Berea Report: Savage Ready for #4

Phil Savages heads into his fourth draft as GM of the Browns in a strange position - he has relatively few picks, and he's overseeing a genuine playoff contender. Fred Greetham was in Berea today as Savage talked to the media and here is his report...

BEREA - Phil Savage is hoping his fourth draft with the Browns produces some magic with the fourth pick.

As a result of the trades that brought Brady Quinn, Corey Williams and Shaun Rogers to the Browns, the Browns first scheduled selection is at 122 in the fourth-round.

 "Our first choice is 122 (fourth round) and that is where our focus is," Savage said. "I think this draft is a little different than in year's past because starting on the second day, you're not looking for the whole player. There are a number of players who might be able to us this year that might be able to help us because what they bring to us would meet a need."

Savage downplayed the Browns moving into the first day of the draft, which consists of the first two rounds this year.

"I can't even create in my mind something happening (on the first day)," he said. "We've pretty much shut the door on that since the first day is just the first two rounds."

Savage said his staff has taken the same approach as in previous years, with one exception.

"Everything is exactly the same, we've just lowered our radar," Savage said. "We've whittled our list from around 900 down to 175 names or so.

 "We've had to cast a wider net than in the past," he said. "Our approach has been the same, but we've moved our radar down instead of focusing on the first or second round guys. It's a challenge, but once we made those trades, the staff has been on board to help us find a few players on that second day."

Savage said he doesn't expect the Browns to do much moving, in terms of trades leading up to the draft.

"I would love for us to get another pick," Savage said. "It might be a move up from 122, but I don't think there's going to be anything dramatic. We're content right now where we're at and we think we'll sit back and wait and see."

Savage thinks the Browns can get some help on Day Two, as they have in the past.

"We've put a lot of time put into Day Two this year and we're hoping to find two players who could really help us," Savage said. "We got Leon Williams, Jerome Harrison, Lawrence Vickers and Brandon McDonald to name a few. We're a little bit at the mercy of what happens above us, but we think we can get a couple of players that can help us."

Savage said the staff has analyzed where the players they have drafted in rounds four through seven have fallen on the team's draft board the past three years and are placing their focus there.

"We've tried to put our attention from 40 to 120 on our board, so those 80 players are who we are putting our attention on."

With all the hype of the NFL Draft, Savage said it would be strange watching the first day like everyone else.

"This might be the most celebrated fourth-round pick in the history of the Browns," Savage said.  "He might get a parade and all kinds of attention because of that."

Savage said he and his staff will do everything they can to try and improve the Browns' roster, including looking for those undrafted free agent gems like Joshua Cribbs and Leigh Bodden.

"It's a never ending process in acquiring players for the Browns," Savage said. "I've tried to emphasize to our staff that we need to do more than just pick four players in next week's draft. We have to look down the road.

"As you look at coming out of the 2005 class, we were fortunate to draft Braylon Edwards, but we also signed Joshua Cribbs as a free agent and claimed Derek Anderson on waivers," Savage said. "Conceivably, these guys could be the best, at least statistically, so far at their positions from the class of '05."


Time is Now: Savage said he feels it is time for the Browns to make a serious run at the playoffs and beyond and that was part of the reasoning for the trades that left them without  their top three picks in this year's draft.

"If we're going to do something, we feel the next three years is going to be our best time," Savage said. "We look at 2008, ‘09 and 2010 as years on our way up."

Holly Expected Back: CB Daven Holly has been mentioned as a key part of the Browns, yet he has not re-signed with the Browns. They offered him a high tender as a restricted free agent, meaning the Browns could match any offer or receive a high-round draft choice if they didn't match the offer.

Savage was confident that Holly would stay with the team.

 "We expect him to sign the tender," Savage said.

Savage Excited about Schedule: Savage mentioned the schedule as being a mark of the Browns' improvement.

"Whoever, the AFC North winner is going to earn it," Savage said. "I think it's great for our fans because it gives them a lot to look forward to. I think it will generate a buzz in the city that hasn't been here in a while.

"We went from no Pro Bowlers to six and no primetime games to five, so I think we're making progress."

Savage Said No Quarterback: Savage did say that the Browns will not draft a quarterback next weekend.

"We won't be picking a quarterback next week and you can write that down, "Savage said.  "(After the schedule was released) the first thought I had was thank goodness we have two quarterbacks."

Besides not going for a quarterback, Savage essentially ruled out using a pick for an offensive lineman, or wide receiver. He also said he doubted if the Browns would pick a running back, unless one of the better ones fell to them on Day Two.   

He did say the Browns would primarily be focused on defense.

"The front seven is always an area we feel we have to improve upon," Savage said. "Linebackers who can rush and cover would be an area. We could use some help at cornerback and I wouldn't rule out a safety."

What about running back?

"I think we're fairly content, but running back is deep and I wouldn't rule that out."

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