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Press Conference

Cody Kessler Conference Call - 4/29

On people having him being drafted in the lower rounds and if he was surprised to be picked in the third round:
"No, I was very excited. For me, I've tried to ignore all the mock drafts and the predictions and where people have me and think where I was going to go. I tried to block all that out and kind of keep my head down and keep my mouth shut and try to perform at every opportunity that I got, whether it was Senior Bowl or pro day for me or even the combine. I actually flew to Cleveland in March and had a great meeting with (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson and everyone in their facility. It was awesome. I was very excited, and I knew that was one of the teams that I had a great connection with. Honestly, personally, I was kind of sitting there waiting, and I knew they had a lot of picks. I just kind of kept talking to my family and my agent was sitting there. I was just hoping. I was hoping it would be Cleveland, and I was excited every time their name came up and every time they had a pick. Then, it worked out. I'm just very blessed and very thankful to be heading to Cleveland."

On his strengths and what he says to people when they pick on his height or the strength of his arm:
"For me, personally, I pride myself on accuracy. That's the biggest thing for me, getting the ball to the right guy at the right time. That's some of the big things, and it's something that's overlooked a lot. For quarterbacks, everyone looks at arm strength and how well he does this and how well he does that. For me, I've always wanted to be the most accurate quarterback, be the most efficient, throw touchdowns, eliminate interceptions, get the ball to our guys. Even if it's check-downs, I have to do that. My biggest strength too is, I think, my leadership. At USC, I had five coaching changes in three years as a starting quarterback, which I don't know if it's a good thing, but I kind of got used to it – how to handle a little bit of everything. It's definitely prepared me for the next level and all the things and all the challenges that come with it and all the adversity. I'm excited to accept every challenge that comes my way and kind of learn from it and keep moving on. The height-wise is something that, obviously, I can't change and I can't control, but what I can control is how I performed in the games and how I performed at the Senior Bowl and Combine and pro day. I think I showed a lot of that throughout this process was I can make all the deep throws, I can make all the throws that are necessary. I did all that at the Combine and at the pro day, especially. I think that helped me out a lot throughout this draft process, and obviously, my mindset is something I've always taken pride in. I've been in a pro style offense for a long time now, and I've always had a great experience with that."

On how he was able to cope with the constant change and turmoil at Southern Cal and be as productive as he was learning a new system every year:
"My sophomore year was obviously when it started when I first got a chance to be a starter. (Former Southern California Head) Coach (Lane) Kiffin was there and was a great coach and really helped me out a ton, but five games in, he was let go in kind of a bizarre situation how it happened. Everyone was kind of thrown in that. I'm only 19 at the time, but at the same time, I'm the starting quarterback. I remember (Pro Football Hall of Fame RB) Marcus Allen was a guy that came in and kind of looked me in the face and said, 'I don't care if you're a sophomore or what year you are. This is your team. You're the leader, and you've got to be a captain.' I took that and kind of ran with it. I've always prided myself on my leadership and kind of being able to adjust to different situations. Like I said, I had five of them at USC, and I got more and more used to it each time it happened. For me, my biggest concern was kind of taking the attention off that negative stuff that was going on, whether it was even off-the-field issues with some of our teammates, or different things like that, that I and the rest of the team couldn't control, and I put it back on the focus. When even this year when (former Southern California Head) Coach Sark (Steve Sarkisian) was let go with the different allegations to happen with him, as soon as I addressed the media the first thing I said was, 'We know we've got Notre Dame this week. This is a huge game. This guy has been doing a great job at this. This guy's been working with that,' and trying to redirect it something positive and stuff we can control. Over the last three years, we would have loved to win a couple more games, but I think for the cards we were dealt, especially the team I was given, there are a lot of great guys that really helped me. We really worked hard at USC and kind of kept the program above and kept working hard for them to hopefully have a great future."

On analysts ranking him in a lower tier as a future backup QB and having assurance that he can become a starting NFL QB:
"Yeah, it kind of relates back to being at USC. I had that tag there as a redshirt freshman, as well, having another quarterback come in that class on scholarship. I competed for that job my freshman year and obviously, (Cardinals QB) Matt Barkley was there so we both sat, then Matt (Barkley) stayed another year, we both sat, and they had me as the third-string guy. I figured that was a hint that, 'We know they we're going to go in the next direction when Matt leaves,' so I took it personally. I didn't complain. I didn't transfer. I didn't go and complain to anybody else, and I just put my head down. You know, I'm from Bakersfield so I kind of have a blue collar work ethic. I had to work for everything that I've gotten as this point so I took that mentality, went in there and won the starting job as a sophomore, got my opportunity and took it and ran with it, and I never looked back. That's the same mentality that I am going to take into the NFL. Whether I come in as a backup or I get my chance to get a chance to compete right away, no matter what it is, I still am going to give 110 percent. I'm going to do anything I can to have the best opportunity I can because I do believe that I can play in this league, and I'm excited for the opportunities and the challenges that lie ahead. The only thing I can control is how I perform every day."

On analysts stating he doesn't have enough arm strength:
"Yeah, for me, I heard that a lot this year. My junior was something that kind of surprised me because in that year we took a lot of deep shots, threw a lot of deep balls. A majority of my passes junior year were shots. We took shots and I aired it out when I needed to, if it wasn't there I would check it down. I think we were one of the top teams in the country for long passing gains and long touchdowns. This last year, obviously we had some injuries with our center (Chargers OL) Max Tuerk got hurt and some other offensive linemen got hurt. We had to bring a couple of guys in at receiver. We moved a quarterback to wide out, had to burn a couple of red shirts of receivers, and the role kind of changed for me. It turned into a more short-to-intermediate passing strength for us to help out in different situations. The biggest thing, for me, was that I didn't mind that. I knew that I still had the arm strength. I knew that I could make all the throws. For me, I wanted to do what was best for the team. Coach called me in and said, 'Hey, your role might change a little bit. We might have to be a more run-first, run-heavy team, but at the end of the day, I still want to get you involved.' I think pro day, for me especially, and being in the Senior Bowl and being able to throw the deep post and the longer comebacks from the opposite hash and show that I could still make those throws."

The Browns wrapped up a busy third round Friday by selecting USC quarterback Cody Kessler with the No. 93 pick.

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