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Senior Bowl

John Dorsey comes to 2nd Senior Bowl as Browns GM with smaller list of needs but same important objectives

MOBILE, Alabama -- Taking a break with some local reporters between Tuesday's practices, John Dorsey stood in the same spot as he did one year ago.

Even though the circumstances have changed drastically in the year since he came to the Senior Bowl as Cleveland's new general manager, Dorsey kept his routine consistent. It's a philosophy he's carrying into the next few months of the offseason, when he'll make moves, tweaks and picks he believes will put the Browns on the path to be even better than their 7-8-1 finish in 2018.

"Process will always be the same. The only difference is that every draft class is different," Dorsey said. "You have to measure the strengths and weaknesses of every draft class and see how they best fit into the organization. You understand what your team is all about, what you do in unrestricted free agency, what you do maybe in the trade market and how you work to acquire players – but the process has always been the same and it will never change."

Last year at this time, the Browns were looking for a quarterback and upgrades at most positions across the roster. It was the early stages of the process that led to a dramatic roster overhaul that resulted in 59 percent turnover by the season opener.

That kind of change won't be necessary in the 2019 offseason, of course. The Browns have their quarterback in Baker Mayfield, who is coming off a record-setting rookie season, and a much more experienced roster -- yet still one of the league's youngest -- that produced four Pro Bowlers and is almost entirely signed up to be in Cleveland for 2019 and beyond.

Still, Dorsey has work to do just like every NFL general manager does in the offseason.

"There's a formula you use to measure what teams have in terms of impact players on a yearly basis," Dorsey said. "I don't want to put a pure number on it, but we're a lot better off this year than we were last year."

The Browns don't have the No. 1 pick or four picks in the first 35 selections like they did last year but they boast a similarly deep pool of assets, both in terms of draft capital and salary cap space.

Cleveland holds the 17th pick, four picks in the first three rounds and 10 selections overall. Much like last year, the Browns are among the league leaders in salary cap space, giving Dorsey plenty of flexibility to make the kinds of moves -- whether it be trades like the four he made at the start of the 2018 league year or outbidding the competition for unrestricted free agents -- he believes will best help the team achieve its goal of winning the AFC North.

The first stage of the process started a little earlier this year because of the team's then-pending coaching search. Dorsey and his group had their first free agency meetings in mid-December so they wouldn't be scrambling after a coach was named. New head coach Freddie Kitchens wasted little time filling out the majority of his staff, and most are here commingling with their new colleagues in the Browns player personnel department, most of whom have been with the team at least since Dorsey was hired, if not longer.

It's all part of the "collaborative effort" Dorsey is leading as Cleveland looks to make moves and decisions that might not be as abundant as last year's but carry just as much importance.

"I'll never feel good until we get this thing completely the way we're supposed to get it and establish a program and consistently win on a week in, week out basis," Dorsey said. "Then I'll be satisfied."

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