Vice President of Football Operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (4.30.21)


Opening statement:

“Really excited about the pick we just made. You turn on the film, and (WR) Anthony (Schwartz) just jumps off the tape to you. We like to think about the wide receiver position in terms of dimensions. Thematically, what does he add to the room? What does he add to the group? We love the vertical presence, and he is not your typical track guy. He has a run after catch mindset and he wants to finish plays, and you do not always see that from guys like that. We love the dimensions he brings to the room and the competition he brings to that room. You give somebody like (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) a person who has the ability to add dimension to our offense. I think we can see great value on the field.”


On missing speed on offense last season after WRs Odell Beckham Jr.’s and JoJo Natson’s injuries:

“You miss a guy like Odell Beckham in an offense and you are going to miss a lot of things, not just the vertical presence. Somebody like Kevin knows how to find that vertical presence in different ways so we had to figure out different ways to do it last year. To your point, you add somebody like Anthony, and it just gives you that dimension again and you can play around with different matchup combinations and just figure out ways to stress the defense.”


On if more teams are looking for a speed weapon and explosive threat, similar to Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill if they can be found:

“Yeah, there are a lot of Tyreek Hills walking on the face of the Earth (laughter). The NFL goes in certain directions and then it will peel back in a different direction. I try not to speak too much about what is happening because the game is constantly evolving. Yeah, we try and find ways to shorten the field and make it easier for the offense to finish off drives. Players like him are that type, and they can do it multiple ways. They can do it through vertical routes and they can do it with the ball in their hands when you give it to them in space so that is why we like him, and obviously, players like Tyreek Hill are no different.”


On if Schwartz is a best fit for slot or outside WR and how he complements the rest of the Browns WR corps:

“I said it in my opening statement, we try and think about the receiver in terms of dimensions that they bring to the room not necessarily position. We try not to be so kind of bottled up into ‘does he play in the slot or does he play on the outside.’ We try and ask what dimension does he bring to our offense and can we find ways to impact our team through separation, run after the catch or whatever he brings to the field. We do not really think about it in terms of exact position, but we think about it in terms of what they bring to the table. How they fit with those guys? Again, you are adding a guy who has the potential to be an elite vertical presence and really good with the ball in his hands. That combination in any room is going to help. Obviously, he complements their skillsets greatly, and those guys are so versatile that they all can play off each other. Again, when you add guys who multiple dimensions and multiple ways to help an offense, they kind of work off of each other so it is not in a specific way as to your question but just generally what you are bringing to the room.”


On the Browns drafting a WR with the team’s current depth at the position:

“If you have heard Andrew talk about the draft, people always think about the draft in terms of one-year horizons, but you are really drafting for this year but also for multiple-year horizons. There are needs that are going to come in your organization that you never know when they come about so you want to be prepared. Ultimately, it is about the value of the player that you see versus where you are picking in the draft. We just thought it was a good opportunity to add a really good player to our team for the value, and you leave it to Kevin to figure that out. Kevin is really smart, he is really good and he will find a way to add productive players and make them useful in our offense.”


On assuming the Browns will find a way to get Schwartz on the field, given his speed and 4.25 40-yard dash time:

“If we can’t, we are probably doing it wrong (laughter).”


On what Schwartz does well in addition to speed:

“I think it is mainly a mindset. He is trying to finish off plays. He is trying to outrun angles when he gets in space. A lot of guys, obviously, when they win on a vertical route and they are in a separate position, they can finish it off, but we are talking middle of the field when he tries to take an intermediate ball all the way to the house. Again, we are trying to shorten the field. To win in this league you need to create explosive [plays] and not consistently have to earn it against these good defenses. That is what we are trying to is add plays players who allow us to do that. One of the ways he does that is with the ball in his hands. Again, he accelerates really well out of the catch point and out of breaks. Like I said, for guys like that, it is not just their natural ability but it is the mindset to want to finish off plays.”


On if the Browns have to ensure the team does not simply fall in love with a player’s speed in the evaluation and considers other factors:

“Absolutely, that is one of the things we always try to do. Again, we have such a rigorous process. I sit in this chair a man who knows way too many specific things about all of these players. We stress ourselves at every point. We ask ourselves: Are we overvaluing things? Are we undervaluing things? We break things down really compartmentally in an objective process. We feel really good about the player we are getting and not overly focused on just the speed aspect of it but what he brings into total. Again, we love the player, but that is certainly a risk with all of these players you pick. You can get blinded by the one elite trait or things like that, and that does happen in the league, but we do not think we have done that with this player. We think we got a good player for the value that we saw on our board.”


On his role in the draft process and his first year with the Browns:

“It has been incredible. One of the reasons I wanted to come here is not only for the city of Cleveland but to work with (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew Berry. He has not disappointed one second. The process that we have here I think is second to none. We unearth every piece of information, and every piece of process is geared towards us all pointing in one direction in this building towards good decisions. We really do believe in the process we have. It is extremely inclusive. Everybody from the coaching staff, the football operations and the scouting staff is all united in what we are doing and how we are going about it. You feel heard. You feel validated in your opinions and the work you put in. It has been incredible. I know that I bring a skillset to this team, but I don’t know that I could ask for anything more in my first year and all of the amount I have learned and in the process that I have been able to see up close. It has been really incredible. My role in it is honestly just to be another voice in the room, another member of the senior group. Because of my background with the more quantitative side and now really breaching over to the traditional side, I am able to provide perspective that not everybody has. I can communicate to our scouts, ‘Hey, these are the types of things we see on the mathematical side, and this is why you see it on the field.’ We have had some really good conversations, and we have been able to innovate and do some different things with that that have been really cool. Again, I am just another voice in the room with a perspective that I think is pretty valuable, and I have been able to help Andrew. Again, these guys, they have been putting a process together for years before I got here. It has been really impressive to see up close and appreciate it. They will look at you and be like, ‘Hey, how is this?’ I will be looking at it like, ‘This is incredible, guys. You have done a great job.’ It has been awesome to be a part of it.”


On the Browns picking an offensive player following two defensive selections to start the draft:

“We had Kevin tied down in his office – we did not tell anybody that (laughter). Not to be cliché, but your needs can sometimes hit you before you are ready to fill them. A lot of times, you are just doing planning and you are trying to plan for probabilities that you don’t know exist yet. What we do is we try and do our best to figure out the board, figure out how good these players can be and where the value we see is to take the player. It really is just sort of a matching function at that point, and these are the players we came up with. The first two didn’t happen to be offensive players, but we love the guys we got in the first two pics. That is just how the ball rolls sometimes.”


On if Schwartz could potentially return kicks for the Browns, given Schwartz did not return kicks in college:

“I’m not going to speak for (special teams coordinator Mike) Priefer. He is in the hall of fame, and I am not. I am going to say that he has done extensive work on all of these guys. Obviously, you see the ability that he has, and you would like to think that is something Prief has thought about, and he has. He has done rigorous work on all of those things. He is going to sit down and have those conversations, and I am sure he will be ready to answer that question when we break for camp.”


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