Skip to main content

2020 NFL Draft

'Something amazing had to happen': How Corey Coleman became a Brown


CHICAGO —** When it was all said and done, the Browns did what they said they were going to do.

At the NFL Draft here Thursday night, Cleveland selected the best player available — Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman — while remaining cognizant of roster needs.

The Browns also managed what executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown described as "draft capital" in a measured and calculated manner. They traded down seven spots and gathered additional draft picks in an effort to create a "nucleus" of young talent.

And in the end, the Browns say they got the guy they wanted all along at No. 15.

"Corey's a guy that we're really confident will be productive in this league, can separate
at an elite level," Brown told reporters in Berea. "Once you get the ball in his hands, he can make tremendous plays."

Brown added, "I purely think it was the best available player left on our board. We knew coming into the draft that we'd like to address the wide receiver position, but we are never going to step out of our board rankings."

Here's how the Browns — who dealt away the No. 2 overall pick and No. 8 pick before the end of Thursday night — came to select Coleman, who says Jackson and Cleveland have a plan for him.

"Hue Jackson is going to put me in a position to succeed, I really believe that. That's the type of coach he is," he said. "They wouldn't have drafted me (otherwise)."


Indianapolis, Ind.

11:45 a.m. — Amid a flurry of questions over who the Browns might take in April's NFL Draft, Hue Jackson remained calm, cool and collected in his first meet-and-greet with the national media.  And then, Jackson laid out a theme that would become central to the team's thinking in the coming months.

"I think you guys all know how you stack your board, and what's going to be important is you take the best player that's available," Jackson said.

"And how that all works, that's going to show itself as we move forward. We do know this: We have a chance to draft some really good players on our football team coming up pretty soon."

Jackson also made it clear the Browns were in search of a certain type of football player.

"When I think of specifics in what I'm looking for in players, obviously I'm looking  for high-character guys, and I want guys that have high football character on this football team," he said. "With that being said, we're also looking for some people that are talented, guys that have passion for the game of football because we all know it's a very tough game."

Sometime in March

Berea, Ohio

Coleman visits the Browns facility and meets with Brown, Jackson and a handful of other staff members. The thing that sticks out?

"He really sort of lit up the building on his top-30 visit," Browns vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry said. "We are very excited to have him here in Cleveland."

​Coleman said the feeling was mutual. "They loved me, but at that time it was kind of impossible," he said. "I think they were No. 2 or something like that. Something amazing had to happen."

March 19 — California Pro Day

Berkeley, California

2:35 p.m. — After the combine, Jackson, Brown, Berry and other members of Cleveland's staff set out across the country in pursuit of additional evaluation. In particular, a trip to California's Pro Day in mid-March to watch quarterback Jared Goff stands out.

Jackson heaped praise on Goff, who looked sharp in Berkeley and proved why he's one of the best signal-callers in this year's draft class. But Jackson alsomade  a point to temper the building speculation the Browns were locked in on Goff or North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz.

"I know everybody wants us to say it's going to be a QB, and maybe it will be," Jackson
told NFL Network analyst Mike Silver, "but it also may not be."

"There's a lot of talented players out there," Jackson said at the league's annual scouting
combine last month. "I think we're going to draft whoever we think is the best player at No. 2 for us. But at the same time, there are some tremendous players out there."

Best player available, right?

APRIL 14 — Titans-Rams strike deal for No. 1

Nashville, Tenn.

8:02 a.m. — In a blockbuster trade that more or less changed the dynamic of the draft, the Titans dealt away the No. 1 overall pick to Los Angeles, which moved 14 spots up apparently in pursuit of drafting a franchise quarterback.

Asked about whether the move changed Cleveland's draft thinking at No. 2,Jackson remained undaunted.

"Those are the things that are going to happen. So many things are probably going to happen before the draft," he said.

"We just stay true to our process and keep working and keep evaluating. Our focus is not really about what other teams do. It's about what we do and how we're going to continue to put this team together."

APRIL 20 — In pursuit of "draft capital," Browns trade away No. 2

Berea, Ohio

12:53 p.m. — Eight days before the draft, the Browns trade away the No. 2 overall pick to Philadelphia in exchange for the Eagles' No. 8 pick and a bevy of selections this year and coming years. Shortly after, Brown outlined Cleveland’s strategy.

"We kind of put all the information on the table and got through some healthy discussions
— not easy decisions obviously to move out of No. 2 with some talented quarterbacks potentially being at that spot for us to take — but we felt like this was the better bet and there was a consensus and agreement in that decision," Brown said.

Brown said it was about acquiring "draft capital" as the team continues to build its roster from the ground up. And the offer from the Eagles was more or less too good to pass up.

"We were tempted to stay on the clock," Brown said, "but we felt like the offer to move back just six spots for the picks that we were able to acquire was just a better bet."

He added: "With this trade, we've positioned ourselves to having a really strong nucleus of young talent come on to roster the next year or two or three."

APRIL 25 — Browns draft board set

Berea, Ohio

4:40 p.m. — On Cleveland Browns Daily, Brown seemed confident and at ease, saying  Cleveland’s draft board was set.
"We're set, locked in, know who we'll be taking. And if that player's not there, or

if we get another offer that just blows our socks off, we'll know how to react to that," Brown said.

Moreover, Cleveland's EVP said the team's leadership group had been addressing potential scenarios in preparation for Thursday night.

"(We're going to) stay calm and keep an open mind. And then make great decisions, go
into the draft knowing the players that you want, have conviction and don't worry about the 'what might've been' but just make the best possible decision for yourself," he said.

"Be prepared for every type of scenario that might come up. That's what we're going through now."


Chicago, Illinois

4 p.m. — On a cold and windy afternoon outside the Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University, the NFL Draft's edition of the red carpet begins as players trickle in. From Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott — who sported a crop top under his suit jacket — to Wentz, those players in attendance pose for pictures and stop for television interviews. Welcome to the celebrity life.

7 p.m. -- The NFL Draft is officially underway, and the Los Angeles Rams are officially on the clock. The Rams, who traded up to the No. 1 pick two weeks ago, select Goff 16 minutes later. The Eagles shortly after take Wentz.

8:02 p.m. -- The Browns trade down to No. 15 from No. 8 and acquire a third-round pick this year and second-round pick next year from the Titans. Cleveland also surrendered a sixth-round selection this year.

8:20 p.m. -- Three Buckeyes — Elliott (Cowboys), DE Joey Bosa (Chargers) and CB Eli Apple (Giants) are taken in the top 10 for the first time in school history.

9:57 p.m — At No. 15, the Browns are on the clock again. After two trades back, Cleveland once again weighs its options.

"After we traded down to No. 8 and then we traded down to No. 15, Sashi, Andrew and I said, 'Let's start picking players,'" Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta said.

Brown, flanked by Jackson, wide receivers coach Al Saunders and scouts Bobby Vega and Chisom Opara dial up Coleman from a speaker phone in the team's war room.

"Corey," Brown said.

"What's up?" Coleman asked with excitement.

"You tell me, you ready to go."

"I'm ready to go, coach."

Coleman, sitting in the Green Room in Chicago, had a feeling this was how it would play out once he saw the Browns make a second trade.

"I was like, 'yeah, they're gonna trade and try to get a receiver,'" he said. "But you really never know in the draft and when they got to No. 15 I said, 'mom I think Cleveland's going to draft me.' And I got the phone call."

9:59 p.m — Coleman walks out to center stage as Rich Homie Quan's "Walk Thru" blares over the loudspeakers. As he moves in to shake hands and hug commissioner Roger Goodell, Coleman lifts his arms in the air. He's all smiles.

"I'm just so excited," he said.

10:30 p.m. —As the night draws to a close, Coleman says the Browns and Jackson have a plan for him.

"I know there's going to be some ups and downs," he said. "But we've got a great fan base. I'm going to come in and work my butt off and every time I step on the field, I'm going to give it my all 100 percent."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content