Even though the Cleveland Browns suffered an early playoff exit, the fanbase is still hopeful about the future. The Browns still have a bright future after having one of their best campaigns ever and while a lot of that success stemmed from veteran contributors, a handful of rookies did their part, too.
At the same time, some first-year players failed to live up to expectations in 2023. Although growing pains are to be expected for rookies, some members of Cleveland's latest draft class disappointed to the point where their spot on the roster could be in jeopardy.
Here are three Browns rookies who are on thin ice after their first year.
1. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB
The Browns drafted quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson to be a project when they drafted him 140th overall last year. While he enjoyed a productive five-year stay at UCLA, the consensus was that he wouldn't be NFL-ready just yet.
Nevertheless, Thompson-Robinson was thrust into the spotlight due to 1). Deshaun Watson's season-ending injury and 2). P.J. Walker's inability to play like an NFL QB. Unfortunately, the rookie signal-caller looked extremely out of place, completing just 53.6% of passes for 440 yards with one touchdown, and four interceptions across eight appearances (3 starts).
Additionally, DTR's 51.2 passer rating ranked 56th out of 59 eligible QBs.
Could the 24-year-old gunslinger bounce back? Sure, he's still young enough and Cleveland has one of the better offensive setups in the league. On the flip side, management might look at his 2023 performance and think, This isn't an arm we can trust if Watson goes down with another injury.
I wouldn't be surprised if general manager Andrew Berry brought in some competition for the backup QB job to see if Thompson-Robinson can truly prove his worth.