BEREA - Browns General Manager Phil Savage held his official pre-draft press conference on Tuesday in Berea and gave an overview of the upcoming NFL draft on April 28 and 29.
Savage hit on a number of topics, including what the Browns might do.
“There’s been a lot of talk about that No. 3 slot and there is most talk about the five players at the top of the draft. We’ve spent a lot of time at the No. 2 pick, the 36th spot and that certainly is a key spot in the draft. The combination of players you try to get on the first day is always important.
“We’re looking at what is the best available player for the Browns. That’s how we build our draft board. Who do we want for the Browns who can help us the most. Your perspective is more in tune when you’re at the top. There is a lot of intrigue in this year’s draft because all of the teams at the top are still unclear.”
Savage answered a number of questions, including:
What about taking a quarterback at the top?:
Savage: “I think those comments I made a couple of years ago still hold true. If we did take a quarterback, we think everyone would be on board with the decision.”
Is this year stronger in the top five than the past couple of years?:
Savage:“I think this is a stronger top five than in 2005.
Do you need to find a starting cornerback in this draft?:
Savage: “That’s a tough call. We might not be able to fill all of the holes that we have and we have to make it work, regardless of the position.”
What would you rate the chances of moving out of the third pick?:
Savage: “I would say the percentage of chances to move up are less than to move back, depending on what players are available to us at No. 3.”
Do you have any questions on the reports that JaMarcus Russell might not have a strong work ethic?:
Savage: “So much of the reports depend on the perspective. Personally, I don’t have any problems with his work ethic. I wouldn’t have any problems with him.”
Is Brady Quinn more ready that Russell to step in and play sooner than later?:
Savage: “That’s a question people have to ask themselves. Is Brady Quinn the beneficiary of being in a pro style offense. I think Brady has the potential to get better. I think one of the attractions of Brady is the fact he wants to be the best and why he wants to get better.”
What would you say to Browns fans that are against drafting a quarterback?:
Savage: “It just depends on the perspective. I think the true Browns fans are going to support the Browns regardless of what we do. “
If the team selects a quarterback, does that mean you can’t win right now?:
Savage: “I think you can look at a lot of different situations where young quarterbacks have gone in and won. The important thing is making progress. With all of these players you have to look at long term progress, as well as short term progress.”
What are your thoughts on Calvin Johnson, considering the Browns drafted Braylon Edwards at No. 3 just two years ago?:
Savage: “I don’t think you can go by that. Calvin Johnson is a rare, rare prospect. This is truly one of those players that there aren’t many walking around. Why on earth would the Browns take him? He affects your running game, as well. I would leave it at that because he’s a big time talent.”
Any thoughts on what Oakland might do?:
Savage: “I think it will be one of the quarterbacks, Calvin Johnson or trade out. With the little knowledge I have it sounds like they would listen to trades. We’re open to listening as well.”
Thoughts on Adrian Peterson:
Savage: “Adrian is a player who has somewhat of an upright style. He avoids contact with his feet. I think the thing with Adrian is he’s a home run hitter. He is definitely a guy who swings for the fences. He’s got a pretty unique style of his own and his greatest strength is the desire he has.”
Are you set with the rankings of the top five?:
Savage: “We have the consensus among the top five. We need to wait to see what happens and some of it depends on what happens ahead of us.”
What would it take to trade up?:
Savage:“In the top five, you don’t really go by the book. It depends on the market place and how much they want. The charts are a bit of a measuring stick outside the top five.”
How important is the second-round pick (36th overall)?:
Savage: We have put in a lot of time on that pick. We have a cut off point. If it’s among 15 or 20 players the pick will be made. The most important thing is we have it.”
Are you worried about taking a quarterback and the possible backlash?:
Savage:“Quarterback is a hot issue in this town, but I can’t worry about what someone else thinks.”
“I think the offensive line, percentage-wise, there is more patience with those players. The offensive linemen is evaluated on every play.”
Do you feel the Browns have improved this off-season?:
Savage:“We’ve tried to build an infrastructure here and I think we have definitely done that. I think the Browns are certainly closer to being a competitive team.
“We went into free agency and had several players targeted and were able to get some of them, with the key being Eric Steinbach.”
“We’ve added Seth McKinney, Lennie Friedman and Hank Fraley. I think the key part on the offensive line is the players can be versatile.
“On the defensive side, Robaire Smith can play all three spots. Antwan Peek can play outside and inside. Michael Adams can play and Kenny Wright can be a versatile player.
“Tim Carter will bring that speed element to the receiving corps. Jamal Lewis is doing really well and he’s hungry to prove he has a number of years to play. We feel a hungry Jamal is a good Jamal.
Shaun Smith was a key and being a restricted free agent we were able to get him and were encouraged with his potential. Ryan Krause is a player that has some history with Chud and Alan Rickard was with the Ravens and Bills and can bring some veteran leadership with Lawrence Vickers.”
Hamilton Asks Why: S Justin Hamilton, who graduated from Virginia Tech in 2006 reflected on the horrendous event at his alma mater on Monday that resulted in 33 students’ deaths.
“Nobody I’ve talked to knows why,” Hamilton said. “The last report I received was about 10 minutes ago and it was the kid was a loner and it might have been over an ex-girlfriend.
“It could have been so many things,” he said. “I don’t know how anybody could do something like that. When I saw the event it was like I was there on a normal day on campus and then you saw all the SWAT teams and everything. I couldn’t get that out of my mind.
“It really bothered me that I was spared and many of those other students weren’t.”