As Fast Lane reported leading up to the draft Thursday, the Browns never were a serious player in the Marcus Mariota sweepstakes. While the Browns liked the QB, the price to move up to the second spot in the draft was too much of an obstacle for the reasonable Browns to succumb to.
"We inquired about moving to number-two, to gauge the market and gain a perspective as to what teams ahead of us were looking at. For us (Browns) we maintained our position that having the ability to secure to high quality players would benefit our team. Today, we are a better team and tomorrow is another day to hopefully improve the Cleveland Browns, that is our intent."
The Philadelphia Eagles made a concerted effort to land Mariota and attempted to use the Browns as the avenue to grease their path. The Eagles lobbed names at the Browns in an attempt to get the #12 pick away from Cleveland, but the Browns never entered into a serious discussion. Speculation regarding the Eagles attempt pointed to Philadelphia offering Zach Ertz, Fletcher Cox and Sam Bradford to the Browns for the #12 and #19 picks in the first round.
"We saw the reports about what we were supposedly doing with other teams. Let's just say those reports weren't accurate."
In the hours prior to the draft, the Browns had brief conversations with many teams, both selecting ahead and behind them in the draft. The Browns as well as other teams were surveying the landscape to establish dialogue in the event a trade opportunity could materialize during the draft. Discussions while teams were on the clock proved fruitless, as the asking price to move up, even a handful of spots was either a first or second round draft selection.
"The reason activity (trades) didn't occur was primarily due to teams wanting a kings ransom to move and most teams were locked in to the talent on their boards more than they led on. We decided moving up was cost prohibitive and we stayed to our plan and we're happy with the early results, we were in position to select two players that we felt would impact us today and into the future.'
While NT Danny Shelton was squarely in the Browns sights for a considerable amount of time, passing WR DeVante Parker came as a surprise to many. Parker was viewed as being one of the top-three receiver prospects in the draft and a player which could impact a team such as the Browns immediately.
"We spent an extraordinary amount of time evaluating the WRs and believe the potential, the quality and depth at the position awarded us some options as the draft progresses. We had a couple players rated similarly when we approached our pick at #12 and ultimately determined our run defense was the priority and based on our work, Danny Shelton was the guy for us. I believe DeVante is going to be an excellent player, but for us it was about getting the very best guy at a position of need and rated at the top of our board at the time."
Leading up to the Browns selection at #12, teams had inquired about trading up with the Browns.
"When the Giants and Rams were on the clock we received calls about our pick. We had already decided Shelton was going to be our pick, unless the unexpected occurred. We never had a serious discussion about moving the pick."
The Browns continued to talk with teams as their next selection, #19 approached. Speculation prior to the draft was the Browns would consider trading down from #19 and up from #43, if the opportunity presented itself.
"I believe we had an opportunity to move from #19, but the reward in getting Cameron Erving, the offensive lineman we really liked, the player we had wanted out-weighed the chance that we'd miss out on him. We're talking about a lineman that can play every spot across the line, is very intelligent, physical, has a tough, mean-streak you like. I believe he was coming off the board at any moment and we were sweating it out that he'd still be there when we got to our pick."
Fresh off a disappointing 2014 season, the Browns identified the offensive line as an area which they believed needed attention due to quality depth concerns.
Weeks before the draft, the Fast Lane talked about the Browns wanting to stop the run, rush the passer, run the ball and have the ability to go over the top. This is a philosophy the Browns had discussed early in the off-season and this philosophy was further enhanced during free agency and into the college player evaluation process.
"Our core beliefs haven't changed. We want to be strong, physical and impose ourselves. Today was another step in that process."-- LA