Cleveland Browns Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta had a conference call with the media on Thursday and delivered a message that should make all Browns fans sleep better at night.
The Browns like having good players on the roster.
That is one of the biggest takeaways from DePodesta in response to a farcical rumor from earlier in the week that the Browns are discussing the parameters of a trade with the Minnesota Vikings that would send wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Vikings.
DePodesta was very clear in his thoughts about the rumor, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“In short, I will just say it was completely false. It is frustrating a little bit, obviously. I think it is pretty clear what we are trying to build at this point. We have done an awful lot in free agency. We are excited about what we have a chance to do in the draft, and we are really building around a core of players that we think have a chance to be a championship-caliber core.
“The idea that we would take away from that core at this moment just does not make a whole lot of sense and is really not something that we are exploring at all. It is completely false.”
While DePodesta did not name who those core players are, it is pretty easy to imagine the list including, on offense, quarterback Baker Mayfield; running back Nick Chubb; wide receiver Jarvis Landry; tight ends Austin Hooper and David Njoku, and lineman Joel Bitonio, J.C. Tretter and Jack Conklin; and on defense, defensive linemen Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi, and cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams.
Speaking of core players, DePodesta said the front office is confident that they will be adding to that aforementioned group come the first round of next week’s 2020 NFL Draft, according to the team’s website:
“We think there is going to be a very good player there for us at No. 10 – a very good player – and I don’t have one player on my mind right now. There are more than 10 players on our board that we think are going to be really, really good NFL players. I may feel differently come next Thursday night if only a couple of those players are off the board versus a whole lot of those players, but I think we really feel good about what we might be able to acquire right at No. 10.”
And just in case there is still anyone struggling to understand who will be running the draft room, DePodesta explained it one more time:
“I think everything that we have done to date in the way we operate is just try to be as collaborative as possible. I do not think this is about anybody having veto power over anyone else. We know that in this environment, Andrew Berry has to make the final call. Just like on Sundays in the fall, Kevin (Stefanski) has to make the final call. We often talk about that we all have a headset on but someone has to have the main headset where they make the call. That is going to change depending on the type of decision or even the time of the year, but I think it is pretty clear next week that AB has that control headset on.”
The Browns currently hold seven selections in the draft: one in the first round (No. 10 overall), one in the second round (No. 41), two in the third round (No. 74 and No. 97), one in the fourth round (No. 115), one in the sixth round (No. 187) and one in the seventh round (No. 244).
The draft will take place from April 23 through April 25.