The front office staff and coaches for the Cleveland Browns saw plenty of their 2012 draft picks on film during the evaluation process prior to the National Football League’s annual selection meeting last month.
Friday was the first of three days in which the coaches will get to work with their 11 draft picks, as well as the nearly 30 other players, including 15 undrafted free agents, during the team’s annual rookie minicamp at their Berea headquarters.
The team held two practices on Friday, one in the morning and one after a break for rest, lunch and classroom studies.
“You got a chance to watch our rookies perform for the first time and with these rookie camps, for a lot of these guys, there’s anxiety,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said after the first practice. “Their minds are racing a mile a minute and they want to be perfect and so, there were a few mistakes out there.”
Unlike training camp, where 90 players will be on the field, the players participating in this weekend’s training sessions will have more of an opportunity for on-field performance. Less than 40 players will participate in the rookie minicamp.
“There was a lot of good teaching, a lot of good learning and we’re trying to give them special attention,” Shurmur said. “You saw a lot of individual work and we try to teach them how we do things, the processes, the procedures, how you meet, how you practice, how you transition from one thing to the other and I think the guys did a good job for the first one.”
Friday was the first rookie minicamp Shurmur has participated in as a head coach. Due to last season’s work-stoppage, the 2011 rookie class did not have a minicamp and instead got introduced to the NFL when the team began training camp shortly after the ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association.
“Going through it now, I have a very good feel for what our team is,” Shurmur said. “I have a pretty good idea of how the new players will fit in. I know the coaching staff; I know the administration; I know the way the building works. I have a good feel for the importance of what we do to the community and I just know a lot more about the surroundings and I think that will help.”