Intriguing position battles for Cleveland Browns in 2024

Starting as early as OTAs, these are the most intriguing position battles the Browns have going into 2024
Cleveland Browns, Mike Hall Jr.
Cleveland Browns, Mike Hall Jr. / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

The Cleveland Browns have a strong roster with the majority of their starters returning this year. That's left them without many battles this offseason for starting positions but that doesn't mean there won't be some competition behind them.

While most of these positions won't be finalized until right before the start of the regular season, the work starts as early as OTAs. With the first session in the books, here's a look at the four most intriguing position battles for the Cleveland Browns.

Browns backup left tackle

James Hudson III was selected in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft with the expectation that he would be Cleveland's swing tackle. He held that role for his first two seasons before splitting the duties with Dawand Jones last year — Jones became the primary backup on the right side as a rookie.

They each saw the field a lot in 2023 but while Jones flourished, Hudson struggled. That led to the addition of Hakeem Adeniji in free agency. Ideally, the Browns would have added a tackle in the NFL Draft to try and replace Jedrick Wills in 2025 but they went in a different direction. But at least they have some competition for the backup spot and if history is any indicator, they're going to need to turn to them at some point.

Wide Receiver No. 5

A former third-round pick, David Bell might be on his last shot with the Browns. He enters his third season with 38 receptions and 381 yards to his name with three touchdowns. It's a far cry from the production he displayed at Purdue and is why he's on the bubble right now.

Bell finds himself behind Amari Cooper, Jerry Jeudy, Elijah Moore, and Cedric Tillman. He's battling with rookie Jamari Thrash for the WR5 spot but don't count out Mike Woods, who looks stronger after missing the 2023 season.

Reserve Defensive Tackles

The Browns weren't messing around when it came to their defensive line. They re-signed Maurice Hurst and Shleby Harris while also bringing in Quinton Jefferson as a free-agent addition. They didn't stop there as they used their first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on Michael Hall, Jr. from Ohio State. Throw in Dalvin Tomlinson and second-year player Siaki Ika and this is the most crowded position on the roster.

It's hard to see Cleveland going into the season with six defensive tackles. That means at least one player will be the odd man out. The most intense battle will likely be between Ika and Jefferson. The Browns will want Ika to win considering they used a third-round pick on him just one year ago but he didn't impress as a rookie and needs to prove he can handle himself at the pro level.

Running Back

There normally wouldn't be a fight for the starting running back spot with Nick Chubb on the roster. However, Chubb has yet to return to the field and there's no timetable as of yet. That means Cleveland will be turning to a committee featuring D'Onta Foreman, Jerome Ford, Nyheim Hines, and Pierre Strong, Jr.

All bring something unique to the table and while Foreman feels like the easy choice as the starter until No. 24 is back, we can't count out Ford. This coaching staff has been high on him for a while and he did offer breakaway speed — which is always a plus. Hines and Strong could also find themselves in a battle, especially if Hines is slowed down at all from the jet ski accident that cost him the 2023 season.

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