at the position. Adding a talented pass-catcher early in the 2024 NFL Draft could allow the team a little more flexibility moving forward, however, things play out.

Troy Franklin pops off the tape when you watch him play for the Oregon Ducks. The first word that comes to mind? FAST. While he didn't break the Combine 40-yard dash record like Texas receiver Xavier Worthy, his 4.41 unofficial time and 9.33 RAS is evident on tape. Defenders very rarely run down Franklin once he has the ball in his hands, and he is fast throughout the process of the route, pulling away downfield or suddenly breaking away for separation from the defender.

Franklin has a very slight frame, but he impresses at the catch point. This part of his game reminds me a lot of newly-extended Philadelphia receiver, Devonta Smith. His prowess with deep balls down the field and his top-end speed are reminiscent of a guy like Hollywood Brown, who was rumored to be a free agent target for the Browns this offseason.

Having a dynamic, down-the-field, speed receiver like Franklin to complement the true route runners in Cooper and Jeudy and the big-body bullies of Tillman and tight end David Njoku, could give Watson a well-rounded group of targets moving forward. With his RAS score, and being under 22 years old, if he is still on the board at pick 54, Cleveland could be jumping for joy.

2. Ja'Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas

Did I mention 2023 breakout star tight end David Njoku? There is a guy in the 2024 NFL Draft that reminds me a lot of him. While it may seem a little redundant to draft someone so similar to a player that you already have on the roster, when that player has a skillset like Njoku possesses, it is never a bad thing to have more of.

Ja'Tavion Sanders is a 6-foot-4 powerhouse who managed 600+ receiving yards each of his past two seasons with the Texas Longhorns, even with all of the talent that they have had at the running back and wide receiver positions during his time in Austin. While there were a couple of bad focus drops on tape, that will worry Browns fans who watched Njoku's first few seasons, Sanders made some truly incredible grabs. He is very effective catching the ball over the middle in traffic and nearly impossible to bring down by just one tackler with the ball in his hands.

While the Browns may continue shifting their offense to more of a spread, wide receiver-heavy, scheme, I doubt they completely move away from their beloved "12 personnel", featuring two tight ends on the field at the same time, any time soon.

Texas used Sanders a lot as a blocker in the run game, particularly as a puller with trap/wham-type blocks, which Cleveland will likely do as well. Tight end is certainly a weak point on the Browns' current depth chart, behind Njoku, and adding a 21-year-old with blocking ability and an 8.06 RAS score can certainly bolster the room and allow Sanders to fill out his frame while learning from one of the best in the game.

3. Michael Hall Jr., DL, Ohio State

This pick would please Ohioans everywhere, as a Streetsboro native, Ohio State Buckeye stays in the Buckeye State to play for the hometown Cleveland Browns. 6-foot-3, 290-pound Michael Hall, Jr. has a skillset that would be a near-perfect complement to starting defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson and 2023 NFL Draft pick Siaki Ika.

When watching the film, Hall seems to live in the backfield. He loves to use a quick swim move off the snap to zoom right by a blocker and past the line of scrimmage. He has powerful hands that he can use to manipulate a blocker and to grab and bring down a ball carrier. If he continues to fill out his frame and really anchor against blocks and double-teams on early downs, he will undoubtedly become a three-down player at the next level.

Right now, Hall excels with his agility and athleticism. Whether he is bursting across the line of scrimmage or chasing down a ball carrier with his speed, Hall's athletic ability is on full display every time he steps on the field. His 9.24 RAS is evident on tape and at just 21 years old the local product is a near-perfect target for Cleveland. I've seen Hall come off the board prior to pick 54 in some mock drafts, and some he lasts until the Browns' next selection at 85, but if they want to lock him in they would probably want to snag him here in the second round.

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