A full year in the making: Browns making most of every second leading up to draft

The Browns, armed again with the most draft picks of any NFL team, are 24 days out from a potentially pivotal night in Philadelphia.

It'll indeed be the culmination of a year's worth of collaboration led by executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown, head coach Hue Jackson, chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta and vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry.

And compared to last year, when the new-look front office and coaching staffs embarked on what was something of a "sprint" toward the finish, the Browns are prepared for whatever the next three weeks might hold.

"I mean last year, by the time we all got together it was basically February and we were going into our draft meetings," DePodesta said last week at the NFL's Annual Meeting in Phoenix. "I think literally the first week Andrew Berry was on the job was our draft meetings. We were putting the board together and we were off to the Combine immediately thereafter. And then it was free agency and then it was the draft."

The Browns ultimately added 14 new members, including wide receiver Corey Coleman and defensive end/linebacker Emmanuel Ogbah. It all made for a youth-laden team forced to grow up on the fly during a 1-15 season. In that time, Cleveland's front office has appreciated the luxury of time and squeezed every drop of it while working to add top-level talent to the roster.

"It was almost that whatever was happening on the calendar immediately in front of us is what we were confronting at the moment," DePodesta said, "as opposed to having a chance to sit back and really plan for something that was going to happen in the future and that's what we've had the opportunity to do this year."

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam added: "The difference in having everybody together first of all during a season and then starting literally on January 2nd and everybody having worked together and known each other is substantial."

The Browns, who fortified their offensive line in free agency, are now poised to add more talent to the roster. They own the first,12th and five of the top 65 picks in the draft.

"I think the whole thing has slowed down for us. Last year was everything's rushing at us and we have to make these decisions now," DePodesta said. "And now it's more we can't wait for the draft to get there because we're prepared and excited with what we might be able to do."

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