Andrew Berry is keeping all possibilities open with the Browns' No. 10 pick in this week's draft.
Berry, the Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager, is open to just about every avenue Cleveland could take with its favorable position in the first round Thursday.
He said Cleveland hasn't closed off the possibility of trading back — or ahead — and is looking beyond the offensive tackle position, which is where most pundits expect the Browns to make their first selection.
All of that, however, can change in an instant.
"You never know how those first nine picks are going to fall," Berry said Monday in a video call with local reporters. "There are a number of scenarios that could mean we send a pick, move up, move back, do whatever. We're not going to be pigeon-holed to a certain decision or mode of operation. We're going to make the best decision that we think is right for the roster."
Check out photos of the top offensive tackles in the 2020 NFL Draft
That last point has been Berry's main focus throughout his first draft preparation as GM of the Browns, and he wants to draft players with an emphasis on improving the long-term outlook of the organization.
Yes, that seems cliche and is something that just about every general manager will say before any draft. Berry, however, doesn't want the Browns to commit to drafting a player from one position solely because it's their biggest need for improvement for next season. Whoever Cleveland does select won't be expected to immediately become one of the Browns' top players, either.
"Our outlook with the draft has really been to scout and evaluate as if you have an expansion roster," Berry said. "That is really the case every year. We do not really go into a fall or spring and just say, 'Hey, look, we are just going to hone in on these specific positions.' Again, the draft is more about maximizing the amount of talent and the long-term talent on your team as opposed to filling needs. Very few rookies come in and hit the ground running and play at a Pro Bowl-caliber level in their first year. I think that is the wrong focus."
The Browns have put in an ample amount of scouting work on each of the top offensive linemen in this year's class, but Berry wants to ensure the Browns take a hard look at every other player with first-round prospects, too.
He sees this draft class with an equal balance between offensive and defensive talent. Although there are four or five offensive linemen that could be selected in the early part of the first round, Berry doesn't want to pay any less attention to the safety, linebacker and pass rushing needs on the Browns defense.
"I think there are a lot of good football players on the offensive and defensive side of the ball in this draft," Berry said. "It's not heavy on one side versus the other. There's a lot of talent within this class. I don't anticipate us being pigeon-holed into any specific direction or any specific side of the ball."
Luckily for the Browns, their draft needs align well with positional talent projections of this year's draft. If Cleveland wants an offensive tackle in the first round, there should be a quality lineman waiting to be selected at No. 10. If the Browns want to find safety and linebacker help in the mid-rounds, there should be a quality group of players to pick for both positions.
"I do feel very prepared," he said. "It is exciting because we have spent so much time on these prospects. It's a little bit like Christmas coming early because now we get to see who the newest members of the Browns organization are going to be. That is a really fulfilling and rewarding time not just for myself but everybody else who has put countless hours into this process."