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3 takeaways from Andrew Berry’s pre-draft press conference

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Browns GM not focusing on just one position as the team prepares for this week’s NFL Draft.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry is just days away from overseeing his first NFL Draft.

Berry has spent the offseason addressing some of the team’s problem areas - most notably with the addition of free agent right tackle Jack Conklin - as the Browns look to rebound from a 2019 season that started with over-the-top hype before quickly disintegrating into yet another disappointing campaign.

That work will continue this weekend during the 2020 NFL Draft, where the Browns hold the No. 10 overall selection, one of seven selections the team currently holds.

Berry talked about the upcoming draft during a conference call on Monday, and here are three takeaways from his comments.

Left tackle is not a lock at No. 10

While signing Conklin fixed the problem at right tackle, the Browns still have to address the left tackle position as well.

Almost every mock draft has expected the Browns to fix that problem by selecting a tackle in the first round, but with the team picking at No. 10, they can’t be certain of just who will be available, so Berry said he plans to be flexible, according to clevelandbrowns.com:

“I think there are a lot of good football players across the offensive and defensive sides of the ball for this draft. It is not heavy on one side versus the other. There is a lot of talent within this class. I will really echo the sentiments that I mentioned earlier, I really don’t anticipate us being pigeon-holed into any specific direction or any specific side of the ball. We are going to go into it more with the approach of maximizing the overall talent that we can add to the roster [as opposed to having to fill needs].”

The radar is up for opportunities

Even if the Berry is not locked in on a particular player in the first round, there are a handful of players - notably offensive tackles Andrew Thomas (Georgia) and Tristan Wirfs (Iowa), and linebacker Isaiah Simmons (Clemson) - who if they are there at No. 10 will make the selection an easy one.

But if things don’t break the right way, Berry will have his radar up for the opportunity to make a move, according to the team’s website:

“Quite honestly, you never really know until you get a little bit closer to the draft and then certainly on the clock, just because there are a number of different scenarios that can play out. I do think we will have options. You typically do every year in the draft, almost regardless of where you are picking. Anything that we think can help improve the team, we are going to be actively exploring it and will certainly listen but I can’t say anything specific.”

An eye on the future

The Browns in 2019 were built very similar to a fantasy football team with the individual pieces being talented but not always able to find success together.

Berry said he will be taking a slightly different approach as he looks to add talented players, naturally, but also keeping an eye on having that talent be around for more than a year or two, according to clevelandbrowns.com:

“Our outlook with the draft has really been to scout and evaluate as if you have an expansion roster. That is really the case every year. We do not really go into a fall or spring and just say, ‘Hey, look, we are just going to hone in on these specific positions.’ Again, the draft is more about maximizing the amount of talent and the long-term talent on your team as opposed to filling needs. Very few rookies come in and hit the ground running and play at a Pro Bowl-caliber level in their first year. I think that is the wrong focus.”

The NFL Draft will take place April 23 through April 25.