Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry (4.22.22)

Opening statement:

“Before we open up for questions this afternoon, just wanted to say off the top, this time of year is always fun for us as an organization because it is the first week that we get our players back in the building after a number of months away. Also, we are obviously inside of a week for our draft planning and looking forward to next week and having the opportunity to add to the young talent base for the team. I wanted to actually take a little bit of time just to really kind of express gratitude and thankfulness for our area scouts. Those men and women spend a ton of time throughout the fall and spring away from their families, living out of hotel rooms, really expanding their networks, evaluating hundreds of players and doing deep dives into understanding who those players are as individuals and as people. They make a lot of sacrifices. Often times, it can be a little bit of a thankless job, but those individuals are truly the backbone of the operation and really the lifeblood of the roster, and we could not express our thankfulness any more. I would also like to point out (Vice President of Player Personnel)) Glenn Cook and (Director of Player Personnel) Dan Saganey for their leadership with our scouting group, (Vice President of Research & Strategy) Andrew Healy and (Director of Research & Strategy) Dave Giuliani for the work that they have done leading our research and strategy group as we pull our information together and then (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) and his staff for the work that our coaches have done throughout the evaluation process. We are excited for next week.”


On if he will divulge all of the Browns’ plans for next week:

“You will be the first one to know (laughter).”


On the Browns’ priorities for the draft, if there is a lot that the team would like to add and if anything is at the top of the list:

“In general, you are right. It is almost like going to a restaurant hungry. You get familiar with a number of these players, and whether you have two picks or 20 picks, you probably feel like you never have enough. Our approach is more about really just adding as many young, talented guys to the roster that we can. We certainly do have call it certain positional leanings – I will not necessarily disclose those specifics in this setting – but we are a little bit more long-term focused as opposed to short-term focused when we make selections when we are on the clock.”


On how QB Deshaun Watson’s arrival affects the Browns’ draft plans:

“It really does not. Obviously, we feel good about the quarterback position, but we will really go into the weekend being flexible because you just never know how the board is going to fall. You can project and predict it as much as possible. Honestly, the past two years, the amount of draft capital that we have gone into the weekend with and come out of the weekend with has changed so a lot can happen over the course of those three days.”


On if the Browns expect QB Baker Mayfield to be on the roster after the draft and how the situation will ultimately be resolved:

“Quite honestly, anything regarding kind of speculation on the future or several months out, that is probably unfair because we realize that circumstances in the NFL change. Quite honestly, my focus has been on the draft next week because we are inside of a week. All of those kind of larger roster issues are things that  may surface over the next five, six or seven months, and I will shift my focus after [the draft].”


On if Mayfield could still be on the Browns’ roster when training camp starts:

“Again, that is not something I can speculate or predict at this point. Circumstances in the NFL change.”


On if the market for Mayfield will heat up after the first two days of the draft as teams know more about what they have in their QB rooms:

“I do not know that I can predict that necessarily.”


On if the Browns have fielded offers for Mayfield from other teams at this point:

“You know I probably would never discuss any conversations that we have on players on our roster or players on other rosters with other teams or GMs. I understand the question, though.”


On if he would say something is imminent regrading Mayfield’s status:

“I would not comment on that with trade discussions to be honest.”


On Mayfield’s comment about feeling ‘disrespected’ by the Browns:

“I think I have touched on this previously that we were transparent with our intentions with his reps. That being said, I think we can all understand how Baker feels, and sometimes things in the NFL, whether it is team related, coach related or player related, they may not work out. Baker is a competitive and driven young man who has had success as a quarterback and will continue to have success as a quarterback so definitely understand it.”


On the Browns signing QB Jacoby Brissett:

“At least since we have been here for three off seasons, we have mentioned that we think quarterback is the most important position, and that really kind of extends to the entire room. Backup quarterback for us will always be a priority just because of the way that the performance of that position goes often times defines your season. Just like you want to be insulated, whether it is for injury or lack of availability at other positions, it really is the same thing at quarterback. Jacoby is an individual who is very talented, he is seasoned, he has played in a number of different offenses and he has been called into action in several situations and several unique situations and has performed well. He is a guy who we were excited about going into the spring, and we were fortunate enough to acquire him.”


On the Browns’ investment at WR in recent years both in free agency and the draft:

“Across the roster, I do not think there really is any position that I just feel like we can stand pat or say that we are done. I know that may seem like a little bit more of a general answer, but quite honestly, that is probably how a majority of general managers think across the NFL. You are always looking to see if you can add talent or upgrade and add players who can impact your team, and to that position specifically, impact your passing game. We like the players who we have in the room, but we do believe in adding talent and competition where we can.”


On his comments about approaching the draft like an expansion team when adding talent and how that element affects positions where the team has a number of strong players, like DB:

“Not so much. I am not going to sit up here and tell you that there is zero factor in terms of your current roster. I think that would be disingenuous. At the same time because we are bit more long-term focused when we get to the draft, we are probably a bit more flexible than maybe people perceive as we work through the board.”


On how signing Browns players to contract extensions like CB Denzel Ward helps with the team’s long-term approach to the draft:

“It certainly is helpful when you have guys who are under contract for several years who are here. You are hopeful – there are no guarantees at the end of the day – that it is a position that is not top of mind for several years. We are certainly excited about reaching an agreement with Denzel. It does help with the long-term planning, but it does not necessarily mean that it would exclude us from taking a player at the position.”


On the draft capital spent to acquire Watson seeming outside of the Browns’ typical approach:

“We have talked a lot about how important we think the quarterback position is and making sure that you have great performance at that spot for sustainable success and sustainable winning. Players at that spot and players at other premium spots, you will see us get creative for potentially acquiring.”


On if DE Jadeveon Clowney and WR Jarvis Landry remaining free agents and the potential for them to return impacts the team’s approach for this draft:

“It does not.”


On if the Browns still have interest in Clowney and Landry:

“I would not comment on that specifically.”


On how Landry performed last season despite dealing with injuries:

“I thought Jarvis was productive for us last year, and he did battle through a few injuries and tough it out and got back as quickly as possible. I think everybody knows our affinity for Jarvis the person and Jarvis the competitor. I think he will have a successful season wherever he ends up next year.”


On explaining the process of deciding to move up in a draft to select a player:

“Honestly, it just really depends on how the board falls. Whether it is A: is there a player available who fits a specific profile in terms of their talent and in terms of what their projected impact maybe if they were added to the roster over the length of their rookie deal, and then ultimately, positional scarcity and cost – cost of the actual transaction to really move up or move down the board. All of those really come into play. I wish I could give you a standardized way of thinking through it, but the reality is each situation is a little bit more unique. Candidly, yesterday was our last formal strategy session, we really spend the bulk of this week talking through those types of different scenarios because at this point, all of the evaluations are completed so it is really talking through some of the different tradeoffs, selections you make a different spot or it is some of the different ways you might pivot if the board falls a certain way. We try and get as much of that done ahead of time. I would tell you, there are still things that you do not predict. JOK (LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah) last year would be one of them, but you try and have a framework in place where you can work through a situation that you may have not specifically prepared for in the week prior.”


On DT Malik McDowell’s potential to return to the Browns and if the team is thin at DT:

“I will answer the second part first. We like the guys we have in the room. I think it will be an opportunity for a couple of young guys who have been here for a year or two to step up into increased roles. I know it gets a little tired of hearing, but we look at talent across the roster, and if the opportunity presents itself at that position, we will take advantage of it if it is in front of us. In terms of Malik, continue to support him appropriately, but I would not get into any details regarding kind of an eventual return to the roster or anything along those lines.”


On if this is the deepest WR draft class he has seen:

“Honestly, I would say this, I think over the last couple of years, you have seen a lot of young pass catchers come into to the league and be successful. I do think that a big part of that is just kind of the evolution of not just college football but youth sports. I was talking to my wife (Brittan) last week because our boys are in like a multi-sport clinic, and one of the things is flag football. I was telling her when I came up, that was never an option to have a formal flag football league. It was like you are either in Pop Warner if you are going to get in at the age of four or five. It is just so different now. I think that effect has really tricked into our game. That goes into high school where when I was in high school, we were one of the highest passing teams, and we threw the ball maybe like 15-18 times a game. I think that is kind of cool. Now, you have guys who have come into the league who probably have had more proficiency throwing and catching the ball than maybe at any point recently within the sport.”


On how many WR prospects the Browns had in for top-30 visits:

“No, that is something I would not disclose, but that was a good question (laughter).”


On if has been part of a draft without a first-round pick:

“Good question. Yes, Indianapolis. It was actually after the (former Browns and Colts RB) Trent Richardson trade.”


On how different Thursday night will feel not having a first-round pick:

“I would not say that it feels much different because there are still a lot of decisions that you have to make over the course of the weekend. Maybe Thursday night in terms of the schedule we will potentially handle a little bit differently, but in terms of the intensity and focus for the weekend, that really has not changed.”


On if he feels handcuffed to move up in the second round after the Watson trade:

“No, not necessarily.”


On if the Watson trade makes it tougher to move up, if desired:

“No, not necessarily.”


On the likelihood of the Browns moving back into the first round:

“I would never rule out anything. I would say just candidly I think it is unlikely, but I do not want to say anything in absolutes because you just never know how situations arise. Quite honestly, I would not have expected us to move up last year. We have to be flexible with the situation.”


On what WR Amari Cooper does best:

“I think Amari is one of the best route runners in the NFL, and it is not just like a particular route that he can separate on but just really the diversity of ways that he can get open. He just has a really good feel for separating, whether it is laterally at the top of routes or even vertically. I think that is something that really stands out about his game. He has fantastic hands, as well. Catches the ball really well and has been productive for a long time in the NFL.”


On if the Browns have a certain goal regarding body types or skillsets when constructing the WRs room:

“Not necessarily. Really, you look for impact with skillsets. You can probably look across the league, the way receiver rooms are constructed or really good receiver rooms are constructed, they can take a lot of different shapes or forms.”


On the risk-reward of drafting a player who is recovering from an injury and may not be immediately available to play:

“It is definitely something that we run through. It really is unique to the player, and that is both the talent level, the position and then with your medical staff: What is the injury? What is the prognosis for not just recovery, where they are medically cleared, but also potential for long-term or short-term impact on performance, as well? All of those really come in to play. Also, quite honestly, the reality of it is that depending on the injury, if you are giving up a year of the player’s rookie contract, that also has to factor in, as well. Each situation really is unique.”


On how unique it is for a player with a first-round grade to drop into the second round, similar to the Browns’ acquisition of LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah last year:

“There are always surprises every year. That is, I think, quite honestly, the thing I have gained more patience with over my career because every year, you go in to the draft thinking it is going to play out in the worst-case scenario. Sometimes, it does. I am not going to lie, sometimes, it does. You go in thinking it is going to be the worst-case scenario and you are going to get wiped out, and it never falls that way. The reality of it is, if you polled everyone within our personnel, research and coaching groups about the board, even though we all work together and have organizational priorities and preferences, a lot of those boards would look different if it is like, ‘Hey, OK. You are the one making the call.’ Now, multiply that times 32 teams. As much as you think that you can project where players are going to go, and you may have a high degree of inaccuracy, there are just a lot of variance around it. There are surprises every year. It just becomes a matter of are you in a position to take advantage of it, and if you are, is it worth the cost.”


On if there are specific qualities the Browns may want to add to the WRs room during the draft:

“Honestly, it is best player possible. Some guys , they will produce because they are great route runners, they can separate and have great hands. Some guys can create because they can produce after the catch with RAC. Some guys are vertical threats. I feel fortunate that we have a really good coaching staff that will deploy individuals according to their strengths. A longwinded way of saying no particular preference as long as they can create an impact.”


On if the Browns could acquire more second-round picks:

“I think if you look through our draft history over the past two years, we have gone up and back. I think it probably more speaks to our flexibility within the moment. Volume is always a good thing. Candidly, that is something that is in area that we will probably always skew a bit more heavily as opposed to moving up, but I would not eliminate either direction.”


On if one of the Browns’ priorities for this draft is to add picks in 2023:

“Not necessarily. We have been fortunate that we have been able to add future picks in two drafts so far. It really just depends on the opportunity and then what you may be potentially passing up. We try our best to manage our draft capital as well as we can, but it really just depends on how the board falls and then quite honestly if we receive any calls or get any opportunities that make sense.”


On if media members may find draft rules or priorities for the Browns when evaluating the past two drafts:

“I do not know. I will have to leave you guys to figure out that mystery (laughter).”


On Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s comment about exchanging texts about draft scenarios for 2026:

“It was not 2026 – it was 2025 (laughter).”


On NFL teams being more willing to part ways with first-round draft picks for veteran players in recent years:

“I do not how much of a trend – obviously, (Rams General Manager) Les (Snead) has done a phenomenal job building that team – is a function of what the Rams have done recently. I think you would probably have to ask each individual team what led to the choice that they made. I do think that you are seeing a shift in the NFL that may be a little more similar to what we have seen in hoops and baseball. You are right, when I first started in the NFL and even just a handful of years ago, it was hard – the trade market was a lot more illiquid than it is currently. I think that observation is right. Time will tell if it continues, but it certainly allows for more opportunities for team building, regardless of where your roster is in its lifecycle.”


More on teams being more willing to part ways with first-round draft picks for veteran players in recent years, including with the impact of rookie contracts:

“It is a great question. I think it is probably more of an influx of more aggressive general managers as a new wave comes in. Probably different priorities in terms positional value, and certainly probably until recently, a rapidly increasing cap so probably more activity in both the trade market and free agency. Also, probably part of it is just there is more turnover throughout organizations in the NFL than maybe there had been a decade ago. That would really be my best guess.”


On if he could have anticipated three or five years ago that NFL GMs would be more open to and aggressive about trading first-round picks for veteran players:

“Five years ago, I probably would not have anticipated it. Three years ago, I probably would have been more open to the idea that the league would kind of shift in this direction.”


On if something changed with the trade for Watson, given the particulars of the deal were different than what was initially reported and what was on the official NFL transaction when complete:

“No, the only thing I can think of is we were really kind of finalizing the deal through the weekend, but the deal that is on the transaction wire is the final deal.”


On C Ethan Pocic and the team’s satisfaction with its depth at C:

“Never satisfied across the roster. Do feel good about the guys we have in the room. We do think highly of (C) Nick (Harris). We do think highly of Ethan. (G) Michael Dunn is someone who has played both spots, and (G) Hjalte Froholdt. We do think we have a number of individuals who both can snap and play guard.”


On if he let Cooper know that draft weekend and the Browns organization is not how it is necessarily portrayed in the movie ‘Draft Day’:

“You know what, you are exactly right (laughter). It is a lot calmer. I will share this with you, I remember a couple of years ago when it came out, I went and saw it with my wife (Brittan). She was like, ‘Is that really how it is during draft?’ I go, ‘No, I promise you it is a lot less stressful.’”


On if it is true that he was doing salary cap evaluations when he was in fifth grade, given the photos his wife, Brittan, shared on Twitter earlier this week:

“I heard about this – this is what I get for having my wife visit her in-laws on Easter weekend (laughter). There is some truth to that. I do not know what she put out there, but there is some truth to that. We got a Christmas gift one year – me and my brother – it was like a foosball table, but this was like a hockey table. We developed our own league and that type of thing and built out schedules, rosters and everything like that. Totally nerdy of me (laughter). Thank you, Brittan, for outing me on that.”


On the restricted free agent deadline approaching today and what will occur with RB D’Ernest Johnson:

“To be honest, again, my focus is really on the draft. We will be able to deal with all of those outstanding roster issues as we move forward. D’Ernest is a good player. We anticipate him being here. We will deal with that as we get into the weeks after the draft.”


On how much Mayfield’s contract is affecting trade discussions with other teams:

“Honestly, I would not comment on contractual matters. Like I said, we will deal with that situation as the circumstances evolve.”


On potential disappointment with Mayfield’s comment about being ‘disrespected,’ given the team’s focus of treating players fairly, and how frequently the Browns are speaking with Mayfield’s representation now during trade discussions:

“In terms of comments or anything, I really don’t pay a ton of attention to noise or kind of outside narratives so that is really kind of a non-factor. We try and stay in communication with all of our player reps, especially with sensitive or unique situations, and this is no different.”


On the NFL investigation of Hue Jackson’s comments in February:

“I think we addressed this last week in the team’s statement. Again, we will continue to cooperate with the investigation, and we are looking forward to having resolution and for them to release their findings. We feel just as strongly about everything as we did in February.”




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