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Press Conference

Hue Jackson and Paul DePodesta Draft Press Conference - 4/30

On reaction to the Browns' 2016 NFL Draft:
Jackson: "I think it has been a tremendous few days for us. We set out to strengthen our team, to improve our team in a lot of different areas, and I think we have accomplished that. I have to first give thanks to (Owners) Jimmy and Dee (Haslam), to (Executive Vice President of Football Operations) Sashi (Brown), to Paul, (Vice President of Player Personnel) Andrew (Berry), the scouting staff and our coaching staff and everybody who is involved in this all the way down to our secretaries. I think about the hard work that goes into one of these drafts and it is not just the past three days. It has been a lot of work to get to this point and to go and finish it like we have, I think it has been tremendous work by the whole organization from top to bottom."

On how WR was a target position in the draft:
Jackson: "What I think is important is you that have to score the ball. You have to score touchdowns and you have to put yourself in a position to score touchdowns. Schematically, we will be as good as we can be, but at the same, you need to have players that give you the flexibility to do that from a lot of different areas from a lot of different places, whether it is from air or from land. I think we have accomplished that from this draft to go along with the guys we already have here. It is going to give us a chance to put out the best of the best that we have. I think that is what is important."

On how much of an impact the Browns expect from the 2016 draft class:
Jackson: "I am expecting these guys to compete. This is about competition. I don't think you can ever put a limit on any young man, regardless of what his draft status is. You coach them all up, you treat them the same and you kind of let the cream rise to the top. Everybody is here for a reason. They are trying to earn a job, and we put them on this team because they have the characteristics that we look for. We are looking forward to letting these men compete. I think you all have seen the success stories across the National Football League of guys who were drafted at later rounds who make a team or end up becoming stars. I don't want to put a limit on what anybody is capable of doing."

On how NCAA awards impacted the Browns' board:
DePodesta: "It didn't really. I wasn't really aware of big time awards until people started talking about it on TV. Although, we were joking about it in the room afterward. I was like, 'What? Did they want us to take guys who weren't productive in college? Would that have been better? (laughter) We are certainly happy that those are some of the accomplishments that those guys had in the past, but ultimately, that is not a great predictor of what they are going to do at this level. This is a very different game."

On how the NFL draft compares to the MLB draft:
DePodesta: "Boy, it is very different. First of all, baseball would have another 33 rounds to go (laughter) and you do not sign all the players. It is high school players, college players. It is a bigger pool. You usually have close to 1,000 players on your draft board. It also just goes a lot quicker because you still do it in a course of three days. In that sense, it's different, but fundamentally, it's still very much the same. This is about not only is it about picking talented players but people that really fit in your organization. As you can see probably from the five guys that were up here earlier today, as much as we are focused on talent, we are really also focused on character. In that sense, it is no different than what I have been doing for the last 20 years."

On how important it is to assess character of players, along with talent:
DePodesta: "I think very. There is not a silver bullet. There is not a test that tells you exactly what he is going to be like, but what we have to do is spend as much time as we can with him as we can. Our scouts have done a tremendous job of trying to get to know these kids as best they can, get to know their coaches, get to know everyone around their program. We have had the chance to hold 60 interviews at the Combine and had another 30 visits here. Our coaches hustled like crazy during the Combine to try get to know these kids. Not perfect by any stretch, but it was something that we really emphasize and was important to us this year, and I think it will continue to be moving forward.

On comparing DB Justin Gilbert to DB Jamar Taylor:
Jackson: "I don't want to compare him to Justin. I think Justin's situation is different, but I think he is a former second-round draft pick who is very talented. Sometimes in these situations, young men need a change of scenery. Maybe this will benefit him, but it also benefits us because he has talent and ability. He has to come here and fit into our culture and do the things that we are asking our young men to do every day and to follow our program. I think he will. Again, this is a shot. This is an opportunity for him. At the same time, I think he recognizes that and we do, too. I think that has a potential to work out."

On what it says about the Browns not drafting a RB:
Jackson: "It says that I am very happy with the guys that are here. That's one of the things that once I got here that I wanted to take a strong look at. From top to bottom, I think we have some good candidates here. We still have a ways to go. Obviously, no shoulder pads have been put on or any helmets, but the guys accepted my challenge and I think (run game coordinator/running backs) Coach (Kirby) Wilson has done a really great job of really bringing these guys along. We have a long way to go, but we will find out a lot more about them in training camp. I am very happy with the group thus far."

On if the Browns needed to revamp the WR group, considering the number of WRs the team drafted:
Jackson: "I said when I got here that I was looking to improve that position. I wanted to get some bigger targets on our football team, but I'm also very happy with the group we had. I think you can never have too much talent or competition at that position because I think it helps improve your quarterback position. As I said, the quarterback is the guy that kind of drives the engine here, and we are going to do everything that we can to put him in a position to succeed. There are a lot of different ways to do that. The offensive line plays a huge role in that but so do the wide receivers and running backs and tight ends. You have to have targets for him to throw at, and we have accomplished that in this draft."

On if the draftees are buying in to the rebuilding aspect:
Jackson: "I know you guys keep saying 'rebuilding,' but you know I won't call it that because I really don't believe in that. It started a long time ago here when Jimmy and Dee when they made a decision to make a change. I think that was the changing of the guard. I truly believe that this class will start to put a stamp on what we are truly about and what we are becoming. We're not there yet by any stretch of the imagination. We have a long way to go, but you have to start some place. I think this is where we are starting. This is going to be our first class, and I have been more than excited to be with the people that I am with going through this process. It has been outstanding, and it is going to be a change, and we are looking forward to it."

On selecting Kessler in the third round:
DePodesta "It is sort of all about what we look for in a player and what we value depending on the position they play. As an organization, we may value things a little differently than others, and I don't necessarily mean value numerically but just what we think's important. He has some of the skills that we value highly in a quarterback. He's a quick decision maker and a very accurate thrower. There are things that we felt like Hue could really do with him and make him as good as he can be or as productive as he could be. We just felt like he could be a really good fit in our offense and with the coaches that we have."

On responding to analysts who questioned some of the Browns' trades as reaches and if that is due to a lack of understanding the team's approach:
DePodesta: "No, I don't think so. I just think that's just the nature of the draft. I think that will happen in just about any organization. They will take some players that people say, 'Gees, this seems high for him' or what have you because everyone sort of has different values on different trades. There were a handful of players that we thought were taken pretty high that we didn't have very high at all, and that is just the nature of the beast and again no different from here than for baseball either."

On Kessler coming in with the mindset to compete for the starting role:
Jackson: "I love it. I love that a guy wants to walk in here and compete and be the best he can be because that is the only way that you can get better. My vision for him is to see where he is. I haven't had a chance to work with him on the field or in the classroom. We have had great conversations, but at the same time, we drafted him on this team to make that quarterback room better. How he competes and where he grows from there, that will all show itself in time."

On a great pick that the Browns picked later in the draft than the team expected him to be available:
DePodesta: "I think most of them, right? (laughter)

Jackson: "That's what I was about to say."

DePodesta: "I don't know if we can pick one out. We are really excited about every one of these guys, and some for different reasons. I'm just looking through the list now, but they're all so different. We're excited for different reasons for having just about all these guys."

On considering players draft rankings compared to where they were selected:
DePodesta: "Again, we are excited about every single one of these guys, which is part of the reason why we kept getting extra picks. It wasn't just playing a game of accumulating extra picks. It was all with the intent of getting specific players, and this list has just about all of them. These are guys that we have targeted from the beginning, and we felt like they would be good fits for us."

On if director of research and strategy Kevin Meers' NFL draft value chart was used when making trades:
DePodesta: "We probably used three or four different ones that we know are used around the league just so we have sense of what's sort of out there in the market place. I wouldn't say we're using anything special."  

On if the Browns created and used their own unique trade chart for this draft:
DePodesta:  "No."

On what position OL Spencer Drango will play for the Browns:
Jackson:  "He's going to play tackle – right tackle."

On some people projecting Drango as more of a guard:
Jackson: "No, we're going to put him out there as a tackle first and see if he can handle that. Then if we need to move him inside, we can."

On what the Browns saw in LB Joe Schobert and DB Derrick Kindred:
Jackson: "Overall, when you talk about Schobert, he's a tremendous football player. I mean he has the versatility to play either outside linebacker or inside linebacker. He'll be a special player on special teams, but this guy is a big time football player. When you watch him play, that's what you see. You see a guy go make a lot of plays, whether it's intercepting balls, hitting quarterbacks, taking running backs down in the backfield. He has some ability, and we're really excited about having him on our team. [Derrick Kendrid], he's a guy that knows how to play the ball. He knows how to go make plays on the ball. He's a safety. When you watch him, the guy runs the alley and he goes and picks balls off. We took players in specific areas where we needed some help, and we feel like these guys are going to make a real contribution to our football team."

On the reason Browns fans should trust the team selecting Kessler:
Jackson: "Because one, when I look at quarterbacks, I've had a history with bringing guys along. I think over my history, the guys who can complete the ball and throw the ball straight with accuracy and make great decisions that are intelligent that know how to lead football teams, they've been successful. I've been very good at watching those things happen. This young man has uncanny ability to throw the ball with accuracy. He's very intelligent. He's been in every kind of system you can think of. He is a grinder. He loves to work at the game. What happens is sometimes people have, the question I was asked earlier, if people think you're not this top-of-the-round draft pick quarterback that maybe you don't have a chance to play in the National Football League. That's already been proven to be different, and I think he has the makeup that he's going to have a chance to ascend. Now, he has to do the work, just like I've said about every quarterback we've had here. I think he will do the work, but I think at the same time as we go through this process, I think you guys will be admired with how he throws the ball with quickness and how he throws it directly to people to give guys opportunities to make catches on the ball."

On what the Browns saw in WR Ricardo Louis:
Jackson: "The receiver Ricardo Louis, the guy who can run vertical down the field to make great plays on the ball. Ricardo Louis was a great pick up for us because he's another big, tall athlete who can really run and has tremendous speed. He has vertical ability and has made a lot of big plays. We all know what his average per catch was. It was over 17 yards. He's another guy that knows how to score the ball and has a chance to some special things because of his athleticism and his ability to get vertical really fast."

On if he would like to the see the NFL draft moved up a couple weeks to have more time in practice with rookies:
Jackson: "That's still a part of the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). The coaches, we would all love to have them longer so we could spend more time with them honing their craft and getting better. At the same time, we do understand that there is a time and a place to do everything and the rules are the rules. I know you're not asking specifically about the rules, but would we love to have more time with our players to get them better? Every coach across the National Football League would. At the same time, I think we all understand that these players are bigger, faster and stronger and need more rest, need more time. There's a lot that still going into it. That's just a part of how it is right now, and we accept that."

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