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Takeaways from Andrew Berry's pre-draft press conference

The Browns hold six picks in the 2024 NFL Draft

AB pre-draft press 4.18.24

Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry and the Browns are gearing up to add young new talent to their roster as the 2024 NFL Draft quickly approaches.

The Browns have a total of six picks heading into the draft, with their first pick to come at No. 54 in the second round on the second day of the draft. They also hold No. 85 in the third round, No. 156 from Philadelphia through Arizona in the fifth round, No. 206 from Baltimore in the sixth round and No. 227 and No. 243 in the seventh round.

"We're just a week outside of the NFL Draft, which is always an exciting time for the organization because we're seven days away from seeing which rookie players that we're going to be able to add to our team," Berry said on April 18. "It's been a great process working with the whole front office staff, our scouts, who make incredible sacrifices throughout the fall, being away from their families, constantly on the road, our coaching staff, who does a phenomenal job in the personnel processes, and then our research and strategy group, who does a great job of pulling together all of our information as we ultimately build the board and look forward to making final decisions."

Berry held a press conference to discuss the upcoming draft. So, let's dive into the main takeaways from Berry.

Outlook on the second-round pick

The last two years Berry has used the Browns' second-round pick in deals to either move around in the draft or acquire a player in a trade. In 2022, when the Browns were on the clock for the 44th pick, they made a trade with the Texans to move back in the draft. They ended up with picks 68, 108 and 124 in exchange for 44. Then, in 2023 they moved their 2023 second rounder exchange for WR Elijah Moore and a third-round pick (No. 74 overall) in a trade with the Jets on March 2023.

The Browns have another second-round pick in the 2024 draft, and the main question circles around if Berry will use the pick to select a player or trade the pick.

"I will probably have a better feel once we get to 10 picks out," Berry said. "It really just depends on how the board falls, if I'm being truthful. So, I'm not sure as we sit here today, but we'll see if we can break the trend of making it three years in a row without a second-round pick."

With just six picks in the draft – two of which come in the top 150 picks – Berry said there isn't as much flexibility to move across the board as other years when they have had a full slate of picks. However, he believes they can manage to use their picks and resources in a creative manner – either increase the volume or increase the quality. There are outside factors that will determine the success of that creative approach, in terms of what is available and which teams are in those conversations.

Acquiring another seventh-round pick

The Browns made a trade on April 12 with the Titans, acquiring a 2024 seventh-round pick in exchange for T Leroy Watson IV. They now have two picks in the seventh round of this year's draft at No. 227 and No. 243.

Berry said the thought process behind the initial trade was that it brought in another pick that they could use as a resource.

"We'll see if we make two selections there," Berry said. "How we deploy that resource remains to be seen. It could be we could select players with those two picks. It could be part of a move up. It could be part of a move down, it could be trade for a veteran player. You just never know. So, we'll be open and flexible in terms of how we use them."

Approach to late-round draft picks

The Browns have a draft board built, but there is still a need to be flexible as the first round plays out on Thursday – as well as the early picks on the second day – as they see who is still on the board. Berry said they get more of a narrow focus just 10 picks ahead of their own pick of the players who could realistically be available at their selection.

As they look at their late-round picks, the Browns view the additions of young players as an opportunity for long-term investment and roster development. Berry said the development of young players is an element that he enjoys, seeing how a player comes in and matures not only in their career, but also as an adult.

"That's probably the most rewarding parts of this job for me," Berry said. "And then probably the second part is when you've maybe identified a player that you think the industry at large will either undervalue or view differently than we do organizationally because of their relative strengths and relative weaknesses, and then having the ability to acquire that player because you think that individual strengths align with something that you value offensively or defensively, where they can carve out a role and play well."

When it comes to the development of prospects, Berry said the timeline to gauge a young player in the NFL can depend on their individual history and position. Some positions, like offensive or defensive line, can take longer to develop. Others, like running back, is a position that can play more quickly in the league and have success. Yet, there are other factors as well specific to the individual player they have to consider.

"I think what I would say is pretty consistent is that just like the transition from college to the NFL for rookies in general, regardless of where you're taking, it's hard," Berry said. "It's very rare that a young player comes right out of the chute and produces like a starter. Which is why we prefer to be in a roster state where if we bring a young player aboard, they can develop into a role and then ultimately develop into a starter, as opposed to being pressed into that from day one."

State of the Browns' roster

With the different moves made in free agency and the influx of young talent with the draft – this year and over the last three years without a first-round pick – Berry believes that the roster sits in a solid spot. Berry also thinks the Browns have a strong young nucleus on their team, as well as a pool of young veteran players.

"We've been pretty systematic in terms of how were going to deploy our picks, our dollars, how we were going to manufacture picks, to make it up with volume," Berry said. "So, we feel pretty good about where the roster sits today."

Yet, that doesn't mean there won't be changes to the roster throughout the remainder of the offseason. Berry views the acquisition cycle as one that begins in March and runs through the trade deadline. Even with the higher volume moments of transactions come in free agency and the draft, Berry does not believe that any roster is a finished product at the beginning of May.

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