Browns select Zak Zinter: Instant grade and analysis for Round 3 pick

Cleveland bolstered their interior line with the selection of Zak Zinter from Michigan
Michigan v Maryland
Michigan v Maryland / G Fiume/GettyImages

Throughout the first two days of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns intentions have been clear — they're going after the best players on the board regardless of position. That was evident when they took Michael Hall, Jr. from Ohio State at No. 54.

Hall is a pass-rushing defensive tackle who joins a crowded room. He won't be prominently featured if Shelby Harris and Maurice Hurst stay healthy and perform as they did in 2023 — but he can be a starter as early as 2025. The same is true for Zak Zinter, the 85th overall selection in Round 3.

A guard from Michigan, Zinter stands 6-foot-6 and 309 pounds. Ironically enough, his collegiate career ended when Hall was blocked into him, resulting in Zinter suffering a broken tibia and fibula. Zinter said "Everything comes full circle" when asked about joining the same team as Hall. He's also expected to be ready to go by the start of the regular season.

Browns NFL Draft grade for Zak Zinter selection: B-

With Jedrick Wills struggling at left tackle, the Browns kicked the tires on several offensive tackles during the pre-draft process. They also had their eyes on many of the wide receivers with Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore entering the final year of their deals. So far, the most shocking thing about their first two picks is the fact that they didn't take anyone at either position.

Perhaps they still make a move, with left tackle standing out as the greater need. They could also continue to build up their depth as they did with Hall and Zinter.

As for the grade for the Zinter selection, this deserves a solid B-minus. His role as a rookie will be a backup at swing tackle, which is a need. More importantly, he can start in the NFL and that will come into play when the Browns are negotiating with future free agents. They might have to make some tough choices — specifically with Wyatt Teller or Joel Bitonio — and having Zinter will give them the confidence to do what's best for the team as a whole.

More Browns coverage