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Takeaways from Andrew Berry on the 2024 NFL Draft

Cleveland drafted six players over the course of the three-day draft weekend 

Draft Takeaways

The 2024 NFL Draft is officially in the books, and the Browns added six young players to their roster with their six picks.

They took DT Mike Hall Jr. in the second round, G Zac Zinter in the third round, WR Jamari Thrash in the fifth round, LB Nathaniel Watson in the sixth round, CB Myles Harden in the seventh round and DT Jowon Briggs with their final pick in the seventh round.

"Very excited with the group of players that were able to select this weekend," Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry said. "All of them have aspects that made us excited about them as prospects and also as people."

Here are the main takeaways from Berry's post-draft press conference.

Browns stand pat with their picks

The Browns did not move around in the draft, and instead, stayed put at where they entered Thursday. Yet, Berry said it wasn't for a lack of effort to move around.

"Yeah, we were talking about that as we were coming downstairs. Like, man, this is the first draft that we haven't executed a trade," Berry said. "We had a number of opportunities where we were either trying to move around today. And like we talked about yesterday, we had a couple opportunities, but it just didn't make sense for whatever reason. But I would not say that's going to be the new M.O."

Browns are not finished adding to the roster

Over the course of the weekend, the Browns did not take a tight end or a running back. At both positions, Cleveland made additions in free agency in signing TE Giovanni Ricci or RB Nyheim Hines and D'Onta Foreman. However, Berry said that at any position, they do not feel like they are done making additions.

Berry turned to examples during 2023 when they traded for DE Za'Darius Smith in May, or signed DT Shelby Harris in August. They also traded for WR Pierre Strong Jr. and K Dustin Hopkins at the end of camp in August.

"So, there's still work to do in the roster and that's not just limited to the tight end room, but that's what the next couple months are for," Berry said.

Approach to undrafted free agents

Even though the 2024 draft is over, there is still another step in the process as players who were not drafted now have the chance to sign with teams as undrafted free agents. As soon as the seventh round officially ended, the calls begin to work to add players.

As they approach this portion of the offseason, Berry said that with any player they add to the roster, they want that player to have a clear strength – even if it's narrow. As they go through the offseason and build their roster, they are looking for players that complement their starters and primary players with different skill sets they may lack in certain areas.

"When we go to the undrafted free agent process, we're looking for guys with strengths, and probably by definition, those guys are maybe a little bit more limited coming in, but it's like, 'Hey, does this guy have size? Can he run?'" Berry explained. "Or if we have a certain profile at the position, we're looking for the most important traits."

One trait to describe each draft pick in the Browns' draft class

As the Browns went through the draft and made each of their picks, there was a feature about each of them that stood out to the Browns and made them an attractive choice in their respective rounds.

Berry described Hall's ability as a rusher, both with his physical skillset but also his feel – traits that they put "premium value on." For Zinter, Berry said it was his pass protection. Berry highlighted Thrash's ability as a separator.

With Watson, Berry saw his talent in the run game, especially how he uses his strength. With their seventh-round picks in Harden, his instincts and versatility stood out, while Briggs' movement ability was a highlight.

Consideration of special teams involvement with late-round picks

For young players and late-round draft picks, one way for them to earn playing time or a roster spot can be through special teams. With the changes to the new kickoff rule to be implemented this upcoming season, the ability to contribute on special teams played a role in discussions.

"That was actually a big part of the discussions with a number of the prospects that we talked about and debated," Berry said. "And some went off the board at different points, but it was a big part of the discussions with as we thought kind of through the whole big picture profile of an individual player. So definitely part of it."

It was especially a discussion with their sixth-round pick in Watson and the potential need for size in coverage. At 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, Berry said Watson's style of play did factor into that decision – especially in terms of a role on special teams.

"When we went through the process, we thought he could fill this or potentially fill this specialized role at linebacker, but we also thought he could be a multi-phase producer on special teams, specifically with the new kickoff rule," Berry said. "As we talked about before the Draft, probably none of us really know how it's going to look and operate but it certainly is a speculative play on our part that we think that's something that he could be good at."