Browns rookie Zak Zinter hoping to add to his championship rings collection

Apr. 27—Mike Hall and Zak Zinter will always be connected from a play in the Ohio State-Michigan game last November when Hall inadvertently rolled onto the back of Zinter's left leg after Hall was knocked to the ground.

Zinter suffered a fractured tibia and fibula on the play. He is fine now, ready to go to work as a rookie guard after being selected by the Browns in the third round of the NFL draft April 26.

Hall, a defensive tackle selected by the Browns in the second round April 26, is equally ready to put the injury behind him and get to work.

Defensive tackle Mike Hall (left, Ohio State) and guard Zak Zinter of Michigan were bitter rivals in college, but they are brothers with the #Browns now. Both were drafted Friday.

— Jeff Schudel (@jsproinsider) April 27, 2024

"We even prayed for him when that happened," Hall said April 27 when he and Zinter were introduced side by side during a news conference in Berea while the third day of the draft was rolling on.

Hall and Zinter smiled and described themselves as brothers now that they are on the same team.

Neither player is projected to start as a rookie. Zinter played in a pro-style run-oriented offense as a right guard at Michigan. He said that experience has prepared him for what to expect in the NFL.

"I think it's perfect," Zinter said. "We were a run-first offense for sure. Run the ball a lot and then they start stacking the box with play action

JJ (McCarthy) was able to pass the ball too. So I think we were pretty diverse and able to do a lot of things. So I'm excited to see how that's going to help me translate to the NFL."

Zinter said he is looking forward to learning from veteran Browns guards Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller. Likewise, Hall will get the opportunity to learn from a crowded group of defensive tackles led by Dalvin Tomlinson and Marice Hurst, not to mention the opportunity to learn from defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Hall played in 28 games in three years at Ohio State. He made 11 starts. He had 4.5 sacks in 2022 and 1.5 last season. He and the Browns expect those numbers to jump. Hall was attractive to the Browns because of his pass-rush potential.

"I feel like Coach Schwartz is just going to bring the best out of me day in and day out," Hall said. "Our whole philosophy is just to attack and disrupt. So just having that mentality and that mindset to finally be able to let the dog off the leash, that's the best thing ever."

Both players are excited about joining a team coming off a playoff season. The downside of that for them as young players is they are being added to a team that has good players ahead of them.

"I don't like to lose," Zinter said. "I like to win and I've got some (championship) rings over the years and I'm hoping to keep adding to 'em."

Hall and Zinter had some one-on-one faceoffs during their years at Ohio State and Michigan. The battle will resume when the Browns hold rookie minicamp in two weeks.

—The Browns did not have a pick in the fourth round on April 27. They used their fifth-round pick, pick 156 overall, on 6-foot, 188-pound wide receiver Jamari Thrash from Louisville.

Thrash spent four seasons at Georgia State before transferring to Louisville in 2023. He caught 61 passes for 1,122 yards and seven touchdowns at Georgia State in 2022. He caught 63 passes for 858 yards and six touchdowns in 2023.

*The Browns waited until the sixth round to take a linebacker. They used the 206th overall pick on 6-foot-2, 233 pound Nathaniel Watson from Mississippi State. He was a 2023 finalist for the Butkus Award given to the nation's top college linebacker. He led the SEC with 137 tackles. He had 10 sacks.

Watson has a checkered past. He was arrested last May on suspicion of DUI. He graduated with a Masters degree in Workforce Education in 2022.

—The Browns used their first of two picks in the seventh round, pick 206 overall, on cornerback Myles Harden of South Dakota State. Harden, 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, has the potential to become a starter, according to scout Larry Zierlein of Harden started 28 of 29 games for the Coyotes. He intercepted six passes and forced five fumbles in his career. He recovered four fumbles.

—The Browns used their final pick, 243 overall, on defensive tackle Jowon Briggs of Cincinnati. Briggs, 6-foot-1, 313 pounds, began his college career at Virginia and then transferred to Cincinnati for the last three seasons. He played in 59 games over five years with 45 starts. He has 170 career tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss and 12 career sacks. Briggs, 22 years old, is married and has three children.