As Hue Jackson described it, the Browns felt like they were on the clock from the moment the 2016 season came to a close.
In theory, that was exactly the case. But the hours upon hours of meetings, discussions, evaluations and everything else that led up to the 2017 NFL Draft was about the class as a whole -- not just No. 1 pick Myles Garrett.
In the end, Cleveland came away with 10 players -- one fewer than the amount of picks it held at the start of the draft -- in a class that the team's top leaders believe will play a big part in turning around the franchise's fortunes.
"We wanted to come away with a number of young players we felt good about," Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said. Paul (DePodesta) and I sat kind of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week batting around what would be a successful weekend. I think if we laid this out, we would have bought this early, for sure."
The Browns made a handful of trades to position themselves with 11 picks heading into the draft, none bigger than last year's with the Eagles, whose 2017 first-round selection belonged to the Browns. That pick was at the center of Cleveland's biggest of four trades over the past three days, as the Browns moved from No. 12 to No. 25 in a deal with the Texans that netted Houston's 2018 first-round pick.
"We don't go into the day thinking, 'Hey, let's make three trades today.' That is not the mindset at all," DePodesta said. "I think this year maybe we were more proactive in trying to create some opportunity than even last year.
"Today, for instance, there were a couple of situations with the way the board was falling that we wanted to act and we wanted to do something. We were able to do that on a couple of occasions and get players that we wanted to go get. If the board had fallen a certain way, then we wouldn't have done those things. I don't know that it will be our M.O. going forward, but I think that we are always trying to think one step ahead so that we can be prepared and hopefully do something if we need to."
The Browns not only came away with five players in the top 65 and five players on Day 3, but also can look ahead at a 2018 draft in which they carry two first-round picks and three second-rounders. It will be another batch of young talent Cleveland hopes can grow together and flourish on the game's biggest stage.
"This is obviously a good group," Brown said. "We set ourselves up next year for another good group to come in. We want to perpetually be getting better. We are not going to rest now."
The Cleveland Browns draft Myles Garrett first overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Cleveland Browns draft Jabrill Peppers at No. 25 in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Cleveland Browns draft David Njoku at No. 29 in the 2017 NFL Draft.
- TE David Njoku - Miami (from Packers)
The Cleveland Browns draft DeShone Kizer at No. 52 in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Cleveland Browns draft Larry Ogunjobi at No. 65 in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Cleveland Browns draft Howard Wilson at No. 126 in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Cleveland Browns draft Roderick Johnson at No. 160 in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Cleveland Browns draft Caleb Brantley at No. 185 in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Cleveland Browns draft Zane Gonzalez at No. 224 in the 2017 NFL Draft.
- K Zane Gonzalez - Arizona State (from New York Jets)
The Cleveland Browns draft Matthew Dayes at No. 252 in the 2017 NFL Draft.