Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta (4.30.21)

 

On the decision to trade up for LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah:

“We were not really expecting him to get quite that far. There were a couple players we were definitely interested in going into today that we thought it might be worth moving up to around 50 or thereabouts to try to go get if they were there. Once we saw that he got there, we were pretty aggressive in terms of trying to get up there and get him.”

 

On what the Browns like most about Owusu-Koramoah:

“I think speed and instincts. He just fits our scheme perfectly in terms of the way we want to play. He is very, very good against both the run and the pass. We think he can stay on the field the whole time, but he really just fits our scheme to a T.”

 

On if the Browns use a value chart when evaluating trades:

“Sure, we understand the sort of industry standard in terms of value. We also do our own analysis as far as that is concerned. This was a pretty standard move. I do not think it was anything terribly out of the ordinary. For us, what was important is that we were not giving up a pick to go do this. It was a pick swap so we basically moved back from No. 89 to No. 113, but we felt like that was a reasonable cost to go up and secure the player.”

 

On how Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry has followed the roster building and maintenance plan that has been established in recent years:

“I would say that all of us did. I think we have a shared vision of how we want to put this together, both in the short term but also with some sort of eye toward the longer term, as well. As we have gone through the offseason, whether it is free agency or now in the draft, we are very much on the same page in terms of how we try to put all the pieces together. That really is what it is each and every year is trying to put the puzzle together. Those rules, while it may seem rigid to have rules, the reality is they are quite flexible. You would think that maybe we are a team that does not move up for instance. Well, we just moved up to go get the player that we want. The rules that we do have in place are very flexible, and they are meant to try to give us the latitude to be aggressive when situations arise that we feel like could be advantageous to our club, especially short term and long term.”

 

On Owusu-Koramoah’s expected role:

“We see him as a linebacker. He is certainly very versatile. I know there has been talk about that he could play strong safety or do lots of different things. I actually just think that speaks to his athleticism and his versatility. Again, I think he fits our scheme perfectly at the linebacker spot, and that is where we would plan to play him. Now, (defensive coordinator) Joe Woods, (linebackers coach) Jason Tarver, (run game coordinator) Ben Bloom and the guys that [coach] our linebackers, they can get pretty creative in terms of how they use our linebackers. They did an unbelievable job last year of using all of the pieces we had in the linebacker room and trying to maximize the skills we had in that room. I think this gives them a really nice tool to work with.”

 

On how the Browns view and value the LB position as a whole, given the perception the team may not value LB as much as other positions:

“Well, we just traded up in the second and we signed one in free agency. We took one last year in the third round with (LB) Jacob Phillips. Again, I do not think any of these rules are sort of hard and fast. We want to have good players at every position. I do not think there is any one position out there that we do not value. Now, there are certainly relative values in terms of how you view one position versus another, but we value them all. We want great players at every one of them. We would love to have great players in every room. Linebacker is a spot where we have actually been pretty aggressive the last couple of years in terms of using some assets to make sure that is a really good room, and they were highly productive for us last year, even without a big-name guy in that room.”

 

On if the second regular season game against the Ravens or the playoff game against the Chiefs had an impact on the team’s offseason plan and defensive acquisitions:

“I do not think it was those two games in particular. I think it was just going through the whole season. We knew there were some things that we needed to try to shore up on defense. When (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) came on board last year, we felt like the offense was awfully close. It was maybe a couple of pieces away to being in really good shape, and we tried to adjust those in the offseason with (T Jack) Conklin, with (T) Jed Wills, with Hoop (TE Austin Hooper) and (TE) Harrison Bryant. There were a handful of things we did that we thought were nice touches to sort of finish off that puzzle. The defense we knew was a little further away in terms of bringing it all along. We signed a lot of guys last year to one-year deals to try to get through a season and have a good defense. Again, credit to our coaches for what they did with all those guys, but we knew just based on the contract status that we were going to have to do a lot this offseason to try and rebuild that unit for 2021. It was certainly an area of emphasis in free agency, and at least so far in the first two picks, it has been a focus for us here in the draft.”

 

On if the Browns had intel to believe another team was targeting Owusu-Koramoah that encouraged the team to trade up:

“I won’t go into all the details, but yes, we felt the need to go up and get him.”

 

On if the Browns benefited from teams potentially not knowing where to play Owusu-Koramoah and that potentially leading to Owusu-Koramoah falling into the middle of the second round:

“I do not know if it was so much that they did not necessarily know what to do with him. People run different schemes. Again, I think our scheme is perfect for him so in that sense, maybe we were the beneficiary in terms of having a scheme that was a perfect match for him. I do not think people dispute what he can do on the field.”

 

On if he sees the potential for Owusu-Koramoah to be on the field every down due to versatility:

“I can tell you this, right before I came downstairs to jump on this call, I was in Jason Tarver’s office with Joe Woods and Kevin Stefanski, and they were already up on the whiteboard excited to talk about all of the different things they could do with him. I will let them go into that at some time.”

 

On if anything in Owusu-Koramoah’s medicals potentially him available in the middle of the second round, given some people projected him as a potential first-round pick:

“No he did not run a 40 at his pro day and we knew he was sort of a little dinged up, but he participated otherwise in his pro day. No, there is nothing that would prohibit him going forward with us.”

 

On what traits make Owusu-Koramoah the perfect fit for the Browns defense and if Owusu-Koramoah is likely to play WILL:

“With each of our linebackers, we are looking for pretty similar traits, whether they are playing on the strong side or the weak side of even playing MIKE for that matter. We want guys who are very rangy. We want guys who can stay on the field and can play against both the run and the pass and guys who can cover but also can play downhill. That does not mean they need to be a big thumper. Some guys can play downhill, keep blockers off of them, also slip blocks and make plays so they do it in different ways. We want all of our linebackers to have very similar skillsets.”

 

On if the Browns would have potentially taken Owusu-Koramoah at No. 26 if CB Greg Newsome II was not available:

“He was definitely under consideration, I will say that.”

 

On how surprised the Browns were that Owusu-Koramoah was available at No. 52:

“We are pretty happy. There was a lot of pacing going on upstairs once we got to about pick No. 42, 43 and 44 just trying to figure out if there was a way we could make it happen. We were very excited about this.”

 

On if Owusu-Koramoah’s ferocity on defense can spread to the whole unit:

“He has a great motor. He really does. It is what we are looking for in general. We talk a lot about wanting players who are smart, tough and accountable. He certainly checks all of those boxes. There are times when he plays like his hair is on fire, and that is certainly attractive.”

 

On explanations for why Owusu-Koramoah was still available at No. 52:

“That is a great question, but that not one we are going to concern ourselves with. Sometimes the board falls your way. I think we were just fortunate in this case. Now, he did not get all the way to No. 59. Obviously, we had to move up to go get him, but there were a lot of good players who were available today that we were surprised about, and he was not the only one. There were players again available at No. 40, 45 and 50 and even still players available right now that we are surprised are there. I think it is just the nature of the draft.”

 

On if the Browns considered CB Caleb Farley as a draftable first-round player:

“I probably should not comment on him considering he was taken by another team, but we were awfully happy to take Greg Newsome, I will say that.”

 

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