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Browns focus on selecting 'right players'

Posted Apr 18, 2013

When evaluating the class of athletes eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft, Browns CEO Joe Banner and GM Michael Lombardi talked about the importance of selecting the right players.

The Cleveland Browns enter the 2013 NFL Draft with seven picks, and in their pre-draft press conference Thursday, chief executive officer Joe Banner and general manager Michael Lombardi addressed their plan for the league’s annual selection meeting.

The Browns have one pick each in the first, third, fourth, sixth and seventh rounds, and two fifth-round selections after a trade with the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for quarterback Colt McCoy. The seventh-round selection also came to the Browns in the McCoy trade.

“Every draft is unique and different,” Lombardi said. “As you evaluate it, if you can get the right seven players for your team, the depth of the draft really never matters. It matters about getting the right seven.”

“We think there’s some very good players at the top of the draft,” Banner said. “They don’t happen to be the most visible, high-profile positions, but there’s some very good players at the top of the draft, and we think that will serve us well.”

The Browns hold the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, and Lombardi and Banner addressed the possibility trading out of their current spot in an effort to improve the team.

“I think you prepare for everything,” Lombardi said. “That’s what the draft is, just being prepared. I think it’s just about being prepared and thorough, and making sure you have everything covered. I think a lot of that is all situational. It comes down to really the situation and the time. It’s hard to really go into it before that.”

Banner added, “We’ve got to make the right decision based on the value. If we think trading back or trading up produces a better value for something we think is important or have rated high enough where we have to do it, I think it would be risky. If you made the priority filling in a hole that existed, you’re liable to not get the fair-market value you’re looking for in a trade. If we got offered something that we thought made us a better team than staying where we are and picking or moving up, we’d make the trade. If it didn’t provide that benefit, we wouldn’t.”

According to Banner, the Browns have between 18 and 20 players that they have placed first-round grades on, and that football intelligence as well as character are two of the most important factors in selecting players.

“If we had a player that two of us liked and two of us didn’t, there’s going to be some other player that three or four of us like,” Banner said. “As opposed to someone breaking the tie, we’re likely to move to the player that a majority, or all of us like. It’s usually a better move to switch to the player that has a consensus of support. You’ll be right more often if you do that.”

Banner also said there is a lot of “self-imposed” pressure for the team to be successful, a process which he stated starts with building the roster through the draft.

“What we’re trying to do is resist the temptation of doing something quickly and not being able to sustain it versus trying to have some degree of patience,” Banner said. “You’ve seen us both be patient and active to build it the right way so we have a chance to not sneak into the playoffs once and go backwards, but to build a team that should be sustainable and have the right strengths to compete against the best in the league.”