BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Despite holding the top pick in the NFL Draft Sashi Brown and Andrew Berry didn’t want to show their hand Wednesday.
The Browns’ executive vice president of football operations and vice president of player personnel revealed very little about their 2017 draft intentions during a nearly 30 minute press conference, however it wasn’t completely devoid of useful information.
Here’s what we learned:
– The Browns have an idea who they will take with the No. 1 pick but aren’t telling anyone outside of their inner circle. They also will not negotiate or reveal the pick until it is time for them to call Philadelphia to have the card filled out and handed to the commissioner after they go on the clock next Thursday.
– The view that Myles Garrett took plays off or didn’t give 100 percent in games and will affect his draft stock is more media driven than reality, at least inside their draft room. “I think that sometimes those concerns are a little bit overstated,” Berry said. “The reality is in college football the number of snaps that these defensive linemen have to play on a down-in, down-out basis is usually greater than when they are going to have to play at the professional level. Every prospects is going to have his weaknesses. There is no such thing as a perfect player.” The Browns clearly like Garrett and it is presumed that is who they will select No. 1. Nothing that was said on Wednesday leads anyone to believe otherwise.
– The Browns are done prioritizing the stockpiling of picks for the future over picking players. Brown’s phone is ringing with offers for the No. 1 pick but he seems content to keep it and take the player they want rather than dancing down the board and out of the top 10 for a second straight year. “That would surprise me if we traded down that way this year,” Brown said. He later added when pressed on their anticipated approach next week, “The need to continue to acquiring high-value picks is less intense this year.” Last year Brown orchestrated a total of 5 trades before or during the 2016 draft that netted the Browns an additional 6 picks between 2016-18.
– Brown and Berry realize the magnitude of this draft. It is not hyperbole to say that it will define their tenure and will make or break the franchise for years to come. “This league is too competitive to waste opportunities,” Brown said. “This is an important draft for us. We can get some players that can transform our franchise, and the way we are positioned, it is to some degree the volume of players that can help us. We want to get those right.” This franchise desperately needs elite-level talent. With the Nos. 1, 12, 33, 52 and 65 available, there is no excuse for the Browns not to find that talent next Thursday and Friday night to help extricate them from the football hell they’ve lived in for the better part of 18 years.
– Having more than a year to prepare for a draft should help immensely after only getting just over 100 days to prepare in 2016. Brown revealed that the Browns “have already started on our 2018 draft at some of the pro days” the team attended this spring. “We will feel better about this year just because we have had more time to prepare and work with our entire scouting staff and coaching staff throughout the year,” Brown said.
– Trading up the board hasn’t been ruled out, but doesn’t seem as likely despite the massive arsenal of draft picks they have to play with. Brown restated his philosophy that he prefers to add picks rather than trade them away, however he’s not opposed to it this year considering the volume of assets at their disposal. “We don’t want to get into a habit of turning 2 picks into 1,” Brown said. “We just don’t think that is a good way to do business over time…It does not mean that if there is a player there we might not go take a shot. We think we are positioned to be able to do that without impacting our draft much.”
– The likelihood that Jimmy Garoppolo will become a Brown is diminishing by the hour. Brown said that he doesn’t have New England on speed dial and he doesn’t anticipate trading for a veteran quarterback before or during the draft, even if they have the ammunition to pull such a trade off. Certainly there is a chance that this is the ultimate bluff by Brown, but it appears that the Patriots in fact were not bluffing when they leaked to Adam Schefter last month that they would not make Garoppolo available.
– Although Berry and Brown were complimentary of Mentor, Ohio native and North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, even going as far as to say “We were impressed by him,” try not to read too much into that. Brown made it clear he was not interested in discussing his thoughts on specific players, including Garrett, in an attempt to avoid showing his cards.
– The Browns are tired of the narrative that they don’t know what they are doing, aren’t on the same page or are dysfunctional but they’re not wasting time worrying about outside perception. “It is just part of the territory. We don’t get flustered by it,” Brown said about reports they were divided internally about who to select No. 1. Contrary to what some in the national media will lead you to believe, debate doesn’t equal division and those conversations are something Brown not only encourages but believes in. “Even if we all agree on a particular player or a decision, we constantly are pushing each other to think about what we are not thinking about,” Brown said. “Our job really isn’t to agree; our job is to get decisions right.”