The third and final day of the 2017 NFL Draft is over.
The Browns, in all, added 10 new rookies, including five Saturday afternoon.
Here are five things to know from Day 3.
- The Browns entered this year's draft having described it as a potentially pivotal moment for the organization. Three days, 10 picks and four trades later, they agreed Cleveland is in better shape than it was 72 hours ago.
"Now, how much better we are? We'll find that out as we go," head coach Hue Jackson said. "But I feel more comfortable and confident in our guys that are in the locker room and that they know what to expect and how we want to play. I think we did a great job of drafting to our identity and what we want to become here at the Cleveland Browns."
Cleveland, of course, added five picks in the top two rounds, including three first-round selections in defensive end Myles Garrett, safety Jabrill Peppers and tight end David Njoku. It also picked up Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer at No. 52 and UNC-Charlotte defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi at No. 65.
"I think if we laid this out, we would have bought this early, for sure," said executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown.
Chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, who said there's always room for improvement, added, "You take a step back as soon as it is over and take a look at the names on the card and feel really good about the three days on the whole."
To be sure, Brown said there's no "one brick" that'll magically launch Cleveland toward its winning aspirations. "This is obviously a good group. We set ourselves up next year for another good group to come in," he said. "We want to perpetually be getting better. We're not going to rest now."
- In all, the Browns made four trades throughout the three days of the draft. They moved back in the first round (No. 12 for No. 25 and Houston's 2018 first-round pick) and grabbed safety Jabrill Peppers. Not long after, they moved up to take Miami tight end David Njoku at No. 29 (giving the Packers No. 33 and No. 108).
But in particular, Brown said Cleveland's personnel department — including director of college scouting Bobby Vega and vice president of player personnel Ken Kovash — was instrumental in helping the Browns move around the board via Day 3 trades with Denver and New York.
"I don't think we would have gotten at least two or three of these players had we stuck around where we were," he said. "The activity level there, the preparation, creativity and execution were tremendous."
- Speaking of Day 3 trades, the Browns added rangy Houston cornerback Howard Wilson (fourth round, No. 184), Florida State tackle Rod Johnson (fifth round, No. 160) and N.C. State running back Matthew Dayes (seventh round, No. 252).
On Wilson, who had nine interceptions with the Cougars: "He has the ability to take the ball away, which is a tremendous skill," Jackson said. "That's what you want your corners to be able to do. That's what he's going to be tasked to do here."
On Johnson, who was teammates with Browns offensive lineman Cameron Erving at Florida State: "We'll start him off at left tackle. You are looking at a 6-foot-7, 300-pound tackle with the movement skills to play on the left side," vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry said. "We will start him off there. He has played his entire career there at Florida State. We will see where he goes from that point."
On Dayes: "We actually thought he was one of the better pass protectors in the class," Berry said. "He catches the ball real well out of the backfield, and he is a solid ball carrier. We think he has a very well-rounded skill set, but certainly, the pass-pro ability drew us to him."
- The Browns took a flier on sixth-round pick and Florida defensive lineman Caleb Brantley, who's facing a domestic battery charge. Brown said Cleveland is actively investigating the situation and, depending on what they find, his status on the roster could change.
"It's something that has been very concerning for us and continues to be a concern," said Brown, who met with reporters immediately after the pick to address it.
"We communicated to Caleb how serious of a matter this is to us. This is something that he can't repeat as he moves forward. More importantly than that, we communicated to Caleb that this is still something that we are investigating and looking into and that facts may turn up that prevent us for being able to keep him on our roster."
Brown added: "We have done some background on Caleb to understand kind of who he is … I think we have a locker room of guys that can bring Caleb in and help him along but also make it very clear to him our expectations moving forward, what we are going to tolerate and what we won't. He will understand that very clearly when he gets here. We have already had a conversation after we drafted him about that." 5. Zane Gonzalez, the 2016 Lou Groza Award winner and a first-team All-American at Arizona State, became the first kicker drafted by the Browns since 1989.
"We feel very comfortable that this guy brings the characteristics that we want in our kicker," Jackson said.
"He will come in and compete. We feel good about our kicker here now, but I don't think you can have too much competition anywhere on our football team. The thing that I love that we are doing is that we are adding players that are on our board at the right time for us. That's most important. He was there. There was an opportunity for us to take another guy to compete, and we did that."
Gonzalez made all but two of his 25 field goal attempts last season, including 14 kicks from at least 40 yards and was 7-of-9 from 50 yards.
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