Browns ‘doing something right’ in player development

Browns’s work in developing draft picks might have Michael Hall Jr. lined up for success.

Get to know Michael Hall Jr., the Cleveland Browns' second-round pick in NFL Draft 2024 -

The phrase “Cleveland must be doing something right” has not often been uttered in connection to the Cleveland Browns.

That is understandable for a franchise with only one winning season out of 17 from 2003 through 2019.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry have done a solid job changing that narrative with two playoff seasons and the best four-year stretch (37 wins) since the late 1980s when the Bernie Kosar-led Browns pocketed 41 wins and four playoff appearances from 1986 to 1989.

Andrew Berry believes in Kevin Stefanski as a playcaller and more of what we learned from Browns GM -

That positive trend has also shown up in the NFL Draft as Berry and the scouting staff have found some promising players that the coaching staff have turned into productive players. The biggest example of that is possibly offensive tackle Dawand Jones, a fourth-round selection in 2023 who found himself in the starting lineup in Week 2 and quickly proved he deserved his spot on the roster.

Cleveland is hoping that scenario plays itself out again this year with defensive tackle Michael Hall Jr., who the club selected in the second round of this year’s draft. Hall has talent but fell into day two of the draft as questions surfaced about his desire to consistently play at a high level.

Ohio State DT Mike Hall Jr. is ready to work for his new team, the Cleveland Browns -

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler took a look this week at the draft classes of the league’s 32 teams to identify a rookie who may make a key impact on each team. After speaking with executives, scouts, and coaches, Fowler highlighted Jones’ development as a reason to be optimistic about what Hall will bring to the Browns (story is paywalled):

Fair or not, multiple teams had similar concerns about Michael Hall Jr., the Browns’ second-round pick, namely his ability to be a consistent pro. For example, Hall looked great pre-draft, more stout at around 298 pounds compared to playing in the 280s at Ohio State. After he ran in the 4.7s at his pro day, some teams wondered why he didn’t contribute more at that size in college, where he started just 11 games. It played into the underachieving label.

“With Dawand Jones starting games in the NFL and being productive, Cleveland must be doing something right,” an AFC scout said. “Not sure what they are doing there, but if Dawand can do that, Mike Hall can, too. The talent is there, he’ll just need a bit of help and guidance to become a pro.”

The Browns take pride in their large, diverse staffs to support players. The coaching staff, for example, features 23 coaches along with a nine-member performance staff, including director of player development Carson Walch and player development coordinator Anthony Fabiano. This group is in place to help players transition, and the Browns hope the approach pays off again.

Past performance is not always indicative of future results, but the Browns appear to be onto something in their approach to developing players and getting them ready for the field, with Hall and the rest of the 2024 draft class that next group of players who will be put to the test beginning on Friday during the three-day rookie minicamp in Berea.

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