BEREA,Ohio--In his annual pre draft press conference, Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown sounded as though the Browns would resist the temptation to trade down and use the first overall pick to select a player--presumably, Texas A & M's edge rusher, Myles Garrett.
"I think it becomes easy because you’re not dealing with so many guys, there’s known certainty and you have a long time," Brown said. "That can also make it hard in its own way. But, no, we feel good about where we’re going to be and who we’re going to pick there."
Brown said he hasn't closed the door on a trade down, but was asked if he's received calls for the top spot in the draft.
“We have received calls," Brown said. "We haven’t resigned ourselves one way or the other. We feel really good about picking at one and I’ll leave it at that.”
Brown said the Browns will likely wait until draft night to see what options might become available, rather than announcing their decision before.
"We’re really well-prepared, as A.B. (Andrew Berry) said," he said. "We’ve had a lot of good discussions. I think what happens now is you just understand what all the options are. We never take anything off the table, so for us it’s just getting to draft night and seeing what new information comes up or what new opportunities might present themselves.”
There have been reports that the Browns were undecided with the first pick, but Brown refuted that.
“We don’t comment on all the rumors," Brown said. "We’re in the No. 1 slot in the NFL draft. There are a ton of interest and popularity. We just know that’s what comes with the territory. Last year, we were sitting here and we were watching L.A. have to answer questions about (Jared) Goff or (Carson) Wentz and who were they taking and who wanted who in the building. It’s just part of the territory. So we don’t get flustered by it. We understand it comes with the territory.”
Brown was asked if the reports that say there is a division among the decision makers was accurate?
“Yeah, that would be false, but I’m not going to comment on every rumor that’s out there," he said. "It would take me a lot of time to do it because every day there’s another rumor.”
“We view every single decision whether it’s free agency, cutting the roster down, draft opportunities, as critical," he said. "This league is too competitive to waste opportunities. Every time we go into a draft, for us we view it as putting pressure on ourselves, regardless of what’s going on outside. We think this is an important draft for us. We can get some players that can transform our franchise and the way we’re positioned to some degree with the volume of players we feel can help us. We want to get those right.”
The Browns have five picks in the top 65 selections and they know that they have to hit on them.
"You want to have an impact," Brown said. "Again, the number of picks we have high in the draft, the way we positioned ourselves, it makes it that much more important.”
Brown was asked if the Browns have studied any NFL team over the years to see how that team was able to turn their team around through a single draft.
"We're not trying to take some approach where it's this draft or bust," Brown said. "I think for us, and I talked about this when I took over, I think my job is to make sure that our organization makes a series of good decisions. And I think that when you do that over time with a good plan and strategy and alignment amongst your staffs you're going to be good in this league. And I think we've seen that in our division.
"The teams that we play against have all been together a long time and have their systems very right," he said. "That's where we're heading toward. This is going to be a draft that moves us forward a lot because we effectively have a double draft the first couple rounds and we're also picking high. That said, we also understand that we're going to have to develop the players that come in. As we move forward, we will have a draft class next year that will also contribute heavily toward our success long-term. And we need to continue stacking successful drafts on top of each other for us to get where we need to go."
Assuming the Browns keep the top pick and select Garrett, Brown was asked if they might trade up to get a quarterback or another player.
"We're open to it," Brown said. "Generally we value picks. We think no matter how prepared you are, there's always a lot of uncertainty in the draft. Every team misses. We're not going to be different in that regard. We like young talent. We've said the draft is going to be the pipeline. So we don't want to get into a habit of turning two picks into one, so to speak.
"We just don't think that's a good way to do business over time," he said. "We've studied this around the league and it's just our inclination, but does not mean that if there was a player there we might not go take a shot. We think we're positioned to be able to do that without impacting our draft too much."