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Hue Jackson eager to learn more about Carson Wentz at Pro Day

Hue Jackson offered a smile and a simple answer when asked to describe what he knows about North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz.

"I know I'm going to see him this week," the Browns first-year coach told reporters Tuesday at the NFL's annual owners' meetings in Boca Raton. "I know I'm going to learn more about him."

Of course, Jackson is pointing to how the Browns will travel to Fargo, North Dakota, to watch Wentz — who's considered one of the top quarterbacks in this year's draft class — throw Thursday morning at his school's Pro Day.

"I know he's a young man that comes from a small school, he has great stature, great ability," Jackson said. "But again, until you spend more time with a person, do you know? But he looks the part and he has all the attributes that you look for."

Indeed, Jackson has made it clear Cleveland is in pursuit of a franchise quarterback and carefully will evaluate all options in doing so — be it through the draft, free agency or with somebody already on the roster.

"I believe in our process to get guys to do what we need them to do. And as long as a guy is willing to put in the work, and he understands there's a lot to do — there's more to playing quarterback than just throwing the ball or handing the ball off — you've got a lot of responsibilities, just like I do," Jackson said.

"So as long as you can make guys understand that, whether they're young guys coming up in the draft — I'm not saying anything to you guys that I haven't said to the young guys, too — there's just a way we're going to do it here and guys have got to meet that expectation."

Jackson added: "We create an environment to make our quarterbacks precious. Our practices are about the quarterback. Our meetings are about the quarterback. So we look through this through the eyes of the quarterback, not so much through the eyes of anything else. Because we all know, if your quarterback plays well in the National Football League, you have a chance to win. And if he doesn't, you have no chance at winning. That's how we see it"

Wentz, who guided FCS powerhouse North Dakota State to back-to-back national championships in his two years as starting quarterback, is among those potential options for the Browns, who hold the second and 32nd picks in April's NFL Draft.

So is California quarterback Jared Goff, whom Jackson watched throw at the school's Pro Day late last week.

"He's a tremendous young man, had a tremendous career. (He) has poise, obviously accurate, can throw the ball with anybody, make all the throws," Jackson told the NFL Network, "but I think you guys all know it's more than that than just playing quarterback. That guy has to be the face of the franchise. So you kind of want to find out as much as you can and evaluate it all as you go through this process."

That's been Cleveland's approach throughout the offseason when it comes to evaluating talent

While Goff and Wentz are considered by some analysts as the top quarterbacks in this year's draft, Jackson has made it clear the Browns will do their "due diligence" in making sure no stone is left unturned to gather as much possible information and data.

Jackson, brushing aside potential concern that Wentz — who played in a lower division of college football — wouldn't be ready for NFL-level competition, said "I don't think we get concerned about the school or the level of play, it's 'can the guy play?"

"There's a lot of National Football League players that went to small schools that are playing well in the NFL," Jackson said, "It's about creating an environment for a guy to be great and I think we can do that. "​

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