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John Dorsey, Hue Jackson press conference - 4/26

Posted Apr 26, 2018

Opening statement:

Dorsey: “It has been a very important draft for the Cleveland Browns organization. At the beginning of the process when we got here in January, what we wanted to do is there were certain pieces in place. We went through unrestricted free agency to try to build and strengthen our team and to get better. That was a part of our strategy in terms of going into this draft, as well. Now, with that being said, I want to say one thing: my kids, Catherine and Jack, I haven’t seen them in about six weeks or so but did tell them – don’t get mad at me here – ‘Hi Catherine and hi Jack,’ if they’re out there. Apologize about that. I’m sure you will talk about like LeBron James’ amazing game last night."

Jackson: “Absolutely, what a shot."

Dorsey: “With that being said, we have two quality players here, I truly believe. I think with (QB) Baker Mayfield, what we have is a guy who we talked about who wins the game of football, is-ultra competitive and is revered by his teammates and anybody who has ever been around him. This is a guy that has earned everything he has ever had from high school to college and now up here. He is a winner. He is competitive. He really is. (DB) With Denzel Ward, he is one of those unique and gifted players that he is – as you know with Ohio State it is zero, press-man coverage. I talked to some coaches here earlier this week, and they were telling me certain things about him, a great kid, loves the game of football, exceptionally fast with the change of direction and incredible ball skills. I couldn’t be happier than with the position we are in now with the two players moving forward.”

Jackson: “John said it, we are very excited to add two really good football players to our team. He just took you back to how we got to that process. Obviously, adding the free agents to our team allowed us to do certain things. Before I really get into all of that, I have got to thank, first of all, my coaching staff for all of the work that they put in and John’s personnel staff. It was a lot of work to go into this to make these decisions that are going to help our organization moving forward. What he said about Baker, here is a guy that wins football games, tremendous accuracy. Obviously, the guy was the best college quarterback this year by far in our opinion. Going through our process and meeting with him, spending time with him, putting him on the board, digging into everything about Baker, we feel very comfortable as a coaching staff and as a personnel staff that this was the guy for us. When you talk about Denzel Ward, you are talking about one of the best corners, pure corners in this draft in our opinion. Having him here in our facility and being able to spend that time and doing all of our due diligence on both of these players gave us a chance to put these players on our football team.”

On what separated Mayfield from the other QBs in this class:

Dorsey: “It is a combination of things. I talk about hand size; he has nine and six-eighths (inches) hands. When he came in here, we kind of measured his hands. He has nine and six-eighths hands. That is good for the elements in November and December. He has feet to extend the play. He has really good accuracy. He has a quick release. He has a strong arm. His efficiency in the red zone offense is uncanny. If in fact you go look statistically at all of the different breakdowns or categories of the quarterback position, he is either No. 1 or No. 2 in any of those quarterback positions. You know what else separates him? He is hungry. He wants to be a really good football player, and he is going to be a really good football player.”

On Mayfield’s ‘ceiling’ and if other QBs could have been ‘safer’ selections:

Dorsey: “Everybody’s draft board is set up differently, and when I recite to you all the best available player in this draft for the Cleveland Browns organization, this was the best available player. What he brings to this organization, I couldn’t be more excited to have him. Those other guys are really good quarterbacks, too, but I just felt that this was the best fit for this organization moving forward.”

On Mayfield’s size and it not being a concern with the No. 1 overall selection:

Dorsey: “If you want to take one of those stats, if you look at the balls batted down at the line of scrimmage, guess what? He was the No. 1 guy who had the least amount of batted down balls at the line of scrimmage. What he does mechanically is he gets back faster than anybody in terms of getting the play back. That gives him an extra couple of yards to see the field, extend the play and make those plays downfield.”

On if there was much evaluation of the number of passes batted down at the line of scrimmage and how that may translate to the NFL:

Dorsey: “We as an organization methodically thought about all of these different types of scenarios. At the end of the day, it is how they play the game of football. That came into play, but the guy knows how to play the game and knows how to win.”

On when Dorsey knew that Mayfield was going to be the No. 1 pick:

Dorsey: “When you make a pick like this, it is important that you have unanimous consent with everybody within the organization. We basically came to an understanding I would say Monday, Monday or Tuesday.”

On if Dorsey would have made the Mayfield pick without consultant Scot McCloughan’s consultation, who was on record as being in favor of Mayfield:

JD: “Yes, here is why I would to that – it is because when you make a pick like this, you want unanimous consent. There are a lot of good scouts in that room, and all of them saw it that way as well. I have no problem whatsoever with saying that. Scot’s a really good friend of mine, and he is a really good scout. If he was here or not, I would have still done the same thing.”

On if Dorsey sees comparisons to Pro Football Hall of Fame QB Brett Favre in Baker Mayfield:

JD: “I see Baker Mayfield in Baker Mayfield.”

On if the Browns will try to play to Mayfield’s strengths with the offense:

Jackson: “We would do that with any player that we have. That is important that you put a player in the best position for him to have success, but I think we all know heading into this that (QB) Tyrod Taylor is going to be our starting quarterback first and foremost. Let’s make sure that we understand that, and that it is understood by Baker that he needs to come in here and learn the National Football League game. He is going to learn from Tyrod, and learn from (QB) Drew (Stanton). I think that is really important, but we will. I know (offensive coordinator) Coach (Todd) Haley extremely well. We will put him in the best position, when he plays, to have success.”

Dorsey: “I have always thought for a young man’s development, in Baker’s case, why not have a chance to sit back and see how the game of professional football is played? It is a very complicated game so why not learn from some of those veterans in that room? Understand the complexities of defenses, watch the game slow down and give him a chance to actually see what this game of football is all about. It is hard to make that transition to step right in there and do that. To give him the best chance of success, organizationally, that is kind of why we said give him some time to grow in this league.”

On standout factors from Mayfield’s visit to the facility:

JD: “He really is a neat kid. He is humble. He really is humble. Intellectually, he is a very smart guy. The one thing I realize when you get around him, he loves the game of football. He loves to study football. He loves to play football. He is probably one of those guys as a young man he tried to compete at every sport and he wanted to be the best that he possibly could be. He was like that in high school, he was like that in college and he is going to be like that in the National Football League. He loves the game of football.”

Jackson: “Absolutely, and I’ll add to that. This guy has a chip on his shoulder. I think we all know that because I think that he has a burning desire to be the best. I think what I saw from him was a guy who is a leader of men, and I think that is very important. He gets his teammates to play at a whole different level. I think that was seen at Oklahoma, and I expect him to do that here. He has got to earn the right to do that, and I think that he understands that. To go along with all of the other characteristics that John talked about, with completion percentage and all of that, when he was in our building, the dialogue – we spent four to five hours with him and we had him on the board [drawing up plays] for about four hours of that time – he did outstanding. It is more to playing quarterback – I think we all know – than just throwing the ball. You have got to be able to understand the game and be able to process the game and play under duress because that is what pro football is. I think this guy can do that at a high level.”

On Mayfield’s off-field incident, as well as on-field happenings:

Dorsey: “First off, my faith says that every man may deserve a second chance. Have you ever been 19 before? Have you ever been 20 before? Young men do certain things, and you know what? They learn from that. They will learn from that. I like the guy. He is very mature. He is very smart. I bet you that we all learn from our mistakes. I have learned from my mistakes in the past, too. I am better today than I was a year ago. I have no problems with a young man being allowed to understand the mistakes he makes, and let’s move forward. Let’s move forward and let’s not do it again. That is how I look at it.”

On how thorough the Browns’ vetting process was to become comfortable drafting Mayfield:

Dorsey: “It was so thoroughly vetted that I can tell you his order [from the food truck].”

On Mayfield starting his career as the Browns’ backup QB to Taylor despite saying he wouldn’t want to back up anyone, including NY Giants QB Eli Manning:

Dorsey: “Competition, we talk about how we want the best competition that we can have in training camp, OK? That is great. That is great to have. When you have that guy, he also has to understand that this is a very tough business, and he is fortunate enough to have a coach like Hue Jackson to kind of lead this thing forward and to develop him as a quarterback moving forward. To make this guy the best long term – that is what he is thinking about – you have to teach him to understand to go and play long-term in the National Football League, understand the game of football first. I have always said, in college you play the game and in the pros, you are going to learn the game of football.”

On if it is common for hand size measurements to be different than from the combine:

Dorsey: “Actually, I did it three different times to make sure it was right with three different people. Every time, it was nine and six-eights here in our building. Sometimes at the combine, they may rush through those processes because it is almost like an assembly line type of measurement and it is not the true measurement, if you just extend your hand out the way it is supposed to be extended. He may have just been going like that [extends hand]. He is nine and six-eights.”

On drafting Ward and not North Carolina State DL Bradley Chubb:

Dorsey: “Because I think Denzel Ward is a really good player.”

On what Dorsey likes about Ward:

Dorsey: “I like the ability of him being able to play in this defense where we need shut down corners because (defensive coordinator) Gregg (Williams) really wants more shut down corners. He has the speed. He has the athleticism. He has the quickness. He has the ball skills. The way they were teaching him, I believe, at Ohio State they were sometimes teaching him to play the man instead of vertically tracking the ball. Once he gets that understanding, he is going to be a really, really good football player.”

On if the Browns received any serious trade offers from other teams to trade down from No. 4:

Dorsey: “I had numerous phone calls. There were probably a half dozen or so [teams] that may have wanted to come up there. At the time, I always talk about when you place a value on a player and then you place a value on the actual trade mechanism and you try and see which value is higher. It never panned out to be. The player was always higher than the value that was being offered.”

On how much the CB position was valued for the Browns that enabled him to draft Ward at No. 4:

Dorsey: “Everyone has various opinions of who is a good player. I just think for the Cleveland Browns organization this was the right player to have at No. 4.”

On Jackson preferring 6-2 and taller QBs except for outliers and how Mayfield is an outlier:

Jackson: “I think you just said it. He is an outlier. He is an outliner that is really good. We cannot stress it and say it enough. This guy is as good of a quarterback going out statistically that there has been. You take the other characteristics that we look for in leadership, getting guys to play and the hunger and the desire to be the best, there is no question that it all added up for us.”

On how Mayfield responded when told that QB Tyrod Taylor would be the starting QB for the 2018 season:

Jackson: “He gets it. He wants to compete. We would never stop a guy from competing. I think John just stressed it. Let’s be honest in this room, we have been through playing young quarterbacks here in Cleveland for the past two years and putting them in some tough situations. I think it is really important that he understands. When he is ready to play, he will be ready to play, but that is tough for a young guy playing in this division and in the National Football League in our system. I think it is the right thing to do. Kudos to John for setting this up the right way. We have a veteran player in Tyrod Taylor. We have another veteran in Drew Stanton that this young man can come in and learn the game and not feel like he has to walk out there and be everything right away and learn how to play in the National Football League before he plays.”

On if the No. 1 pick with Mayfield could define Dorsey’s history of Browns General Managers:

Dorsey: “All I care about is winning. I want to win. You cannot have enough talented football players on your roster. When you have the quality of coaches that we have on this coaching staff that are going to begin to teach and develop young men and you keep bringing them quality football players, that is when you begin to win. That is how I look at it every year.”

On opinions that Mayfield is comparable to former Browns QB Johnny Manziel:

Dorsey: “Here is how I look at this: In doing all of our research on Baker Mayfield, he is an individual who as earned it all the way through his life. As I look at this thing, whatever he has done from high school to college and now here, he is earning. He has really worked his way up here. The one thing I really love is when you talk to the Oklahoma staff, when he gets to Oklahoma, he begins to learn the play book in three days. He loves the game of football. He loves to study the game of football. I have no qualms about this man whatsoever, as a man or as a football player. I think he is a really good person.”

On gauging Mayfield’s interest in playing for the Browns:

Dorsey: “He is excited. When we called him up on the phone – I will say this and he is going to get embarrassed and mad at me tomorrow –here is how humble he is, he was in tears. He was so excited. That to me speaks volumes of how much he cares and how passionate he is about this game. He is excited to be here.”

On determining Mayfield is mature enough to handle the responsibility of being a QB in Cleveland selected No. 1 overall:

Dorsey: “When he comes and sits here and talks to you all tomorrow, you guys will see how mature he is and how he handles himself in a public space. When you sit with him on a one-on-one conversation, he can actually hold a conversation on different levels in mature fashion. Those things do not bother him. As I look at him, he is fine.”

Jackson: “John said it, and I think the other characteristics that a young man must have to come here to play quarterback is you must have some inner strength. This man has that. As you look back through his history, he has had to earn and fight through every situation to be where he is today. I do not suspect that he will do anything here than that.”

Dorsey: “One thing that I will add as I was just sitting here thinking about that is I always thought that (Redskins QB) Alex Smith was a very mentally tough individual. This guy has a degree of mental toughness that Alex has, too. He has some mental toughness to him.”

On the difficulty to make the decision to draft Mayfield over Southern California QB Sam Darnold:

Dorsey: “When you are at this position, you are going to study everything. It look a lot of time. It took a lot of patience. It took a lot of listening. At the end of the day, to me, Baker Mayfield was why we picked him No. 1 because he was the best of that bunch in my humble opinion.”

On Jackson’s involvement in the QB evaluation and when Jackson learned the No. 1 pick:

Dorsey: “First off, we came to a unanimous consent as an organization on Monday. I will tell you this, when we went out on a little quarterback road show, we started in California and then we did the two California guys, then we went to Oklahoma and then we went up to Wyoming, just to sit there and watch them, the Head Coach, the offensive coordinator, QB coach, they would sit there and grill him on the Xs and Os. It was really fascinating just to watch the depth and the recall of these guys as it unfolded. When you sit – I thought this exercise was great – and then you bring them into this building again a couple weeks later and you have the offensive staff to be able to begin to digest the offensive playbook and then you gave him a break and then you give the recall thing on him, I thought it was masterful. You can measure talent but you also have to be able measure the mental quickness and the mental acuity in terms of picking up that playbook as fast as you can. You might want to elaborate on that Coach.”

Jackson: “I think what you are asking is how involved was I. I was in the loop. I have walked in lockstep.”

Dorsey: “We would sit with all of the scouts and I turn around, there is Hue [and he is taking notes]. He is in there with us doing all of the quarterbacks, and this was Saturday and Sunday.”

Jackson: “I laugh because I understand why you are saying that. John and I talk four or five times a day. We have talked about not just the quarterbacks but every position that we are putting on this football team. At the end of the day, he shows the respect that I am the Head Coach of the team and I show the respect that he is the General Manager. We work in collaboration in this whole deal. There has not been anything that has been done. I have heard everything that has been said [about not being kept in the loop on the No. 1 pick]. That has not been the case at all. I respect whoever thinks that may be the case, but me and John, we have been, since he has been here since the first day he has gotten here, we have been in collaboration in this whole process to put better plays on our football team.”

Dorsey: “Can I say something? He is not the head coach. He is the head ball coach. You can laugh a little bit (laughter).”

On Dorsey selecting another QB from the Big XII conference and how it relates to the different defenses that they play against:

Dorsey: “Everybody tries to do that. No. Can they win? There are certain things that you can measure that on. You guys are going to say, can he play in the elements? You know what I say? Go to the 2016 West Virginia game and see him play in the snow. It is how the play the game of football. I have no problems with that. The track record, you can say that is a little bit spotty, but he is a really good football player.”

On what the Browns learned about Ward in the pre-draft process and how being from the Cleveland area could add Ward distractions and the team’s comfort with him:

Jackson: “He is a really good man. I think his family has done a really great job with him. I think Ohio State has done a really great job with him. I think he has a burning desire to be one of the better corners in this league. He has the characteristics as a player, the speed, the hips, the quickness and the suddenness to be a really great player for us.”

Dorsey: “If I may add, before we were coming down here, Gregg Williams, he kind of pulled me into his office and said, ‘Come here. Look at this text here. I am getting all of these texts from the Ohio State football coaches. They say that this guy is a really great teammate.’ That is pretty cool.”

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