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Browns go back down I-71 and draft Ohio State Buckeye Michael Hall

The Cleveland Browns are getting smarter in their old age. The Browns burst onto the draft board in this year’s NFL Draft by selecting defensive lineman Michael Hall at pick No. 54.

They started turning that corner a year ago when they drove down Interstate 71 and came back with two Ohio State Buckeyes Dawand Jones and Luke Wypler in the 2023 NFL Draft. That was the first time the Browns had taken more than one Buckeye in a previous draft in over 58 years. To top it off they signed undrafted Buckeye Ronnie Hickman too. Hickman ended up having a great rookie campaign in Cleveland.

I had written a while back of Hall potentially being drafted by Cleveland. Now that they did that, it’s nice to see the organization and Browns general manager Andrew Berry understand that Ohio State is a college football powerhouse and stacked with NFL talent.

Why it has taken this long for them to figure that out is baffling. Considering the proximity to the college it has been a shame over the years to see the Browns other divisional opponents like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals routinely take Buckeyes in the draft.

On a more positive note, it’ll be good to see Hall work his way onto that strong defensive line and rotation of Cleveland. That line already includes Dalvin Tomlinson, Shelby Harris and newly signed free agent Quinton Jefferson.

The newly drafted Buckeye has a tremendous first step and burst and gets into the backfield quickly causing the quarterback to have nightmares. Some suggest his size at 6’3 is too small for the defensive position but he’s dealt with taller players well in his brief collegiate career. He recorded 45 tackles in just two seasons with 10 of those for losses. He also collected six sacks.

Cleveland did not have a pick in the first round of this draft and haven’t in the last three drafts because of their trading for quarterback Deshaun Watson. But Berry and the Browns have been making good selections of late that have strengthened it’s team’s chances at being a regular participant in the postseason.

The Browns already have a strong roster with a lot of talented depth so these picks in this draft are more icing on the cake. Adding Hall now will only make this team a more dynamic group moving into the 2024 season. The Browns coaches are describing Hall as a “shapeshifter” in his ability to move and attack the quarterback and that is beautiful music to Browns fans worldwide.

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