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Ray Farmer Discusses How He Scouts Prospects

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Browns GM Ray Farmer sat down with Nathan Zegura to discuss the 2015 offseason, Scouting Combine, and NFL Draft.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A video of the interview can be found here.


Ray Farmer On what he's looking for at the combine and how important it is to the evaluation process:

"I think it's a critical part of the evaluation process. The large part of the combine is the medical: get a chance to finally get your doctors to interview kids, figure out what's wrong or what's not wrong -- who's healthy, who's not.

"Another big part of it is the interviews. Getting the chance to spend some time with the kid 1-on-1 and talk to him. Those are critical pieces that we look at -- and not to mention the on-the-field stuff where you get to see the kid's athleticism shine through."


On how important the interviews are and what he tries to get out of them:

"The interviews are different for everybody. There's guys that are wholesome and everybody knows that everything's great and there's guys that everything's not so clear, and so you got to figure out some of those missing pieces to the puzzle. We try to use those interviews to get as much of that knowledge as we can."


On what is his favorite interview question to ask:

"I jump around. There are canned questions that we ask guys -- I think the biggest one for me is: 'Tell me about your toughness', 'Tell me about -- Do you love football?' Some guys don't answer that question right. Seems like a layup but it's not. It's never a layup."


On if his board is set at this point:

"We have a board established. I'd say that set is a relative term. It kind of moves and ebbs and flows as you get more information. Guys tend to tick up or down, but you try to avoid the gaping gaps where you have guys that jettison up the board or go down the board based upon one singular piece of information."


On how his process has changed from his first year to his second year as GM:

"Uh, different. We've added in different layers. We've had a better chance to establish kind of where we are earlier in the process. That leaves more time to answer some of those finite questions that you're trying to dig to."


On what one thing he would want to change in his process from this year to last year:

"Stay focused on what you know to be the truth. There's a lot of opportunity and there's a lot of noise that kind of goes on throughout the process. You hear, you see, you watch -- and everything that could seemingly be another inkling of information that could help you, could derail you. And so I think staying focused on the pieces that really matter is really what it comes down to."


On how important it is to get players that fit John DeFilippo's offense vs. getting the best player:

"Um, I think it's very important. I go back to the point of: you want to make sure that the skill set matches how you're going to utilize the player. It would serve us no purpose if we took a -- again, we'll take the low-hanging fruit -- if we took a wide receiver that he runs a 4.1 40 and he can run over the top and beat anybody vertical but we never throw the ball vertical. So you gotta find skill sets to match how you want to play and then put guys in those situations."


On how confident he feels about making a big jump for this team in the 2015 offseason:

"I feel good. I think that it's always a part of the process. You gotta recognize that in every situation in every team, you're generally harder on your team than the rest of the league is. So, you may think you have more holes than your opponents realize that you have. So, how you address those is really what it comes down to.

"It's about ranking and ordering which needs and which positions you care to address and then taking those resources that are available and trying to do that. Now, the oddball part is that sometimes what you may see as a need, there may not be an answer to the question. So, you gotta balance those things off with what's available out there in the market versus what you're able to actually add to your team."


On what he'd like to say to the Dawg Pound about his approach to this offseason:

"Remember to stay focused on the plan -- it's that, moving forward, it's all about us trying to improve our football team. That's all it comes down to. There's no hidden agenda. There's no secrets. It's all about improving the football team. Name recognition: doesn't matter. Pedigree: doesn't matter. What matter is performance, and people recognize when you win, people don't recognize the rest of it."