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Expectations, culture key themes as Browns set for rookie minicamp

Hue Jackson couldn't help but laugh last week when asked whether the Browns' incoming draft class was the largest crop of newcomers he's been around.

But trust that this was part of the plan as Cleveland continues their offseason workouts.

"I go back to the guys that I work with, what a tremendous process that we had in place," Jackson said on the Browns' Post-Draft Special, pointing to executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown, chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta and vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry.

"It was something that we wanted to accomplish, and we saw we had the opportunity to accomplish it and we were able to get it done."

The Browns made good on a promise to take as many productive, high-character players as possible. And as a result, 25 newcomers — 14 draft picks and 11 undrafted free agents — will report to Berea on Thursday for rookie minicamp, a three-day grind in which Jackson and his coaches will finally get a chance to see the newest members of the roster in a different setting.

Jackson — who made it a point to outline expectations and goals for the veterans during voluntary minicamp last month — said this week is about laying something of a similar foundation for the youngsters.

"I want them to truly get to understand our culture here and what the expectations are. Have them really truly get to know their coaches back-and-forth both ways where we understand them and they understand us a little bit," Jackson said.

"But to start to understand how we do things in the weight room, how we do things in the meeting rooms because I think that's going to be very important to their success."

Added second-year nose tackle Danny Shelton: "(The rookies can't) come in here thinking it's going to be easy. Because this new program that we have we're not designing it to make sure these guys are walking in and getting everything down."

"It's more we're making sure these guys are coming in wanting to win and are expecting to win. They're going to get that ingrained into their heads right away so they better be ready for this cardio."

That's been a focus for the Browns as they continue Phase II of the offseason program.

"I'm expecting us to take the next jump as far as understanding our offense and defense and special teams schemes," Jackson said.

That includes getting the rookies — many of whom could play key roles next season — up to speed and in line with what's going on in Berea these days.

"(We get to) play with these guys a little bit, you know, kind of see the skills and talents that they have because then do you only get a true identity of who they are and what they are," Jackson said.

"Our offense is nowhere close to where I think it'll be by the time we get to training camp because you've got to take all the pieces and put it together, and I need time to see them and really feel them and have our staff do the same. But we'll get a chance to have them around in shorts and catch some balls and go from there."

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