Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry/Head Coach Kevin Stefanski/Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta (4.30.22)

Opening statement:

Berry: “Just wanted to start off by acknowledging and thanking again all of the scouts, coaches and research analysts who contributed this weekend, and quite honestly, continue to contribute this weekend as we prepare for the undrafted free agent process once the draft ends. Really appreciate the work that our groups have done. We always view this weekend as a chance to add young talent to the roster. We are certainly excited about the individuals who we have added the course of three days. We are also very happy about the additional draft resources, both this year and next year, that we were able to accumulate over the course of the weekend. The reality of it is we still do not play until September. There is still work to do on the roster. After we go through the undrafted free agent process, we will take a quick breather and then really get right back on the saddle because there are still areas that we can fortify and add competition before camp. That will be our mindset moving forward.”


On if DT Perrion Winfrey will be running or biking to Cleveland, based on the energy Winfrey displayed in the media interview earlier today:

Berry: “Probably running (laughter).”


On if the Browns accomplished all that they wanted in this draft:

Berry: “I will tell you, I have probably never been a part of a draft where you literally accomplish everything that you want. There are always, whether it is opportunities, players or some other facet, that either do not go your way or maybe it is a bit ambitious. We are really pleased with how we are coming out of the weekend, but the reality is no roster is perfect, our roster is not perfect and we are going to continue to look for opportunities to improve it.”


On his involvement in acquiring QB Deshaun Watson:

DePodesta: “Certainly [involved] with the senior leadership team throughout. I did not go meet him along with ownership, AB and Kevin. Sort of in all of the meetings throughout all of the months and certainly was a part of those conversations.”


On adding competition at RB, CB and C with those rooms having depth prior to the draft:

Berry: “Having competition is a good problem to have. I think oftentimes your needs or areas of strengths today are not necessarily the same as tomorrow. We want to go in to camp with as deep of a team as possible, whether it is for injury or other opportunities that may arise. We would view that as a good problem to have.”


On if the expectation was K Cade York would not have been available with the team’s next pick if not taken at that time:

Berry: “We certainly thought that was a possibility. You saw that little specialist run in the fourth round when a kicker and I think either two or three punters that went off shortly afterward. Realized that is a little high for where kickers typically go, but we do think that he is an excellent prospect and has a good chance to be a good kicker for a long time.”


On how the Browns may change strategy on special teams with York:

Stefanski: “I think you take all of that into account. I want to give Cade a chance to get on campus here, get to work with the coaches and those types of things. Obviously, when you are making in-game decisions, you are taking everything into account.”


On when making the trade back yesterday if acquiring the capital to draft York was a significant factor:

Berry: “Not necessarily. We had a number of prospects who were in the mix in that fourth-round range. Even as we just reshuffled the board overnight, we had a number of individuals who we felt comfortable in that range, and we just tried to sequence it as best possible to get as many as possible in the next two rounds.”


On if the team was surprised that it was able to get Winfrey in the fourth round, given some people had him graded in the second round:

Berry: “We did think that he went later than what we would have assumed. We were happy that he was there. We think that he is a really good fit in our scheme as an up-field, gap-shooting 3-tech. Obviously, he is as low energy as they come (laughter). We are excited to get him here.”


On CB Martin Emerson’s potential as a slot CB or if CB Greg Newsome II will be the team’s top inside CB:

Stefanski: “We have to work through all of that. I think it would be unfair to say yet, but really value versatility among the defensive backs so we want to work with multiple guys in there. You mentioned Greg. Greg has done it in-game. I think with Martin, get him on campus, work with him and see what he is capable of, but we really want all of those guys to feel comfortable playing in there.”


On if the Browns knew the team would trade CB Troy Hill today after drafting Emerson yestreday:

Berry: “No, that was set in stone.”


On adding three players to the Browns DL and if that was a position the team identified as an area that needed to be improved after last season:

Stefanski: “I think Andrew and the crew did a great job of just making sure that we made picks at each spot that made sense based on the board and where the value lied. It happened that it was three defensive linemen, like you mentioned, but those are three guys that we like and three guys that we think fit our scheme and fit what we are about. It just happened to shake out that way, but you are always excited to add young guys in the mix, young guys in the room and add competition to all of these spots.”


On if free agent DE Jadeveon Clowney could still potentially return to the Browns after the number of DL the team drafted this weekend:

Berry: “We will continue to keep our thumb on the pulse of all of the veteran markets. I would not comment on a specific player, but we think highly of JD. Like I said, we will take our breath tomorrow, and we will be back at it with roster building next week.”


On if the team is pleased with the results following the trade back from No. 44:

Berry: “Yeah, we were pleased in terms of how we navigated the board.”


On if the extra fourth-round picks enabled the Browns to do what was desired later in the draft:

Berry: “It did. It did give us a little bit more flexibility, whether it was selecting players in the middle rounds or even moving some picks around into next year. That was all helpful.”


On when the team became committed to seeking the best K in the draft, including if it was when watching the playoffs or after the season:

Berry: “Honestly, kicker has been a spot that we have monitored for several drafts. Having specialists on a rookie deal, a young, high-potential specialist on a rookie deal is something that is valuable and important to us. Just like with anything, the value and just the opportunity cost of when you are considering that player is important so I would not say it is something that was new in terms of our thinking. I think we all know in this room how difficult it is to kick here in Cleveland. With (K) Cade (York), we certainly think has the raw talent to do so.”


On selecting three players from Oklahoma during this draft:

Berry: “Someone mentioned it to me when I was coming down. I do not even think it necessarily hit my brain at that time. It just happens to be an interesting coincidence.”


On RB Jerome Ford:

Berry: “We really think Jerome has a well-rounded game. A bigger guy who can really run. I actually think one of the areas in his game that is probably a little bit understated is just his ability in the passing game, particularly as a receiver. He is a guy who we think can generate explosive plays for us. We are looking forward to seeing him get with the coaching staff and seeing what he can do.”


On RB Demetric Felton potentially spending more time in the RBs room and being more focused on that position, given he spent some time working with RBs and WRs last season, and area scout Max Paulus’ comment during a draft interview:

Stefanski: “I think with Demetric, and what Max is eluding to, is he has and can spend time in two different rooms, and that is again a credit to Demetric. We will be smart about how we do it over the course of the next several weeks. At the end of the day – we have talked about this – Demetric is a football player so he will certainly spend time with the running backs and then just see how it shakes out over the next few weeks.”


On if the Browns likely will need to trade one of its current RBs, given the number of talented backs in the room and limited number of carries available:

Berry: “I would say we will deal with it day by day. You do want to go to camp with a good number there, and I think that is an area that we think we not only have quantity but quality. We will see how it shakes out. We have five months before we are playing so I don’t know what the future holds.”


On the next step for RB D’Ernest Johnson, given the contract situation:

Berry: “I would not touch on any individual contract situation. We still think very highly of D’Ernest. We would anticipate him being here moving forward, but we will see.”


On QB Baker Mayfield remaining on the Browns roster through the draft and the status of the situation moving forward:

Berry: “I think I would probably just go back to what I said last night: it is a fluid situation. We will deal with it day by day. We are pleased with the weekend and pleased with the guys that we added, and we are looking forward as we turn the page on tonight.”


On if the Browns initial plan was to make nine picks and also add draft capital for next year:

Berry: “Definitely not a target. We really do try to take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves to us. I have mentioned here multiple times that we are flexible either way moving up or moving down, but volume is important to us combined with quality. It is not like we went into the weekend saying, ‘Hey, look, this is the number of players that we want to pick.’ We just felt like between the prospects who were on the board and the trade opportunities that came to us it was the right decision in specific spots.”


On if the Browns will now likely wait to trade Mayfield during the summer in the event another team sustains an injury at QB and it creates a new trade opportunity:

Berry: “I would probably go back to what I said  a little bit earlier: it is fluid, and we will deal with it as circumstances change.”


On if Mayfield is allowed to show up for mandatory veteran minicamp or if the team will tell him not to attend if Mayfield remains on the roster, given the offseason program is voluntary until that point:

Berry: “I understand the question. Honestly, all of the hypotheticals, my mind is on the Draft and the CFA process that we are going to have here shortly. Like I said, fluid situation, and we will deal with it as it comes.”


On if specialists were a priority for the Browns this offseason:

Berry: “It was a big priority for us this offseason to make sure that we had added some competition and talent to the kicking game. I think that is something that coming out of last year that we thought we could make improvements, and we are certainly excited about some of the individuals who we have added to the roster.”


On if Winfrey or special teams coordinator Mike Priefer is more excited today, given Winfrey’s energy in the media interview earlier today and the number of specialists added, respectively:

Berry: “Probably Preif…”


Stefanski: “Perrion is louder (laughter). I think Coach Prief is excited. I think we are excited to add those guys. Like AB mentioned, we added competition, and we added good players. I just think you go through every one of the rooms in here, including the specialist and including the return game, we want to add competition.”


On how having a franchise QB affects draft plans:

Berry: “Honestly, from our perspective, I do not know that it is too different because I think those are really kind of separate questions or separate issues, so to speak. Certainly, happy to have to Deshaun here. Certainly, happy to have your franchise guy, but the aim with the draft is to try and maximize the pool of talent or the pool of resources that you have moving forward, that is really more of the focus.”


On how this draft was different due to coaching, personnel and research staffs having spent the past three years together:

De Podesta: “Three years ago, we were doing it from home. In that sense, it feels a lot different. I think I talked about this a little bit last night on the radio, years ago, we were drafting rookies so they could come play on our team because we had holes on our team. We wanted to get to a point where we were drafting players who were going to have to compete for any kind of playing time at all. I think that is where we have gotten to now. We were not really drafting for need necessarily in these last couple of days. We were drafting for best player for the most part. These guys are going to have to come in and compete. There have been some questions about depth in different rooms. Hey, those are first-world problems, right? That is what we wanted to try to create and what we have been trying to create for years. In that sense, yeah, it feels different than it did once upon a time, but I think we felt that building and building over the last couple of years.”


On evaluating the Browns WRs room:

DePodesta: “I think we really like the mix. Certainly – Kevin can talk about this, too – the different characteristics that each guy brings, I think collectively it is a really, really nice room. I think we feel like the room can do sort of do everything. We have some speed. We have some great route runners. We have guys who are tough after the catch. We have guys who have contested-catch ability. In terms of building out concepts within our scheme, I think there is an awful lot we can do with these guys.”


On if the Browns offense will transition more to 11 personnel compared to 13 personnel, given the current roster and number of TEs on it:

Stefanski: “I think we have to get through the next few weeks and get through training camp until you really figure out where you are going to go come September. That is our job to adapt to the roster, so to speak. We want to put our best players on the field. By September, I think we will know who those guys are. It is early to say anything definitively.”


On if the Browns currently have enough depth at T:

Stefanski: “We feel good about the guys we have on our roster. I think we have guys who work really, really hard. I think it is a good group. Again, this is a big offseason for our players. This is a big time to take a step for some young guys and for some older guys even to get better through these spring OTAs and minicamp. We feel good about the roster where it is.”


On expectations for WR Anthony Schwartz, given the crowded WR room and the time Schwartz missed in 2021:

Stefanski: “He is not forgotten by me or us. We are counting on him to have a big year. We are excited about his development. He is a kid who knows he wants to work. He is here. He is working hard with Deshaun. Paul mentioned just the different skillsets in that room so we are excited about what Anthony brings to the table.”


On the shift in the NFL for teams to be more willing to trade picks, including for established veterans, and what that means moving forward:

DePodesta: “I don’t know the history in terms of exactly what it looks like today volume of transactions versus what it was two years ago or 10 years ago. A team like New England has always been very active so it is not as though we suddenly have a lot of activity that we did not have previously. I do think teams are sometimes they are in different cycles, and that impacts their willingness to either trade up or trade down. I also think teams are doing a great job just in general of scouting players. Just this last weekend – AB can comment on this if he wants – he was pretty efficient in terms of the way players were drafted. I would say five or six years ago, you get past maybe the first 50 picks, and it just goes in lots of different directions and you are surprised at different guys who get taken in different slots. This year, it was a lot of really good players getting taken in really good slots. Very, very few players were sliding through to later rounds that would surprise you. In that sense, I think teams have gotten very good at it, and they are being aggressive when they go see something or if they do not have something, they are happy trading back. What we never know when we go into a draft is what kind of opportunities we are going to have in either direction. There have been times where we have wanted to trade up and have not been able to and we have wanted to trade back and have not been able to, and there were times where we were ready to take a player and we got an offer we could not refuse to move back. We never go into the draft with the idea that we are going to make a certain number of trades because you just never know what kind of opportunity is going to present itself.”


On factors leading to trading Hill:

Berry: “With Troy, we just felt like it was a good opportunity for us. It was a position that we felt like we had depth. We thought the value was appropriate for us. Really, it was just as simple as that. It came together relatively quickly.”


On making a trade with Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who previously was with the Browns:

Berry: “That was a fun one. I will be honest, we had a couple discussions – probably had maybe three or four separate discussions – throughout the weekend about a couple of trades. It was finally nice to actually execute one with him. That was good.”


On selecting his first 23-year old player with the Browns (DE Isaiah Thomas):

Berry: “(Laughter) I would say this, age is important, but it is not the only thing. It all factors into it. We are not age purists as everyone may believe. We really do want good football players.”


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