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5 Things To Know from Andrew Berry at the 2022 NFL Combine

Browns EVP of Football Operations and GM provides updates on Jack Conklin, O-line, front office departures and more

INDIANAPOLIS — It was a busy first day of podium time at the 2022 NFL Combine, and EVP of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry took center stage for the Browns.

Here are five of the top highlights.

1. Jack Conklin 'right on schedule'

Browns RT Jack Conklin is "right on schedule" after undergoing surgery on a ruptured patellar tendon in November 2021.

"Jack is doing well," Berry said Tuesday from the NFL Combine. "He is right on schedule, if not, a little bit ahead of schedule. He is working hard. We see him at the facility every day. We will take it day by day and week by week, but we are optimistic he is going to make a strong return for us."

The two-time All-Pro right tackle suffered the injury in the first quarter of the Browns' Week 12 loss to the Ravens. Conklin had just been activated from injured reserve after missing the previous three games with an elbow injury. He also missed multiple games earlier in the season because of a knee injury.

2. No plans to shake up O-line

Berry reiterated he had no plans on shaking up the Browns' offensive line in the wake of Conklin's injury.

That means the Browns are set to bring back former first-round pick Jedrick Wills Jr. as their left tackle entering his third season to pair with Conklin on the right side and the stout interior trio of LG Joel Bitonio, C JC Tretter and RG Wyatt Teller.

From the second quarter of the season opener all the way to end of the year, the Browns were almost never at full strength at tackle during the 2021 season. Making matters worse, swing tackle Chris Hubbard was limited to just one game because of a triceps injury. Blake Hance, who entered the year as a guard, and rookie James Hudson III were thrust into extensive duty while Wills and Conklin battled through their respective injuries.

Berry, though, remains confident in the structure of the Browns offensive line, which has proven to be one of the NFL's best when fully healthy. 

"Jed will stay at left tackle," Berry said. "We feel good about the depth we have at the tackle positions. Like any other position, if there's an opportunity to add a player there, that's not out of the question. This offseason, as we all saw this year, you can never have enough tackle depth and o-line depth, but we feel good about Jed."

3. Front office openings to be addressed after draft

Berry likes the "really deep bench of front office talent" he has and said he doesn't expect to fill the team's multiple vacancies until after the 2022 NFL Draft.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who served as the team's vice president of football operations, left last month to become the general manager of the Minnesota Vikings. Ryan Grigson, who served as a senior advisor, also departed for the Vikings.

"Certainly the next several months gives people an opportunity to step up in more expanded roles," Berry said. "Really a longer-term restructure of the front office will wait until after the draft."

With Vice President of Player Personnel Glenn Cook also receiving multiple interviews for general manager positions around the league during the offseason, Berry joked his group could become a "farm system" for the NFL, and that's a good thing.

"Twelve months from now, I'll be trying to bomb his press conference because I think he's really that talented," Berry said. "He'll be leading a team here shortly."

General Manager Andrew Berry speaks at his media availability at the 2022 NFL Combine in Indianapolis Indiana

4. Compensatory pick an 'added bonus' for Adofo-Mensah's departure

The Browns added a significant draft pick when Adofo-Mensah left for the Vikings, but Berry stressed it was nothing more than an "added bonus" to seeing one of his front office members leave for a big opportunity.

Per a recently enacted NFL policy, teams that have minority coaches or front office staffers leave for head coach or general manager positions receive a third-round compensatory pick in each of the following two years' drafts. For the Browns, that means they'll carry three picks into Day 2 and now boast nine total selections for the 2022 NFL Draft.

The exact location of the compensatory pick will be revealed closer to the draft, but it will fall at some point near the end of the third round.

"It is (valuable)," Berry said. "To be honest, it's not something that comes to mind as we think about hiring our front office staff. It's an added bonus. The thing I'm most excited about is him getting the opportunity to lead a team."

5. Browns operating more efficiently post-pandemic

Berry said the team is incorporating a number of adjustments it was forced to make during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic into its normal routine now that the NFL Combine and offseason, as a whole, is almost back to normal.

The NFL did not host a Combine in 2021 and teams have not hosted prospects for visits at their respective facilities since 2019. The Combine, of course, is back, and the remainder of the offseason schedule looks to be back in its normal place, but the Browns won't be reverting to everything they did pre-pandemic.

"Zoom has really cut down on some of the things that we would have done in person or tried to do via travel, and that cuts down on both time and money. It makes you more efficient," Berry said. "That is something that we have incorporated into our process in the past two years and will continue to do this offseason. It allows us to get a little bit more bang for our buck."

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