Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry and Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (4.29.21)

 

Opening statement:

Berry: “Before we get started on (CB) Greg (Newsome II), it has obviously been a very memorable day in the Berry household so I want to just take a little bit of time just to No. 1 say thank you to all the staff at University Hospitals St. John’s Medical Center, give a shoutout to my wife Brittan who is a trooper and then just say hi to my new baby girl, Eden. It has been a whirlwind of a day but a really, really positive one for my family.

 

“Greg, he was one of the guys who we targeted throughout the draft process. He fits really our profile for the Cleveland Browns. He was a player who was really a multi-year producer in a Power Five conference. A great physical talent. He is one of the youngest guys in the draft class despite how much he accomplished at the college level, and he fits the smart, tough, accountable profile that we want out of our players that we really bring in the building. We are excited to add him to the team. Looking forward to getting him on campus, so to speak.”

 

On if it was a surprise that Newsome was available to the Browns at No. 26:

Berry: “You know what, we had a feeling that he might be in the ballpark of our pick. I think if you probably polled everybody within our group, there might be a little bit of a 50/50 split. We thought he might fall within striking distance. We by no means were sure, but obviously, we were pretty happy to take him once we knew he was going to be available.”

 

On how tired he is today:

Berry: “I am running on pure adrenaline right now (laughter).”

 

On Newsome’s traits and how they fit defensive coordinator Joe Woods’ scheme:

Berry: “One of the things that appealed to us about Greg was that we thought he was one of the more well-rounded corners in the class. Obviously, he has the size, length and speed that we bet probably every team wants at the position, but here is a guy who can play press effectively. They played a heavy dose of zone and off-man at Northwestern, which he was able to do effectively, and he makes plays on the ball. Even then, he is tough in run support. What we liked is that from our perspective, there was not a major discernible hole within his skillset, and he has a high level of competency across all areas that we value with the cornerback position.”

 

On Newsome’s expected role and how it may impact CB Greedy Williams:

Berry: “In terms of role, that is really a decision with Kevin and the coaching staff. Really this pick has no reflection or bearing on Greedy. From our perspective, cornerback is a group where we want to be deep and we want to have a lot of guys who can cover. I think we saw the value of having really good cover corners last year, and that is an area where we want to be deep over time. That has no reflection whatsoever on Greedy’s recovery or our faith in him.”

 

On Newsome playing with a chip on his shoulder and saying he wants to be and is the best CB in this class:

Berry: “We definitely want guys who are intrinsically motivated, highly competitive and driven to be great. We feel like in the time that we did spend with Greg throughout the pre-draft process and who we talked to it at Northwestern, we certainly felt like he fit that mold.”

 

On Newsome’s injury history:

Berry: “That is something that we always look at. We were very comfortable with it. Our medical staff and our orthopedic staff were very comfortable with it. Look, he was a little bit banged up, but this is also a guy who started since his true freshman year. Quite honestly, he is 20 years old on draft day so he is still really kind of growing into his body and growing into his frame. That is not something that we had major reservations, and more importantly, that is not something that our doctors had reservations about.”

 

On how Newsome fits within the Browns:

Stefanski: “I think all of the points that Andrew hit. He fits culturally – being smart, tough and accountable. He fits schematically. He has the body type to play man and to play zone. He makes plays on the ball. There are a lot of things about his game that we are really excited about.”

 

On how Newsome’s age was considered in the draft process, given Newsome is one of the youngest players in the draft:

Berry: “It is something that we take into consideration. I do not mean that to say that we overweighed it, but for us when you look at Greg, he is one of the maybe 10 or 15 youngest players in the draft and has three years of high-level production in a major conference. That is something that you just typically do not see for very many players in any given draft class. That is just something that I point out because I think it is a little bit unique with Greg in particular as opposed to something that is maybe always top of mind, if that makes sense.”

 

On if the talent the Browns have added on defense fits Woods’ goals:

Stefanski: “I think if you go through free agency and obviously, we are only one round into this, we are trying to add players at every level of the defense, certainly on offense and with special teams in mind. We are just trying to add players wherever the opportunity presents itself. This happened to be a really, really good fit for us. Obviously, like we have talked about before with Joe with some of the guys we have been able to add through free agency, it should give us an element of versatility and allow some different things to open up. For this moment for the Round 1 to get a player of Greg’s caliber, it is an exciting time for us.”

 

On what stood out about Newsome’s character and personality:

Berry: “For me when we went through the interview process with Greg, it was really his intelligence and really just his mastery of the defensive system at Northwestern and not just his role but roles across the secondary. He could really kind of walk through everything almost reflexively. That is something that certainly I found very impressive.”

 

On if there were any questions or concerns that Newsome only had one interception:

Berry: “I would not necessarily read into that. He was still a pretty significant ball producer. I want to say (LA Rams CB) Jalen Ramsey may have had one or two picks in his college career. Part of it is just the coverage and the technique they may be playing may not necessarily always be conducive to high interception totals. One of the things that we do like about Greg is he can find the ball and ultimately play the ball down the field.”

 

Stefanski: “How many picks did you have in college? (laughter)”

 

Berry: “I had five (laughter).”

 

Stefanski: “You knew that right away.”

 

On if the Browns discussed tonight moving up in the first round:

Berry: “We fielded calls in really both directions, and that is pretty typical with any draft. Really as the board fell, there were a number of players that we liked within the range that we were picking so ultimately, we felt comfortable kind of sweating it out, so to speak, as Greg fell to us, but it is something that we certainly explored throughout the evening.”

 

On if the Browns had Virginia Tech and Titans CB Caleb Farley rated as a first-round draftable player:

Berry: “Good question, but I won’t share what we had in terms of our draft board.”

 

On how much of a factor Newsome’s demeanor on and off the field was during the draft process:

Berry: “I don’t think in general demeanor will necessarily weigh heavily for us. I think there are other things that we consider more when we are looking at a prospect. One thing that did strike me with Greg is he is pretty laid back off of the field and obviously very respectable, but when he is on the field, he really does flip a switch. Very, very confident and highly competitive, which is something that we love to see.”

 

On how extensive the Browns’ meeting time with Newsome was pre-draft, given Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald spoke a lot about it:

Berry: “Without going into specifics, enough to feel like we knew the player well. That is not intended to be a cute answer. It really just depends on prospect to prospect. For us, we will weight more heavily the reference work that we do, our scouts do and our coaches do. With people who have been with these prospects every day, in Greg’s case for the last three seasons, that is something that we will weigh more heavily than an hour-long Zoom call.”

 

On the upside for improvement for the Browns defense this upcoming season, given the significant number of new players on that side of the ball:

Stefanski: “We recognize that we have brought in guys in free agency. Again, we are just one round into this, but we are not going to focus on anything outside of here and now. We know we have added some players and it is going to be a great competition on the roster, but what that means for the fall, we have a lot of work to do before we get there”

 

On if the Bengals selecting a WR solidified the Browns’ desire to select Newsome or a top CB, particularly knowing the Ravens did the same in Round 1:

Berry: “I can’t say that had any bearing on our decision, but you look at our competitors in the AFC North, three good young players entered our division tonight. Certainly, kudos to those organizations, and we are going to have our hands full.”

 

On if the Browns spent quality Zoom time with Newsome leading up to the draft:

Stefanski: “With all of these guys, we spent some quality Zoom time – Andrew a ton, our scouts a ton and our coaches. As we are showing right here, it is amazing what can get accomplished virtually. We felt really, really comfortable with the person. The tape is the résumé, and we obviously dug into the tape. Like Andrew referenced, the reference work we did and then just getting to know the kid, we feel extremely comfortable with the person we are bringing into the fold.”

# # #

 

***Visit the Browns Media Center for materials provided by the Browns communications department, including media schedules, press releases, quotes, photos, media guides, rosters, depth charts and more.***