There was once a time when Andrew Berry had his sights set on New York City.
"Originally I was going to go trade equity derivatives on Wall Street," said Berry, a Harvard graduate with a bachelor's degree in economics and master's in computer science. "So (football) was a big departure from what I expected, but I couldn't be happier."
Indeed, Berry — who in January was hired to be the Browns' vice president of player personnel — is considered one of the brightest minds in the NFL and seemed to prove as much on Friday afternoon in wide-ranging interview with reporters.
Amid a flurry of questions about the draft and Cleveland's blockbuster trade with the Eagles earlier this week, the 28-year-old outlined his path to the league and his role with the Browns as the NFL Draft approaches.
"Since I got this job, I've probably gotten 100 text messages assuring me that I would age quickly in the role," Berry said, laughing.
After all, Berry and the rest of the team's front office — including executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown, chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta — have been carefully evaluating prospects and preparing for the league's annual draft, which is set to begin next Thursday in Chicago.
The Browns, who have spoken of building their roster through the draft under first-year head coach Hue Jackson, hold 12 selections after dealing the No. 2 overall pick to Philadelphia in exchange for the No. 8 pick and a bevy of picks this year and in following years.
"We were just trying to be very deliberate with the decision," Berry said, "and we're certainly happy with the choice we made."
Berry — who was most recently the Colts' pro scouting coordinator — said he feels confident in the direction of the organization.
"I'm certainly optimistic with the group that we have put together. I feel great about our process and I wouldn't trade it for any process that I've been a part of," he said. "I feel very confident that we'll make good decisions, that we can turn this thing around."
Berry, who graduated from Harvard with two degrees in four years while playing cornerback for the Crimson, said his first experience with the NFL was as a draft prospect trying to woo over prospective teams.
After a brief minicamp experience with the Redskins that didn't pan out, Berry said he received and accepted an entry-level scouting position with the Colts.
"I thought it was one of those opportunities I just couldn't pass up," Berry said. "So I packed up my stuff in my '93 Acura Legend and drove out to Indianapolis and didn't look back."
There was no backup plan.
"To be quite honest, I didn't really have one. I was passionate enough about the career path and passionate enough about the role and I was really quite honestly excited to attack the challenges," Berry said.
"It never really entered my conscious that it wouldn't work out. And I've never been one to have fear dictate my actions."