Andrew Berry Recaps Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft

Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry:

Opening statement: 

“First of all, thanks everybody for staying around for a long evening. I will start with our trade from No. 74 trade down from No. 74. Once we got to No. 74, we actually had a number of players that we really liked. When the opportunity with New Orleans came up, we felt like it was an opportunity for us where we could move back really a small amount in the third round and still pick from a number of players that we thought were really good fits for the roster. Specifically to (DT) Jordan Elliott, for us, we see Jordan as a player that has the right physical skill set to be a 3-technique in our defense. A guy with quickness gap, penetrating ability and who was very disruptive at Missouri. A really good fit in our scheme. Like the guy’s talent and like the guy’s upside for our defense. In terms of (LB) Jacob (Phillips), Jacob, really has the physical characteristics of what we would consider our modern-era linebackers. He has length, athleticism and speed. A really rangy guy, who is also good in pass coverage. We love his ability to play in space. We love his ability to run. We think he is going to be a really good fit within our group.”

On if the Browns were looking to add pics in 2020 and if the team thought it could still acquire the player desired at No. 44 when trading down from No. 41:

“Yes, I will start with the trade from 41 first. That is one where we felt pretty good that we were going to have a guy that we wanted by just moving back three spots. It was an opportunity for us to really pick up an extra pick at pretty much minimal costs. In terms of adding picks into the future, we will always go into a draft [and consider] if we can if we can get a Day 2 pick in in a following year, but there is the tradeoff relative to what are you sacrificing at the time that you would make the pick. In this particular instance, we felt like we did have a number of guys that we would like to have on the roster so we did not feel like we weren’t necessarily trading away from talent, so to speak. We felt good about the guys we added.”

On selecting all SEC players in the first three rounds:

“I can assure you that we did not plan it, but these are all really good football players in arguably the best conference in college football. It is certainly a good place to start for us, but it just happened to work out that way.”

On if it is true that defense is a theme for the draft, given the Browns yards per rush allowed last year:

“I would say that the run defense in particular is not necessarily a focus. We are looking to add players that we think fit our defense in our scheme and then fit our culture and can improve the competition and talent across the across the roster. The particular dimensions of run defense or pass defense will really come with it. It is not necessarily with an eye to stop the run, but we do have guys that we think will help us in that regard.”

On what the Browns are typically hoping to acquire on Day 2 of the draft:

“Once we get into the later stages of the draft, whether it is early Day 3 or late Day 2, you generally are seeing players who may have a little bit more to go in terms of the developmental curve, but you are looking for players that have the physical characteristics where they can be significant contributors or eventual starters within the context of your scheme. Both the players that we took later in Day 2 fit that mold. I mentioned earlier with Elliott, he has the physical characteristics we are looking for in a 3-technique in our defense. Jacob with his speed, length and range really fits what we are looking for in our WILL linebacker spot. We are excited about those guys. We are excited about adding some competition and getting our coaching staff working with them.”

On it being evident Elliott has grown and matured in recent years at Missouri:

“Yeah, and talking to individuals around the program they talked about it. I think even as you have probably learned with Jordan, Jordan has an incredible level of self-awareness. That was one of the things that really resonated with us and stuck with us, particularly when we met with him at the combine and then again when we had what we would call our virtual top 30 [visits], is really just his eye toward self-improvement, his ability to reflect and just the strides that he has made even in college. We do think that he is a player that is on the come. We are excited to work with him and see if we can get him to his potential.”

On if he feels the Browns hit it off with Elliott in their interviews, given Elliott’s comments:

“It is funny, I got several, several texts over the course of the spring, specifically from Jordan’s agents like ‘Hey, man, this this guy he really wants to be in Cleveland. He really wants to be a Brown.’ That is always sort of neat because you could tell with him it was coming from a very authentic place. Very rarely do those situations just like work out that way. That was not something that we were necessarily aiming to do as we as we entered the draft, but when the opportunity came to pick him at what we thought was the appropriate point, it ends up being a really cool story. We are happy to have him as a part of our team.” 

On if it is a ‘happy coincidence’ the Browns drafted two defensive players from Bengals QB Joe Burrow’s college team:

“A very happy coincidence. Hopefully, that gives us a little bit of an advantage here moving forward.” 

On assessing the Browns LBs and if the team is still trying to figure that position group out: 

“I would push back and say that we are really trying to figure out all of our groups. We have not hit the field yet. Guys have not earned jobs. They have not earned playing time. We think that we have a talented core. We brought in other talented players, but guys will really have to earn their earn their stripes. In terms of the linebacker room specifically, it is a very young group. You have two players who are entering their second year and another that we are adding who is a rookie, but that is exciting because it is a room of opportunity. Obviously, we lost (Jaguars LB) Joe (Schobert) this offseason who was the elder statesman and very experienced – the same thing with (Packers LB) Christian (Kirksey). It gives young players an opportunity to step up and establish their own roles within the system. We are excited to see that and see how that plays out over the course of the spring and summer – hopefully, the spring, and then the summer.” 

On how Burrow and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson may impact the Browns draft plans, if at all:

“We don’t really look at it that way. We know that we have two young, talented passers that are now in the division. We are really going to operate more from the standpoint of how can we build the best offense and how can we build the best defense and use our resources, whether they are picks or they are dollars appropriately rather than for a specific player on another team. Even though those guys are going to be in the division for a very long time, that is also four of what will potentially soon be 17 games. We are not going to build our team or build our defense just with those two players in mind, but we understand the challenges we face moving forward against two very talented young quarterbacks.”

On the idea of continuing to add to the DTs and if there is a need for a more veteran presence at the LB in addition to B.J. Goodson, given the youth in the room:

“To answer your first question in terms of the defensive line, I think if you look at what San Francisco did last year and really even what (former Browns defensive coordinator) Steve (Wilks) did last year here, the defensive line, they are almost like hockey lines. We are really past the days where you just play your starters and those are the only four guys that play. For us, it is important to have depth within that position group where you can wave guys in and out of the game. If you look at some of the things that we have done over the course of the offseason, it really is to bolster the talent, particularly with that second group. Adding Jordan, adding (DT) Andrew (Billings) and adding (DT) Adrian (Clayborn) early in the spring we think gives us a good opportunity to do that. In terms of the linebacker room, I think that there was a day when Joe Schobert was an unknown and he was a second-year player transitioning to being an off-the-ball linebacker for the very first time and calling the defense for the very first time. I do think it is important as we look at all the position groups and all of our position groups evolve over the course of the years on the roster that we do give young players an opportunity to produce and succeed. The only way they get a chance to do that is by playing. Now, we are not going play for another five months so it doesn’t mean that we are not going to look for opportunities to continue to upgrade the roster at all spots, but we do have a lot of faith and want to make common practice the ability to give young players a chance to perform.”

On character traits that attracted the Browns to their selections:

“For really all of the guys that we take, we really do look for players who are tough, smart and accountable. That doesn’t mean that, like all of us, every guy is perfect, but guys who love the game, they have physical and mental toughness, they have high football acumen and they are accountable for what they do both in the building and off the field. We do feel like we have brought in a group of guys who embody those characteristics.”

On if the Browns were considering available LBs when the team was slated to pick at No. 74:

“Without going into specifics, we did have a couple of players across positions that we liked, and Jordan and Jacob were among them.”

On if it is more challenging to judge character this year with fewer in-person interactions, particularly since college coaches may be more inclined to not mention negatives:

“I guess that is where I would push back a little bit. Our area scouts do a great job of building a network of contacts and relationships within their regions so that we can get honest feedback. Sometimes, I think there is this belief that when area scouts go out, they go to a school and they are trying to find what is wrong with a guy. A lot of times, we want to go in with the focus of ‘OK, help us understand the individuals so if we select them and we bring them to Cleveland, we can create an environment where they can be as successful as possible.’ That is really our approach as opposed to going to find flaws or what is wrong with a kid or an individual because we are all imperfect beings and all of us have made mistakes. As long as they have those core characteristics, we feel comfortable bringing them into the building.”

On if he was aware of S Grant Delpit’s swagger and confidence, including given Delpit’s comment about the Browns having the best secondary in the league:

“I certainly love confidence. Love performance the most. Every guy has to earn their playing time and prove it on the field. We think that Grant is very talented, and it is good that he has confidence because if you are playing in the secondary in the NFL, you really do need confidence. It is a tough job but Grant, no different than every other player on our roster, has to earn his playing time and earn his stripes, and we will see where it goes from there.”

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