BEREA, OHIO— Five of the newest members of the Cleveland Browns organization sat at the front of the Dino Lucarelli Media Center in Berea on Saturday, shoulder-to-shoulder.
Almost in uniform, each wearing well-tailored suits and Browns pins upon their lapels, not a single player of the quintet stood out from, or above, the rest.
The image of Corey Coleman, Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib, Shon Coleman and Cody Kessler sitting at the podium looked a bit different than previous details of draftees on the dais.
The new look might have been designed to mirror the desired new direction of the Browns.
“You can tell that a change is coming,” Ogbah said. “I feel like we are ready to make that change for you guys.”
Change is what the Browns have been aiming for since the end of the miserable 2015 season and the team hopes that the 2016 draft class will lead that charge.
“I truly believe that this class will start to put a stamp on what we are truly about and what we are becoming,” Browns head coach Hue Jackson said. “We have a long way to go, but you have to start some place. I think this is where we are starting.”
While the class as a whole will headline any potential change for the Browns, each of Cleveland’s first five selections foreshadowed the new direction in which the team is heading.
It all started with Coleman, the Baylor pass-catcher who became the first receiver drafted by the Browns in the first round since 2005.
With said distinction, Coleman is looking forward to being a catalyst for change in Cleveland.
“It’s just an exciting time to be a part of this organization,” Coleman said. “I can speak for everyone – we will do our best to change this organization around.”
Following Coleman came back-to-back pass rushers for the Browns-- Ogbah of Oklahoma State in the second round and Nassib of Penn State in the third round.
Each knows that the Browns have been deficient in their collective ability to reach the quarterback.
They know as well that it’s going to be their responsibility to replicate their ridiculous pass-rushing numbers in college at the professional level.
“As you can see, he led the NCAA in sacks, and I was right behind him so we have a knack for getting to the quarterback,” Ogbah said. “We’re bringing that pass rush, getting back there and getting after him.”
Then, of course, came the other Coleman -- Shon -- who will be tasked with replacing Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle.
Though Cleveland’s offensive line has often been the strength of the team over the years, toughness hasn’t always been the strong suit for the Browns.
Coleman, who battled leukemia upon his arrival to Auburn, will help to bring the tenacity that's been missing back to the table in Cleveland.
“It has taught me to be patient and whatever opportunity gets thrown my way, take it and run with it,” Coleman said. “I have a long way to go as far as learning technique, getting better with these guys, working with them. I have awhile to go, but I am willing to work for it.”
Finally, the Browns know all too well the problems associated with poor play at the quarterback position.
Each quarterback that’s arrived in Cleveland since 1999-- be it through the draft of any other avenue-- has fizzled and faded, leaving Cody Kessler with quite the tall task to turn things around.
While he has the intense backing of Jackson, who wants fans to trust his judgement, Kessler has been called out for his many shortcomings as a quarterback, both in Cleveland and around the country.
Many may not believe he's the guy to flip the fortunes of quarterbacks in Cleveland, but Kessler relishes the opportunity to prove them wrong.
“I like the pressure,” Kessler said. “I heard different things. I wanted to go out on pro day and prove that I can make all the throws and that I was going to work hard and be a guy that’s going to get production.”
As Cleveland’s quintet sat at the podium on Saturday, it was clear that the five will form the foundation of the future for the Browns.
That foundation is unlike any prior to it, or so hopes Jackson.
“I know you guys keep saying ‘rebuilding,’” Jackson said. “I won’t call it that because I really don’t believe in that.”
To rebuild means that something was built prior.
Since 1999, the Browns haven’t built much of anything, which is why Cleveland is hoping that the starting five of the team's 2016 Draft class will be the beginning of something completely new.
“It is going to be a change,” Jackson said, “and we are looking forward to it."
For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.