Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry (4.29.22)

Opening statement:

“Before starting, I actually wanted to take a moment just to wish my daughter Eden happy birthday. It is her first birthday so that is the first thing. You will forever be my best first round draft pick (laughter).


“Always looking forward to draft weekend and Friday night adding  good young players. With (CB) Martin (Emerson), (DE) Alex (Wright), and (WR) David (Bell), we are excited about the talent and energy that they will bring to those positions rooms. I know our coaching staff is excited to work with them once they get on campus. They are three guys who we think can really help improve our account base across the roster. We are really excited. We realize we have a lot of work to do tomorrow because we have a number of picks on Day 3.”


On WR David Bell:

“It probably starts really with just his hands. We thought he had some of the best hands in this draft class. He is also very savvy as a route runner, just very nuanced and polished and has the ability to separate. We think he is a guy who can really play both outside and inside, but we think that he can really make a living with his size, his savvy and his hands in the slot, but we are excited to get to work with him. Ultimately, that will be (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) and AVP (offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt and CO’s (pass game coordinator/wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea) decision.”


On the decision to trade back from No. 44:

“Each decision in terms of trading up or moving back is largely based on the pool of players that we have on the board at that time. For us, that decision was made because we did feel like we had a number of players who were graded similarly. I would say that even in this draft class, we did feel like the sweet spot was more mid-to-late second day and in the middle rounds. It is really just how the board felt at some of the different spots that we were targeting. We felt good about the value and adding to the volume picks that we would have this weekend.”


On the concept of never having enough CBs and if that is important:

“It is. It is. That is a position group there to some degree they are like racecars. When you have good ones, you really feel it in a positive way, and if you are banged up or you do not have depth there, we felt that a number of times before where you really are holding your breath from play to play. Martin is a young, long corner who can press and play off. We were excited to get him there at No. 68.”


On if the Browns came into the day hoping to trade down from No. 44 or if there were players the team was targeting at that spot before trading back:

“We did not consciously come in saying, ‘Hey, we are definitely going to trade down from No. 44.’ It was how the board fell for us. Now that being said, we do believe in adding volume, whether in the present year or in future years, so we will perhaps always be a little bit more naturally inclined there, but we never go in with a hard and fast rule to say, ‘Hey, regardless of what the what is there, we are going to trade out of it or trade out of the pick.’”


On if the Browns are disappointed that there was no trade for QB Baker Mayfield yet:

“No. What I would tell you is probably the same thing I told you guys beforehand, that is a fluid situation. We will deal with it day to day. My focus has really been on the guys who we acquired and who are going to be rookie players in the next fall.”


On reports about discussions with other teams about potentially trading Mayfield throughout the evening:

“I would not comment on any discussions that we have with other teams. I have said that before. I also cannot comment on the reports because I have not seen them.”


On a report that a potential trade for Mayfield broke down over the amount of money each team would cover on the contract:

“I would not comment on any speculation.”


On if there is a sense possible landing spots for Mayfield are dwindling as the draft progresses:

“No, honestly, our focus is really what we are going to do with our own picks as opposed to necessarily what other teams are doing in the quarterback market. We had enough to think about on Day 2 with the number of picks we had and the moves we made. That was really our sole focus.”


On when discussions occur about potentially trading back, including at No. 44 with the Texans:

”What typically happens since the draft has gone to this three-day format, especially if you are picking closer to the top of the second round, as everybody resets their board, there is actually a fair amount of conversation throughout the day. We had a number of teams that we had discussions with of potentially moving up or moving down quite frankly. That was throughout the day, but then as the names started falling off the board, that determines the strategy for not only us but other clubs. We had a fair amount of communication with a number of teams really since the morning, and then obviously, that carried through to when we made a decision when we were on the clock at No. 44.


On if he expected this high amount of movement and volatility in the draft:

“You learn that every draft is unique. I think that this draft certainly has been even more unique than others in the past, but it is great. The ability to have movement or have different opportunities makes it unpredictable, but it also creates chances to improve.”


On Wright:

“With Alex, he was really a favorite across the organization – scouts, coaches and our research and strategy group. We like him because he is a player who profiles as what we call a big end or a strong-side end, but with Alex, he really has the versatility to rush outside and inside. We love his frame. We love his ability to rush the passer. This is a guy who when we brought him in for a 30 visit, everybody just spoke glowingly. He is very driven, he is very smart and a very humble individual, and we think he is a player who can really grow into the ideal big end for us and rush inside and out. We are excited to have him. He is a perfect scheme fit for our defense.”


On if the Browns third round epitomizes the team’s big picture, long-term approach to the draft as opposed to focusing on immediate impact:

“I would not necessarily classify it that way. I think that in terms of big picture versus [immediate] impact, I think with many young or rookie players, regardless of if they were picked first overall or whatever the last pick is at 230 or whatever that ends up being. I think at least how we maneuvered or navigated this draft, it was really dictated just by circumstances. One thing, if you are not picking up at the top of the draft, you really can’t dictate to it so you really have to be flexible, adapt and adjust and ultimately try and stay true to your board and opportunities that present itself because when you force things, that is usually when you kind of turn around and regret it. We are hopeful that the decisions that we made tonight will prove fruitful for us, but we will not know that for really a couple of years.”


On Wright’s ability in run defense:

“Candidly, he has the frame to be excellent over there, but we think that is an area where he can improvements. We think that Alex shows the natural pass rush ability, he has the length, he has the size and really as he continues to mature and develop physically, we would expect him to have the potential to be an effective three-down player.”


On if Wright’s ability to play woodwinds factored into the decision:

“I wish I could say it did (laughter).”


On the benefits of having a leader like DE Myles Garrett in the building to help mentor younger players:

“We are very fortunate to have Myles Garrett. He is one of the best in the game and can really model the work ethic needed to be at the top of the profession. Young players in that position group are very fortunate, and we certainly do not take it for granted either.”


On many people being surprised the Browns’ first pick would be a CB:

“I do not know that I would have said that either. Candidly, I have told you guys before, we do look at it like we have an expansion team and we try to take advantage of the opportunities that are there. Yes, there are preferences maybe going into the weekend where you are like, ‘Hey, it would be great if we could select an individual at this specific position at this specific value,’ but you also can’t force it . We feel like Martin is an excellent prospect for us at a premium position. We are looking forward to having him in the building.”


On if the Browns would be averse to picking more DEs or WRs tomorrow:

“I would not be averse to anything.”


On why WR David Bell was still available late in the third round, given Bell’s productivity at Purdue:

“I think part of the reality of it is just he did not run as well as he had hoped or as expected in the spring, but a highly productive player and has a skillset that is playable in the NFL, and we are happy to have him.”


On confidence Bell can produce in the NFL despite not being the fastest WR:

“At the receiver position, there are a number of different styles that produce. Look, everybody loves speed across the field, but there are also fast guys that really don’t have the route running ability to actually separate; they can run really fast, but everyone is pretty fast in the NFL. There are also receivers that are bigger body types that have the ability to separate laterally or have the savviness to win at the top of the routes. I think good receivers come in different shapes and sizes, and although David may not be the fastest player in the NFL, I think he has a number of compensating factors that will allow him to produce.”


On Bell’s pro day, given some players perform better at their pro day than the NFL Combine:

“Going in as we looked at David’s profile, our expectation was not that he was going to come into the spring and run a 4.3. That is not why we drafted him. You have to go in knowing here are his areas of strengths and his skillset, and then the question becomes given what he does well, as you talk through it with your coaching staff, can we utilize those strengths where he can have an effective role. Even though he may not be the burner, can we use his size, his hands and his ability to separate at the top of a route and is that something that is playable in terms of how we want to design the offense? That is really more how we go about it.”


On if Bell is viewed as more of a slot WR:

“We think he can play inside and out. Just because a player does not play inside or does not play outside, it really is more projecting forward, we think he has the physical characteristics and quite honestly the mental acumen where he can use it effectively.”


On if the draft additions affect the possibility of bringing back free agents DE Jadeveon Clowney or WR Jarvis Landry:

“Any veteran additions would really be independent questions for us.”


On Emerson’s strengths:

“We actually thought Martin has a pretty well-rounded game. Obviously, he has top-level size for the position. We think he is effective in press, but usually when you get those longer, bigger corners, they have a level of leginess when they are playing from depth, in zone or in space. You see less of that with Martin. Whatever you do see, he makes up for with his instincts. We actually thought he had a pretty well-rounded game [in terms of] press, zone, off and good run supporter. We liked him a lot.”


On evaluating the difference between players available at No. 44 and later in the evening, along with the decision to trade back:

“I think certainly for the individuals that may have been the best fit for our offensive and defensive systems, there was maybe a little bit of a flatter curve in terms of the talent base. That does not mean that there were not really good players who went ahead of No. 44 or went between No. 44 and No. 68, but we did feel comfortable taking that risk given the additional picks that we were able to acquire.”


On comfort with having QB Baker Mayfield on the roster after draft weekend concludes:

“We feel fine. Like I mentioned, it is something we will deal with day to day. The focus is really on the players who we can add to the team, and we will deal with that situation as it progresses.”


On the challenge of the circumstances with Mayfield and trade discussions:

“I would not say it is any more challenging than really a lot of situations that cross a general manager’s desk. I would say over the past two and half years, we have all probably dealt with a number of unique ones, starting with the pandemic. It comes with the territory in terms of dealing with different roster situations. I would not say that it is unique in that regard.”


On WR David Bell’s standout performances against Iowa and Michigan State and how Bell complements WR Amari Cooper:

“David has certainly risen to the occasion in big moments and big games against top level competition in the conference so that certainly stands out. It is not the end-all-be-all, but it certainly stands out in his case. I guess I think about it less in terms of complementing Amari, and we really try and just get the best group of pass catchers that we can, given the constraints and given the resources at our disposal.”


On how having years of experience with Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, the entire coaching staff and organization is beneficial compared to their first draft together:

“It definitely makes it a lot smoother. Even just thinking back to the first offseason, you talk though it and you try and go through A to Z so that you understand the vision that your coaches and your coordinators have for the team, but then there also is the element of seeing it play out over the course of seasons where you are like ‘OK, maybe how I thought about this was the wrong way’ or, ‘OK, this is actually how we are utilizing a certain skillset.’ Definitely with time, it does make it easier and it does make it a little more seamless.


On how to best evaluate a player like Emerson who was not targeted often in college:

“With corners and honestly with DBs in general, there still is a lot of information in plays where a guy is not targeted. He is targeted enough and you get a sense for his ball skills and in those competitive situations. It is also a good thing at times where they are doing a job that they may be doing something well away from the ball. When we evaluate these guys, it is not just following the ball and using those as the only relevant plays; it really is a little bit more wholistic.”


On the run on WRs early in the draft:

“The runs are always interesting. For me or at least where I feel like I have matured is just the things that you can’t control. There is no sense in stressing about it and just realizing that you have to be adaptable and flexible in terms of how you navigate the day or how you navigate the board. We feel good about the guys who we acquired today, and we are looking forward to tomorrow.”


On players seeming to get picked either higher or lower than their initial third-party draft grades, particularly at certain positions:

“I think that may speak to maybe how the talent pool flattens out over the course of the three days where there may be in certain stretches players who are very similar but how they will be valued in a certain organization or certain offensive or defensive system may swing wildly. The reality is when you get to Day 2, you are getting the individuals who may have a few more weaknesses than the ones who go in the top 10, and depending on what those strengths and weaknesses are, it may be a better fit in one organization versus another.”


On the theory that the pandemic may have impacted the depth across this draft more compared to other years:

“I will be honest, I have heard that theory; I have not given it a whole lot of thought. I wish I had an intelligent answer for you, but I really do not.”


On determining when to move up in the draft for a specific player:

“I think it is a couple of different factors. Certainly, the overall talent level of the player, the position, the scarcity of the position and then really the acquisition cost – the cost of the actual trade. When all of those things align, whether it is based on your needs or what you are trying to do on that particular evening, it makes sense to make the move. The reality is if any one of those things do not line up, whether it is there is depth at the position or maybe it does not make sense for us to expend this resource for this particular player if the talent is not there or all of these things line up and maybe we have a trade in the works and then it disappears because of how the board shakes out. I will share this with you, I was telling (Senior Vice President of Communications) Peter (John-Baptiste) on the way down, ‘Did we only make one trade tonight?’ (laughter) because you have so many conversations every time that the clock is approaching about going up or down. ‘Oh man, it was only one movement on the board.’ I think that is actually pretty typical at NFL team I have been.”


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