2020 NFL Draft

Browns buoyed by collaborative draft process: 'We know we're going the exact same direction'

The Browns added 10 new faces — including three first-round picks — to a roster that's almost surely stronger than it was this time last week.

They have long spoken of how the 2017 NFL Draft this past weekend would be a turning point for an organization building from the ground up, adding potential game-changers in former Texas A&M defensive end and first-overall pick Myles Garrett, safety Jabrill Peppers (No. 25 overall) and tight end David Njoku (No. 29).

Perhaps just as importantly, though, members of Cleveland's leadership gained a greater appreciation for one another, finding a certain level of common ground in their second draft together.

"That's been the biggest change," said executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown on Saturday in a post-draft press conference.

"Just more time and building the relationships among the four of us and being able to work together and understand our team more and what we need and have really a much better sense of Hue's vision for what he wants the team to look like and feel like on the field, how his scheme plays out and how different traits and different players can fit into that."

Paul DePodesta, the Browns' chief strategy officer, echoed Brown's sentiment.

"(Sashi) hit it on the head – just time," he said. "Time with everybody up here, time with the rest of our coaching staff, time with the rest of our scouts just to really try to get as defined a direction as possible where we know we're going the exact same direction."

Take a look at all 10 picks in Cleveland's 2017 Draft class.

Indeed, this year's draft class highlighted an ongoing, collaborative process between Brown, DePodesta, Jackson and vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry, who oversees the Browns' scouting efforts.

"We're starting to understand each other better," Jackson told NFL Network's Mike Silver in a story published Monday.  

"Sashi and his people are getting a better idea of what we as coaches are seeking, and their process is starting to make more sense to me. And (Browns owners) Jimmy and Dee are doing a great job of making sure everyone is heard, and creating an environment where we can execute a plan without rushing things.

"There was a lot of passionate discussion during the pre-draft process," Jackson continued, "and there were some tense times in the war room (Thursday) night. It wasn't easy, but I love the way we came out of it."

After adding Garrett, Peppers, Njoku and a Day 1 trade with the Texans that gave Cleveland another first-round pick in 2018, the Browns made clear they intended to let the draft come to them.

The Browns grabbed Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer at No. 52 and picked up the stout Charlotte defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi at the start of the third round. On Day 3, Cleveland added five more players whom they hope will contribute in various ways.

"In terms of this (draft), this has worked well from the beginning and has worked well certainly throughout these last few days," DePodesta said.

"We probably felt even more prepared organizationally … You even sense that right now in the building. Everybody is really excited about what we were able to do these last three days."

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