Cleveland Browns: Five defensive tackles to target in the 2024 NFL Draft

A look at NFL Draft prospects the Cleveland Browns should consider in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Leonard Taylor III
Leonard Taylor III / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

As the offseason looms, the Cleveland Browns face a tough decision regarding retaining three of its top four defensive tackles. It will be tough for the Browns to retain Shelby Harris, Jordan Elliott, and Maurice Hurst as they are projected to be close to 20 million dollars over the salary cap. Then when you factor in that Dalvin Tomlinson will be 30 years old next season, addressing the defensive tackle position is an even bigger need.

The team did use one of its third-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft on Siaki Ika. However, he was a healthy scratch most of the season and didn’t account for a single tackle. This makes it the second year in a row the Browns have had little luck drafting a defensive tackle. In 2022, the team took Perrion Winfrey in the third round and was released last offseason after being investigated for threatening and pulling a gun on a woman.

The Cleveland Browns will again target a defensive tackle in the 2024 NFL Draft and could take one with their first selection in the draft which is the 54th overall pick. They will also likely target interior defensive linemen in the fifth or sixth round where they have four picks. No matter where the Browns take a defensive tackle look for them to target an explosive pass rusher who can get to the passer.

Five defensive tackles the Cleveland Browns should target

1. Leonard Taylor III, Miami

A player the Cleveland Browns could consider with the 54th overall pick is Miami’s Leonard Taylor. Taylor is the type of athlete the Browns prefer as he shows a nice burst off the ball and is one of the better athletes in this defensive tackle class. He also has shown the ability to get after the passer as he was the second highest-graded defensive tackle in 2022 by Pro Football Focus when it came to pass rush win rate. He will likely be available at the end of the second round since he is coming off a season that saw him battle injuries and inconsistency.

2024 NFL Draft prospect Leonard Taylor III
Leonard Taylor III / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

2. Brandon Dorlus, Oregon

Another defensive tackle the team should consider in the second round, who fits Jim Schwartz's defense is Oregon’s Brandon Dorlus. Drolus is one of the more productive pass-rushing defensive tackles in the 2024 NFL Draft having registered five sacks and 40 quarterback hurries this season. He also fits best in a one-gap defense especially after weighing in at 272 pounds at the Senior Bowl, although his playing weight last year was 290 pounds according to the University of Oregon.

3. Ruke Orhorhoro, Clemson

If the team decided to wait until they pick in the third round, Clemson’s Ruke Orhorhoro would be a wise choice. Like Taylor and Dorlus, Orhorhoro is a high-level pass rusher who has recorded 9 sacks over the last two years. He also has good length coming in at 6-foot-4 and has played in multiple alignments in the Tigers' defense. While he is a proficient pass rusher he is only average vs. the run which is one of the reasons he could be available when Cleveland is on the clock with the 85th overall selection.

2024 NFL Draft Prospect Ruke Orhorhoro
Ruke Orhorhoro / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

4. Mekhi Wingo, LSU

An early day three pick Cleveland Brown fans should keep an eye on is LSU’s Mekhi Wingo. Wingo is a disruptive player who recorded 4.5 sacks this season despite missing six games. He also holds his ground against the run and in 2022 he had an 84.3 run-defense grade from Pro Football Focus, which was the third-best grade among SEC interior defensive linemen. He will likely fall to the the fourth round due to his injury history, and because he is only 6-foot-1.

"Seven and a half sacks over the past two seasons for Mekhi Wingo. Four and a half of them were this past year. And as I mentioned, he’s relentless. He’s tough. He gets underneath opposing offensive guards. He has the ability to collapse some pockets."

ESPN's Field Yates on Mekhi Wingo

5. Gabe Hall, Baylor

A developmental prospect the Browns could get with one of their two sixth-round picks is Baylor’s Gabe Hall. What makes Hall such an intriguing prospect is his raw tools. This includes having ideal length coming in at 6-foot-6 and having an 84-inch wingspan. He also shows a good first step off the ball and impressive strength in his initial punch. However, he has lacked production during his college career never being named to the All-Big 12 team and only registering 18 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss this season. A couple of areas he will need to improve on to make it onto Cleveland’s active roster, include not stopping his feet on contact, pad level, and using his hands better to disengage from blocks.