New Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey appears on the verge of making his first major hire, with Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reporting on Tuesday that plans are in the works to bring longtime Packers front-office executive Alonzo Highsmith to Berea.
Alonzo Highsmith, the #Packers long-time senior personnel executive, is expected to join GM John Dorsey's staff with the Cleveland Browns, a source said. Currently working out the final details. A major loss for Packers scouting department.— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) January 2, 2018
The NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo has confirmed the hiring “is being finalized,” also noting that Highsmith will be some sort of front-office vice president, with the ultimate job title still to be determined.
This is being finalized. Expected to be a VP title. I initially tweeted "VP of football ops" but I screwed that part up. Deleted that tweet. Apologies. https://t.co/jwHftREFcu— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 2, 2018
Highsmith, a former NFL running back and, after that briefly a boxer, has been with the Packers’ scouting department since 1999. That’s where Highsmith and Dorsey met; Dorsey was with the Packers’ scouting department from 1991 through 1998, spent 1999 as the Seattle Seahawks’ director of player personnel and then returned to Green Bay in 2000, where he was eventually promoted to the Packers’ Director of Football Operations in 2012. He left the following year to serve as the Kansas City Chiefs general manager.
The two clearly share a common philosophy when it comes to roster building and maintenance and that close relationship should help create a positive working environment, at least to begin the new regime. And, much like Dorsey, Highsmith is well-regarded around the league. Among the endorsements he’s received include this glowing review from the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain:
Getting Alonzo Highsmith to go with John Dorsey is the best thing for the Browns. Two terrific personnel men who were together with the Packers. I've known Highsmith since 1987, and he's an outstanding personnel man.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) January 2, 2018
It was necessary for Dorsey to build out the Cleveland’s personnel department in his own image. And, at least on paper, the acquisition of Highsmith appears to be a smart step one in that process. The pair will be leading the charge when it comes to the Browns’ approach in both free agency as well as in the 2018 NFL draft, where the Browns currently have 12 picks including the first- and fourth-overall in Round 1.