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Senior Bowl

6 things we learned from John Dorsey at the 2019 Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Alabama -- Quick-hitting some of the newsiest items from Browns general manager John Dorsey's meeting with reporters Tuesday at the Senior Bowl…

-- Dorsey said he's had preliminary conversations with the respective representatives of wide receivers Breshad Perriman and Rashard Higgins. Perriman, the former Ravens first-round pick who shined in his second-chance opportunity with the Browns, is set to be an unrestricted free agent in March. Higgins, who posted the best numbers of his three-year career in 2018 -- 39 receptions, 572 yards and four touchdowns -- will be a restricted free agent.

"Once we get the chance to get the new coaching staff in place and we have an assessment of our team and the positions, then I will be able to better answer that question," Dorsey said.

-- From No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield to fifth-round linebacker Genard Avery, Dorsey's first draft class with the Browns delivered immediate results. Two players who weren't able to make the same kind of impact as their fellow rookies, second-round offensive lineman Austin Corbett and third-round defensive lineman Chad Thomas, shouldn't be written off just yet, Dorsey said.

"I would say (their outlook) is brighter than you all think it is because I think both of them are very talented individuals that will have a chance to help this team move forward," Dorsey said.

Both Corbett and Thomas participated in last year's Senior Bowl. Dorsey reflected a bit on his evaluation of Corbett, who played at a handful of spots along the Browns offensive line throughout his rookie season.

"He showed power, he showed strength, he showed everything that you want from an offensive lineman. He was smart, he was driven. He is a good football player," Dorsey said. "Because they did not play their first year that does not mean that they won't contribute. Maybe that is a mark that we are getting a little bit deeper. That is what we are supposed to do, is get a little deeper."

-- Dorsey said part of the offseason evaluation of defensive lineman Emmanuel Ogbah will include an analysis of where along the defensive line he can best maximize his skill set.

Ogbah, a second-round pick in 2016, was the team's starting defensive end on the opposite side of Myles Garrett for the entirety of his third NFL season but often lined up as an inside rusher in the team's various defensive packages. He finished with 40 tackles and three sacks.

"His more natural position may be outside as a five-technique," Dorsey said. "We'll know more as we go into OTAs but outside is his more natural position."

-- Dorsey said he hopes to see 20-25 percent improvement from Mayfield after his record-setting rookie season. What does Mayfield have to do to get there?

"You want to see him develop," Dorsey said. "You want to see him have a greater depth in understanding of defenses. Taking this offensive playbook and adding to that, that he left off with. Again, just develop, mature, be that leader moving forward that I expect him to be."

Dorsey said he loves the environment Mayfield will enter when he returns for offseason workouts. On top of the Browns elevating Freddie Kitchens to head coach, the team added offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who helped lead the league's best passing offense in Tampa Bay last season, and moved Ryan Lindley, a former NFL quarterback, from running backs coach to quarterbacks coach.

"Now, it is up to that player, with the staff that is assembled here now, to grasp as much as he can and move forward," Dorsey said. "You would expect to see really good strides from him moving forward."

-- Dorsey wouldn't comment on cornerback Denzel Ward's medical status but said the standout rookie will attend this weekend's Pro Bowl and could even play in the game.

Ward's first NFL season came to a premature end Week 16 when he suffered his second concussion of the month. In 13 games, Ward intercepted three passes and provided the kind of lockdown defense Cleveland envisioned when it made him the No. 4 pick in last year's draft.

"If he's been given a good bill of health to go do it, more power to him," Dorsey said. "I like the kid and I like the steps he's made."

-- One of the strengths of this year's Senior Bowl is its group of pass rushers. Mississippi State's Montez Sweat is viewed by many as the top overall draft prospect at this year's event, while Louisiana Tech's Jaylon Ferguson is coming off a season in which he set the NCAA career sack record. Charles Omenihu (Texas), Anthony Nelson (Iowa) and Zach Allen (Boston College) are some other names to know.

So what does Dorsey look for first in his pass rushing prospects?

"I think the thing you look for in pass rushers is the ability to get off the football quickly," Dorsey said. "Whether that's inside or outside, and then you look for that degree of athleticism, and then you look at his technique in terms of being able to shed and get off blocks. There's a combination of things you look for but the pure athletic get-off, that's the first thing you look for in pass rusher."

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