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2020 NFL Draft

Mike Pettine, Ray Farmer provide insight on why Danny Shelton, Cameron Erving were Browns' picks

When Browns defensive line coach Anthony Weaver began his analysis of 2015 draft prospects, he began with Danny Shelton.

And, as Mike Pettine described it Thursday after the Browns nabbed the Washington defensive tackle with the 12th pick, "it was kind of all downhill after that."

"He was the best one he watched," Pettine said. "He was a guy right out of the gate that we had targeted."

Shelton, a 339-pound nose guard who put up big numbers during his senior season at Washington, was a star at January's Senior Bowl, dominating various drills while matching up with some of the draft's top offensive tackles and guards. At the time, most analysts believed the Browns would need to trade up from No. 12 if they wanted to land Shelton.

Perhaps the best thing that happened for the Browns was Shelton's 40-yard dash at February's NFL Combine. Shelton clocked the worst time of any participant, 5.64 seconds, but it mattered little to Cleveland.

The tape didn't lie.

"That's not something we were concerned with, especially after you watch the film," Pettine said. "He doesn't play to that speed and the college coaches who have gone against him have made the comment they're glad he's gone. He's gone against elite competition and played well. I think he's an example of you believe the tape more than you believe the stopwatch or tape measure."

Without an in-season move to center, Cameron Erving also may have never landed in Cleveland.

Erving was considered to be one of the ACC's top left tackles for multiple seasons, but he ultimately finished his Florida State career at center. Erving made the move after the Seminoles' struggled following an injury to starter Austin Barron, and the transition proved to be so seamless that coach Jimbo Fisher named Erving the permanent starting center after just one start.

Erving, who appears poised to compete for a starting spot on the right side of Cleveland's offensive line, won all-conference honors at both left tackle and center. His ability to play all five positions on the offensive line served as a major driving force behind his rise to the first round.

Browns general manager Ray Farmer lauded Erving's versatility and cited it as one of the main reasons why he was picked, but he stressed not to forget what Erving accomplished for so long as a left tackle.

"Inevitably, he got to showcase more and more of what he could do," Farmer said. "Playing left tackle at Florida State was also good and he played some of the better pass rushers you'll see in this draft, whether it's Vic Beasley, whether it's Eli Harold. He played against those guys and you could see his athleticism and his ability to translate to the National Football League rather easily."

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