2021 NFL Draft

Andrew Berry, Kevin Stefanski break down the Browns' 3 picks on Day 2 - Conference Calls

Opening statement:

"(S) Grant Delpit, excited to add him to the team. We really viewed him as a big versatile playmaker. He has been a really kind of an impact player for LSU over the past two seasons. Our appeal to Grant is the fact of his coverage abilities. He is a guy who can play the post. He can play you at the line of scrimmage. He can cover tight ends and walk over a slot and hold his own against receivers. He has been a consistent ball producer throughout his career at LSU. The other thing that stood out to us about Grant is just his toughness. He played through this season and really a lot of the year with a high-ankle sprain that would have put a lot of players out of commission for a longer period of time. The other thing is everyone we talked to at LSU talked about how bright Grant is and how quickly he can he can process and understand anything football related. We found that to be the case. When we met with him, he was certainly one of the more impressive interviews that we had at the combine from a football intelligence standpoint. We are excited to add him to the roster. We think he is a talented young safety that can be a productive member of our team."

On if CB Greedy Williams called Delpit a 'baller' when asked about Delpit, given Berry's comment of LB Mack Wilson's feedback on T Jedrick Wills:

"We got a lot of positive feedback on Grant with everyone we spoke to."

*On reuniting Williams and Delpit and how their familiarity helps the team: *

"I would say honestly we did not necessarily go into it with that in mind. We really evaluated independently. Certainly, hoping some of that familiarity could lead to potential synergy this fall, but at the end of the day, everybody has to earn their playing time and earn their jobs. We think Grant is a very talented player."

On if the Browns believed Delpit would still be available at No. 44 when completing the trade with the Colts:

"We did."

On if Delpit's high ankle sprain last year affected his tackling, given it was a question for some evaluators this year:

Every player, every young player is going to have things that they are going to have to work on coming in you know. No player is going to be perfect. It is actually something that we talked about really in February at the combine. The one thing was Grant was accountable. He never made an excuse for it or anything along those lines."

On if Delpit is more of a FS or SS and how he fits with the Ss the Browns added in free agency:

"I will answer your last question first. We think he fits well within that room. No jobs are given. Everybody is going to have to compete for their playing time in the fall. In terms of Grant's skillset, one of the things is we really feel like he can fit in any safety role because of his versatility. I think it would be unfair to task him as just a free, just a strong or just what we would call a big nickel. The appeal is that he really does have the modern-day safety skillset from a coverage standpoint because of that versatility. That is something that we are really excited to have."

he did at LSU. He really excelled in that setting. Just really bright, really sharp and can process very quickly so that was one of the more impressive things about him for us."

The Browns have selected Grant Delpit in the 2020 NFL Draft.

On what separated Delpit from other remaining Ss:

"What set Grant apart is one, his track record. He is a very accomplished college football player, and then – I know I have mentioned it a couple of times – the versatility because he can wear a variety of hats and perform them all at a very high level. That is just a skillset that is very difficult to find. It just allows you a lot more flexibility as a defensive coordinator when you have a guy who can play the post proficiently, who can play in the line of scrimmage, cover tight ends and play big nickel. We think that is something that Grant will be able to do at the NFL level."

On if there was a reason to explain Delpit's missed tackles in 2019:

"I think that he would be the first to admit that it is something that is going to be a focus of him as an area of improvement coming into the NFL. I wouldn't make any excuses for him. He hasn't made any excuses for it. He did deal with the high-ankle sprain, but he wouldn't even give that as a reason for the primary issue. We think the total package and what he does well is going to play really well in our defensive system."

On how much time the Browns spent watching Delpit's 2018 film due to his 2019 high-ankle injury:

"A lot. Really for all of these guys that we scout, we really do put weight on the final two college years. It is not just the most recent season. In Grant's case, there was definitely a stronger focus on both last year and before he did have the high-ankle sprain in late October because you could see it affected his movement later in the year."

*On if there was a sense that Delpit was a first-round talent selected in the second round, particularly given how he played in 2018 and how he was graded publicly a year ago: *

"I don't know that we think of it in terms of whether we are getting a first-round talent just because of the public prognostications over the past year, but we do think we are getting a young talented football player. I will leave it for others to comment on that piece of it. We do know that we are getting a smart, tough, accountable, versatile and ball-hawking ball producer that can wear a variety of hats in the defense and we think could be a good contributor for us both in the short term and in the long term."

On if he believes in 'big school football guys' after selecting players from LSU and Alabama with the team's first two picks:

"I actually think talent comes from everywhere, and just because our first two picks this year came from the SEC and two of the more established college football programs in the country doesn't mean that is the only area that we are going to bring in players for the roster. It just happened to work out this way, but there are good football players across all college football conferences and across all college football levels. We won't be bound to just Power 5 conferences or the SEC."

On why Delpit was one of the better interviews at the combine:

"When we went into the school, a lot of the feedback was just how smart Grant was and how quickly he could pick things up. In his particular interview session, our focus really was on football context, checks, adjustments, a mini-install with our system and a review of some the things that

Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry:

Opening statement:

"First of all, thanks everybody for staying around for a long evening. I will start with our trade from No. 74 trade down from No. 74. Once we got to No. 74, we actually had a number of players that we really liked. When the opportunity with New Orleans came up, we felt like it was an opportunity for us where we could move back really a small amount in the third round and still pick from a number of players that we thought were really good fits for the roster. Specifically to (DT) Jordan Elliott, for us, we see Jordan as a player that has the right physical skill set to be a 3-technique in our defense. A guy with quickness gap, penetrating ability and who was very disruptive at Missouri. A really good fit in our scheme. Like the guy's talent and like the guy's upside for our defense. In terms of (LB) Jacob (Phillips), Jacob, really has the physical characteristics of what we would consider our modern-era linebackers. He has length, athleticism and speed. A really rangy guy, who is also good in pass coverage. We love his ability to play in space. We love his ability to run. We think he is going to be a really good fit within our group."

On if the Browns were looking to add pics in 2020 and if the team thought it could still acquire the player desired at No. 44 when trading down from No. 41:

"Yes, I will start with the trade from 41 first. That is one where we felt pretty good that we were going to have a guy that we wanted by just moving back three spots. It was an opportunity for us to really pick up an extra pick at pretty much minimal costs. In terms of adding picks into the future, we will always go into a draft [and consider] if we can if we can get a Day 2 pick in in a following year, but there is the tradeoff relative to what are you sacrificing at the time that you would make the pick. In this particular instance, we felt like we did have a number of guys that we would like to have on the roster so we did not feel like we weren't necessarily trading away from talent, so to speak. We felt good about the guys we added."

On selecting all SEC players in the first three rounds:

"I can assure you that we did not plan it, but these are all really good football players in arguably the best conference in college football. It is certainly a good place to start for us, but it just happened to work out that way."

On if it is true that defense is a theme for the draft, given the Browns yards per rush allowed last year:

"I would say that the run defense in particular is not necessarily a focus. We are looking to add players that we think fit our defense in our scheme and then fit our culture and can improve the competition and talent across the across the roster. The particular dimensions of run defense or pass defense will really come with it. It is not necessarily with an eye to stop the run, but we do have guys that we think will help us in that regard."

On what the Browns are typically hoping to acquire on Day 2 of the draft:

"Once we get into the later stages of the draft, whether it is early Day 3 or late Day 2, you generally are seeing players who may have a little bit more to go in terms of the developmental curve, but you are looking for players that have the physical characteristics where they can be significant contributors or eventual starters within the context of your scheme. Both the players that we took later in Day 2 fit that mold. I mentioned earlier with Elliott, he has the physical characteristics we are looking for in a 3-technique in our defense. Jacob with his speed, length and range really fits what we are looking for in our WILL linebacker spot. We are excited about those guys. We are excited about adding some competition and getting our coaching staff working with them."

On it being evident Elliott has grown and matured in recent years at Missouri:

"Yeah, and talking to individuals around the program they talked about it. I think even as you have probably learned with Jordan, Jordan has an incredible level of self-awareness. That was one of the things that really resonated with us and stuck with us, particularly when we met with him at the combine and then again when we had what we would call our virtual top 30 [visits], is really just his eye toward self-improvement, his ability to reflect and just the strides that he has made even in college. We do think that he is a player that is on the come. We are excited to work with him and see if we can get him to his potential."

On if he feels the Browns hit it off with Elliott in their interviews, given Elliott's comments:

"It is funny, I got several, several texts over the course of the spring, specifically from Jordan's agents like 'Hey, man, this this guy he really wants to be in Cleveland. He really wants to be a Brown.' That is always sort of neat because you could tell with him it was coming from a very authentic place. Very rarely do those situations just like work out that way. That was not something that we were necessarily aiming to do as we as we entered the draft, but when the opportunity came to pick him at what we thought was the appropriate point, it ends up being a really cool story. We are happy to have him as a part of our team."

The Browns have selected Jordan Elliott in the 2020 NFL Draft.

On if it is a 'happy coincidence' the Browns drafted two defensive players from Bengals QB Joe Burrow's college team:

"A very happy coincidence. Hopefully, that gives us a little bit of an advantage here moving forward." 

On assessing the Browns LBs and if the team is still trying to figure that position group out:

"I would push back and say that we are really trying to figure out all of our groups. We have not hit the field yet. Guys have not earned jobs. They have not earned playing time. We think that we have a talented core. We brought in other talented players, but guys will really have to earn their earn their stripes. In terms of the linebacker room specifically, it is a very young group. You have two players who are entering their second year and another that we are adding who is a rookie, but that is exciting because it is a room of opportunity. Obviously, we lost (Jaguars LB) Joe (Schobert) this offseason who was the elder statesman and very experienced – the same thing with (Packers LB) Christian (Kirksey). It gives young players an opportunity to step up and establish their own roles within the system. We are excited to see that and see how that plays out over the course of the spring and summer – hopefully, the spring, and then the summer." 

On how Burrow and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson may impact the Browns draft plans, if at all:

"We don't really look at it that way. We know that we have two young, talented passers that are now in the division. We are really going to operate more from the standpoint of how can we build the best offense and how can we build the best defense and use our resources, whether they are picks or they are dollars appropriately rather than for a specific player on another team. Even though those guys are going to be in the division for a very long time, that is also four of what will potentially soon be 17 games. We are not going to build our team or build our defense just with those two players in mind, but we understand the challenges we face moving forward against two very talented young quarterbacks."

On the idea of continuing to add to the DTs and if there is a need for a more veteran presence at the LB in addition to B.J. Goodson, given the youth in the room:

"To answer your first question in terms of the defensive line, I think if you look at what San Francisco did last year and really even what (former Browns defensive coordinator) Steve (Wilks) did last year here, the defensive line, they are almost like hockey lines. We are really past the days where you just play your starters and those are the only four guys that play. For us, it is important to have depth within that position group where you can wave guys in and out of the game. If you look at some of the things that we have done over the course of the offseason, it really is to bolster the talent, particularly with that second group. Adding Jordan, adding (DT) Andrew (Billings) and adding (DT) Adrian (Clayborn) early in the spring we think gives us a good opportunity to do that. In terms of the linebacker room, I think that there was a day when Joe Schobert was an unknown and he was a second-year player transitioning to being an off-the-ball linebacker for the very first time and calling the defense for the very first time. I do think it is important as we look at all the position groups and all of our position groups evolve over the course of the years on the roster that we do give young players an opportunity to produce and succeed. The only way they get a chance to do that is by playing. Now, we are not going play for another five months so it doesn't mean that we are not going to look for opportunities to continue to upgrade the roster at all spots, but we do have a lot of faith and want to make common practice the ability to give young players a chance to perform."

On character traits that attracted the Browns to their selections:

"For really all of the guys that we take, we really do look for players who are tough, smart and accountable. That doesn't mean that, like all of us, every guy is perfect, but guys who love the game, they have physical and mental toughness, they have high football acumen and they are accountable for what they do both in the building and off the field. We do feel like we have brought in a group of guys who embody those characteristics."

On if the Browns were considering available LBs when the team was slated to pick at No. 74:

"Without going into specifics, we did have a couple of players across positions that we liked, and Jordan and Jacob were among them."

On if it is more challenging to judge character this year with fewer in-person interactions, particularly since college coaches may be more inclined to not mention negatives:

"I guess that is where I would push back a little bit. Our area scouts do a great job of building a network of contacts and relationships within their regions so that we can get honest feedback. Sometimes, I think there is this belief that when area scouts go out, they go to a school and they are trying to find what is wrong with a guy. A lot of times, we want to go in with the focus of 'OK, help us understand the individuals so if we select them and we bring them to Cleveland, we can create an environment where they can be as successful as possible.' That is really our approach as opposed to going to find flaws or what is wrong with a kid or an individual because we are all imperfect beings and all of us have made mistakes. As long as they have those core characteristics, we feel comfortable bringing them into the building."

On if he was aware of S Grant Delpit's swagger and confidence, including given Delpit's comment about the Browns having the best secondary in the league:

"I certainly love confidence. Love performance the most. Every guy has to earn their playing time and prove it on the field. We think that Grant is very talented, and it is good that he has confidence because if you are playing in the secondary in the NFL, you really do need confidence. It is a tough job but Grant, no different than every other player on our roster, has to earn his playing time and earn his stripes, and we will see where it goes from there."

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

"Really an exciting night for the organization. We added three good players to the defense at all three levels – a defensive lineman, a linebacker and a safety. I think each one of them is a schematic fit for us in what we want to do. On top of that, we were able to add a future third-round pick next year. A very productive night and looking forward to having another good day tomorrow." 

On of there is a common thread between the Browns' four picks beyond playing in the SEC:

"We did not go into this saying, 'Let's only draft SEC players.' Now, if you are only going to draft from one league, it probably would make sense to draft from that league. It just is how it shook out. We are always looking high and low. We will find a good player wherever they may be. We certainly do not make that a huge part of our evaluation. I can tell you, though, when you are watching these guys, the lights are bright in that conference and to see the guys perform under those types of elements certainly does not hurt in evaluation."

On the schematic fit for of each of the Browns' picks:

"With (S) Grant (Delpit), there is a versatility to his game. You saw him play every job in the backend, except corner. He can be in the post. He can be down low. He can play nickel. He can play dime. A guy that can play across the defense was impressive. He is certainly a playmaker, and something we will stress is making plays on the ball. That is something that has shown up in his career. With my man, (DT Jordan) Elliott out of Missouri, the quickness. That is a big thing for our defensive line in terms of getting off of the ball. That is something I think he has and something that needs to be developed. I think I should mention with each one of these guys, none of them are finished products, even like we talked about (T) Jedrick (Wills) from the first round. Something we can definitely work with. The quickness [of Elliott] and getting off the ball was impressive. We want to play multiple guys along that front. I think that is where he gives us depth in that regard. With (LB) Jacob Phillips, we really liked the length, the speed and the ability to play in the system. Those linebackers have to run. You see him running in that system they play down there at LSU. You see him running down the sideline going to make great tackles. Just a high-effort, high-motor guy. He just turned 21 earlier this month. Another young player we feel like we can develop."

On if he had to take off his 'offensive coach hat' as the Browns selected multiple defensive players today:

"I don't need that reminder, but I am the head coach; I don't want to ever be accused of being the offensive head coach. Certainly, we wanted to add good players to our team, and it so happened that it was three players on the defense tonight. I feel really good about adding those three players. That was something that was important to us. I can promise you, the coaches were very excited throughout this draft to try to keep everybody abreast with what we are doing via text message or whatever. It was pretty cool to see the excitement with some of the guys who we were able to add."

On if the Browns could potentially add a WR in a later round who could contribute to the team, given the depth at the position in this year's class:

"I think we feel like that across the board, honestly. If you look at our board and kind of work across left to right, you see players that you feel pretty confident in that have a chance in the third day of the draft to be a contributor. Some of those guys may contribute on special teams and then develop into a player or a starter down the road, but certainly, we see depth at a bunch of different positions."

On Delpit's comments about the Browns having the best secondary in the NFL and his take on a player having an immediate swagger and confidence:

"Certainly, you want some bravado, especially in that back end when you are the last line of defense. Corners , safeties and DBs typically are the guys that bring some energy. I can promise you, our team in general won't be about talking. We will be about being about it. That will be something that I promise you we will talk about as a team, but I don't mind guys that have a ton of confidence. I think you need to bring confidence when you are playing in the back end."

The Browns have selected Jacob Phillips in the 2020 NFL Draft.

On comparing Delpit's 2018 to 2019 season:

"I think when you are doing your homework – our scouts do an outstanding job at this – it is really never about one year. Our scouts have done their work on them when they were sophomores and sometimes freshman, and then they check them out when they are in their junior year. That evaluation is really across years. It is always something that we are thinking about and there are always circumstances with every player. Whether they played good one year, bad one year or great one year, there are always reasons. That is our job to sift through all of those."

On Elliott and how his growth and maturity while at Missouri:

"Elliott is the type of guy that you identify in a draft, and you want to get your hands on these guys. You want to develop these guys. You see a skillset. I'm excited to see this kid work with (defensive line coach) Chris Kiffin and our coaches. I see a physical skillset. I see a good person and a guy that I think fits the mentality of what we want to be. I'm just excited about adding a physical player and a disruptive player and then see if adding him to our scheme, maybe adjusting certain things about how he plays. I'm just excited about what that future may hold for him."

On what losing 30 pounds in a year and a half says about Elliott:

"He's a disciplined eater (laughter)."

On the youth of the Browns LBs:

"I think the youth is a good thing. It is a hungry group. We are going to roll a bunch of guys out there and see what we have. Once we get our hands on these guys, age obviously age matters and then you think about how young (LB) Mack (Wilson) was last year. You are always looking for these guys to progress. Once we get our hands on them, we will see where they are, but I think it is a really intriguing group. I think (linebackers coach) Jason Tarver, (senior defensive assistant) Ben Bloom and (defensive coordinator) Joe Woods have some guys to work with. The nice part is while they may be young, I really think there are a bunch of guys that understand there is a ton of work that needs to go into this. I think they are ready for that, but the youth doesn't really bother me so much as just getting our hands on them and starting to develop these guys."

On starting his coaching career with young talented QBs in the AFC North with Bengals QB Joe Burrows and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, in addition to established veteran Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger:

"I think it is a great division. It is a historic division. I have watched the tape of these games, and I can't wait to hear what it sounds like in these stadiums. I'm excited about it. There is no easy out in the NFL. These divisions are just loaded, and I came from one that I thought was pretty stacked, and we are walking into one that I think is pretty stacked. It is great competition. I think our guys will rise to that competition, but it is certainly something that we are looking forward to."

On if he is involved in the Browns' decisions to trade down:

"I would say we are all involved. We have this zoom setup or whatever it is WebX so we are all in the room remotely together. All those conversations are ongoing and it is collaborative. Certainly, I feel part of it and I know there are a bunch of others that would say the same thing. At the end of the day, we also know that AB (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry) has to make a decision and we all chime in and give him our best thought and then we trust the direction he takes us."

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