This time last year, Hue Jackson and the Browns were in full force at the Senior Bowl as observers. Now, they're part of the show.
"Normally you sit in the stands and you see what you see," Jackson told NFL Network on Tuesday, "but to be able to be out here and instruct and be able to lead them through different situations that happens and different technique you're gonna use, I think that's more valuable than anything."
Indeed, Jackson and Cleveland's revamped coaching staff will work with the South team down in Mobile, Alabama this week.. As a result, they'll get an up close and personal look at a slew of potential draft picks. And they intend to make the most of that access.
Jackson said the Browns are specifically using that time to zero in on intangible dynamics like "what kind of character they have."
"Obviously the talent, the player, we kind of know through the tape being out here," he told reporters after Day 1 of practice.
"But I want to know what kind of people they are. Because we need some guys that are willing to go the extra mile to be the best they can be. That's what we're looking for. Obviously talent is important but character — guys that are relentless, guys that are tough, mental toughness, guys that show grit — are very important to our football team."
Cleveland holds the first and 12th overall picks in this year's NFL Draft and five of the top 65 selections. Jackson and the Browns have spoken of this offseason as a potentially pivotal one after a 1-15 season that watched a youth-laden team learn on the fly.
"We are going to bring in guys who are competitive as heck, that are physical and that can play in this division, and we are going to develop them as well as any team would in the league," executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said earlier this month.
"We will put a coaching staff around them who will put them in the right position. We have to execute on it. I think you are right. There are a lot of different paths up the mountain. We have ours. We like ours. We like folks who are on the road with us executing it, but it is on us to execute."
The Senior Bowl offers Jackson and Co. a chance to start that process.
"There's questions, there's very pointed questions that you have to ask and I think there's things that you know you need to see," he said.
"We know what it looks like and feels like and we have our ways of judging that and that's what we're trying to get accomplished."