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Browns brass talks draft

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Joe Banner        
(On if he can give an update on what has happened recently with Jimmy Haslam) -
"I think that Jimmy made a statement the other day. There is not much I can add to it. He is here today. He will be here tomorrow, which was the plan all along. Browns operations are the same as they have always been, will be the same. As he expressed, he is very confident that this will take some time but it will all work out and that they've done nothing wrong. Really, beyond reiterating what he said, there is nothing we can add."

Michael Lombardi          
(On if he expects more trades at the top of the draft due to the changes in the salary cap) -
"I think you prepare for everything and that's what the draft is. Just being prepared, so I really couldn't say one way or the other. I think it's about being prepared and thorough and making sure you have everything covered."

Michael Lombardi          
(On if they will look to trade down and get a second round pick) -
"I think a lot of that, Jeff (Schudel), is situational. It really comes down to the situation at the time, so it's really hard to go into it before then."

Michael Lombardi

(On what it has been like to be back and work with the scouts) - "It has been good, it has been fun. It has been busy, but it has been really good. It has been refreshing and obviously having access to more information than you would on the other side with the media is helpful as well. It has been really good. It has been exciting."

Michael Lombardi

(On if all the quarterback prospects have questions this year where some last year didn't) - "I think in every draft there are questions for every player. Even last year, everyone looks back on it now, but I think everybody had questions. You just try to process it and make sure you make the right determination based on your grading system."

Michael Lombardi

(On how the players in the draft rank in terms of quality) - "I think every draft is unique and different. I think as you evaluate it, if you can get the right seven players for your team the depth of the draft never really matters. It matters about getting the right seven."

Joe Banner

(On what kind of PR hit the team takes when the owner has issues with the IRS) - "You can determine that for yourself."

Joe Banner

(On if a quarterback still isn't the focus at number six and if they are doing due diligence) - "I think as Mike said, you have to prepare yourself for any possibility. You certainly don't want to under-evaluate probably what everyone would agree is the most important position on field. We are just trying to be very thorough about everything. There are quarterbacks in this draft that are intriguing. We will have to make an evaluation between now and next Thursday on just how intriguing. Other teams will be doing the same thing so you will see what is available where. We are not going into it with a focus other than trying to build the team, especially at key positions that we think really, really good teams are strong at and move forward that way."

Michael Lombardi

(On if they are comfortable at the linebacker position) - "I think you have to build the team based on the criteria you set forward. The depth chart really doesn't play into that. I think every draft is different. You just have to evaluate the draft and the positions of the draft as best you can, put it up there and move forward. In terms of how your team relates, I don't think it's really relevant."

Michael Lombardi

(On if he is comfortable with linebacker Craig Robertson) - "I think there is a lot of ongoing evaluation left to do for a lot of things. It's really hard to answer that at this point."

Michael Lombardi

(On where Brandon Weeden stands in relation to what Joe Banner recently said) - "I thought Joe handled it well."

Michael Lombardi

(On what he thinks of Weeden after seeing him this minicamp) - "I've been really busy, I've watched the tape. I am really studying on the draft at this point and watching the tape of the practice."

Michael Lombardi

(On accessing this year's class of cornerbacks) - "I think in college football there is a lot more passing so there is a lot more guys that cover so it has a lot of depth to it. It's making sure you define that depth and define a role. It will be an interesting corner class."

Michael Lombardi

(On the team's strategy for the cornerback position heading into free agency) - "The strategy was to try to make sure we got good players at positions at an economic value at those positions. I think we did that."

Michael Lombardi

(On how his role is different now than in the past) - "I did TV, but I did this before. It's a little different than TV. I don't have to sit in that box and answer questions at NFL Network so that's a little different."

Michael Lombardi

(On if it will be any different now having Joe Banner in the draft room with him) - "Joe and I have been together in a room before, so its football. It's good."

Joe Banner

(On how many players they have first round grades on) - "We've probably got 18 people, 20 people I'd say, which is about the norm. You never have the same number of players evaluated in each round as there are picks in the round. What I thought you were going to ask there is we are probably not of the conventional wisdom that this is a flat draft. We think there are some very good players at the top of the draft. They don't happen to be the most visible, high profile positions, but there are some very good players at the top of the draft. We think that will serve us well."

Michael Lombardi

(On if the boards are set and they have a good indication of what they want to do) - "I think a lot of things have to be determined in terms of what happens, but I think we have a lot of information on players. We will try to process it though at later stages of the draft, certainly you keep working on that."

Joe Banner

(On who will be in the draft room) - "In the room is the same collaborative group mentioned before. It's myself, Mike, Ray Farmer, Rob (Chudzinski) and Jimmy (Haslam). There will be other people who will have jobs in terms of phone lines, cap, making sure we are updated on all trades, who has what picks, but those will be the five primary people."

Joe Banner

(On if he has had preliminary trade talks with any team) - "It's normal this time to be talking to teams. Some are teams you exchange some opinions on and some are teams you get a feel for, ‘Are you open to moving up or down?' As you get closer to the draft sometimes those conversations become more specific. We haven't had any specific conversations about trades or what would be involved in a trade. We have had conversations with teams either initiated by them or us, kind of feeling out are you interested in going up or back. Are you open to it depending on who is there? We have had those kinds of feel each other out conversations."

Joe Banner

(On if any trade would happen with the team on the clock) - "I think that's highly likely, but not absolute. If there was going to be a trade."

Joe Banner

(On having 18-20 players with a first round grade on the board) - "Everybody probably has somewhere around that number, maybe someone has 24 and someone has 14 and they are all not the same names. If you have 18-20 names on your first round board that means that you have players that would still be there all the way to the 32nd pick that you have graded as first round players. We may have some guys at the top of the second round that someone has as their 20th or 24th guy. If you've got that many players you'd almost certainly get one of them all the way through the end of the first round."

Joe Banner

(On if the absence of a second round pick influence his desire to move down) - "It doesn't change our desire to move down. We have to make the right decision based on the value. If we think trading back or trading up produces a better value for something we think is important, if we have rated high enough we'll have to do it. I think it would be risky if you made the priority kind of filling in a hole that existed, you are liable to not get the fair market value you were looking to get in a trade. I think if we got offered something we thought would make us a better team than staying where we are and picking or moving up we'd make the trade. If we didn't think it provided that benefit we wouldn't."

Michael Lombardi

(On if it's correct to say he has final say) - "I think we've been pretty clear about the collaborative effort. In most instances and situations, that's the best way to handle it because it takes more than one person to make a decision."

Michael Lombardi

(On who breaks a tie) - "I think because there is so much time, there is time to build a consensus and I think that's ultimately what you try to do when you are making these decisions."

Joe Banner

(On who breaks a tie) - "The real functional answer to your question is if we had a player, let's say two of us liked him and two of us didn't, there is going to be a player that three or four of us like. As opposed to someone breaking a tie, we'll more than likely move to the player that a majority or all of us like. As opposed to picking someone we are so ambivalent about, which is why we keep pushing this collaborative thing. We are not trying to be evasive, that will really be the way we'll function. If there is really a strong difference of opinion and we can't come to a consensus we think our chances of making sure we are getting a good player are higher if three or four people are in agreement, we'd probably just move to a different player as opposed to breaking the tie."

Joe Banner

(On if he means three of the five executives in the draft room) - "Yes, Jimmy isn't sitting there watching film and studying this in a way that he is going to vote on a player. I'm talking about the four people, myself, Mike, Ray and Rob."

Joe Banner

(On if it's two to two in the voting on a player) - "There is not one player on the board at that point; there are probably four or five players that we have around that pick. They'll be some that either all of us like or almost all of us like as opposed to one that we have such a difference of opinion. It's usually a better move to switch to the player that has a consensus of support. You'd be right more often if you do that. You won't be right all the time, but you'll be right more often if you are doing it that way."

Joe Banner

(On how many teams talk on average every year about trades leading up to the draft) - "At some point before the draft you'll talk to almost every team. There are a few teams that just never trade. Probably, touch base if you get a chance but it's not a priority. Any team that has a history of trading anywhere in the draft. Some of these conversations, by the way, aren't focused on the first round. They may be saying 'Listen, we don't have a third round pick and we are trying to get an extra. Would you consider moving your pick? Or we'd like to move up in the fourth round.' Some of them are very long shot conversations that never translate into anything, but you are at least exchanging notes. Some of them, obviously, are first round related. We'd probably talk to almost every team, I'd say 28 out of 32 probably."

Joe Banner

(On if he already has a partner established if he wanted to trade out of the sixth overall spot) - "I think there are teams interested in moving up, but there are also teams interested in moving down. How that fits together, I know it's only a week away, but it's too early to have any idea of that. I think there are teams in both directions interested in possibly moving depending on what players are there."

Joe Banner

(On if anyone else in the Browns organization other than Jimmy Haslam has been contacted by the FBI or the IRS) - "I think everything I can and want to say about this we've already said."

Joe Banner

(On if he would be disappointed if he wouldn't be able to move down) - "No. I'd only be disappointed if we made a pick that we all didn't feel great about. I don't see that as a possibility the way our board sets up."

Michael Lombardi

(On rating the pass rushers/OLB in this draft) - "I think like in most drafts, there are always guys who can rush the passer. I think this draft has several guys who can do that. It's more than just rushing the passer, it's trying to find guys who can do a little bit of everything."

Michael Lombardi

(On if it's still a priority even after signing Paul Kruger in free agency) - "I think rushing the passer is always a priority in any NFL game. I certainly think it's all about the fit too."

Joe Banner

(On if he feels he is closer to where he wants to be in regards to the pieces of the team that needed to be added) - "Not sure I can answer that. I think we probably have a few more established players on defense and a few more on offense that are still projections, although we are very hopeful about them. Depending on how they develop it could be either really."

Michael Lombardi

(On the overall 2013 quarterback class and if any are worthy of the sixth overall pick) - "I think, like every year, there are quarterbacks that do positive things and there are guys who don't. I think this draft offers, certainly those guys. In terms of the value of the pick, that remains to be seen. I think you put a grade on each player and that focus is where that grade does to."

Michael Lombardi

(On the team's workout with Geno Smith) - "Any workout with a player we are not going to discuss. It was fine."

Michael Lombardi

(On if he would play it safe or take any risks by drafting a specific player with the team's first round pick of his first draft as Browns GM) - "I think in the draft it's about taking good players. Even the ones that people say can't miss end up missing so I think it's about taking a good player and making sure we do that. I think that's the most critical thing. Making sure we do all the homework we have to do, which we will."

Michael Lombardi

(On evaluating players who have little football experience) - "I think everything you do is trying to collect the right information, the right data on every player. If the situation only lends itself to so many games then that's what you have. You keep digging and trying and keep processing I think you can reach a conclusion based on what you have."

Michael Lombardi

(On if Ezekiel (Ziggy) Ansah can play in a 4-3 or a 3-4) - "I think Ziggy's a good player. I'm sure he can do both."

Michael Lombardi

(On how the torn labrum's of both Dee Milliner and Dion Jordan impact their grades) - "I think the medical grades we got from the medical people are certainly about today and also about the future. I think you have to weigh those two things together as you make a decision. The pick is not just for today, it's also for the future."

Michael Lombardi

(On if he would draft a guy that had just had torn labrum surgery) - "I think it depends on your medical grade."

Joe Banner

(On if he would draft a guy that had just had torn labrum surgery) - "As long as the doctors tell us it's going to be fine it won't be a factor."

Michael Lombardi

(On how quickly the team wanted to turn the page after finishing 5-11 in 2012) - "I think the team is about working hard and trying to add more players. I think that's the most important thing. In terms of looking at it on a broader scale than that for me is really not my job. Right now, it's about focusing on trying to find good players."

Joe Banner

(On if the team feels pressure from the fans to win now) - "There is a lot of pressure, mostly self-imposed frankly, for us to be successful. What we are trying really hard to do is to resist the temptation of doing something quickly and not being able to sustain it. That versus trying to have some degree of patience. I think you've seen us both be patient but also active and build it the right way. So we have a chance to not sneak into the playoffs once and then go backwards, but build a team that should be sustainable and has the right strengths to compete against the best teams in the league."

Joe Banner

(On how much attention he pays to the wonderlic test) - "I'd say minimal to the specific test, but we pay a lot of attention to character, football intelligence, competitiveness, is something we are putting as high an emphasis on as any team in the league."

Joe Banner

(On his thoughts about the wonderlic specifically) - "I've been through some situations in my past where we felt like we had enough information to pick a player with a very low wonderlic, believing he was smart enough to do everything we needed him to do and it worked out. Not going to say you ignore it, but you don't overweight it."

Joe Banner

(On how excited is Jimmy Haslam about working on his first draft) - "I think he is excited in general. This is the first year that he has owned the team and will be able to put his imprint on it and have the people he selected doing these kinds of things. As he has said here a couple times, he's an impatient person, so he is going through the same struggle all of us are. Not to make short term decisions and wish a couple years from now instead of being ok we were actually really good. He's very excited, as I said, he's here a couple days this week and all of next week. We're glad to have him. He asks good questions, presses us in a very constructive way and he's a good asset as an owner."

Michael Lombardi

(On if the evaluation process has changed much in the past 20 years) - "Yes, I think football has changed. The emphasis has changed in terms of how people play. That modifies the players and the college game has changed. Twenty years ago, no one was in shotgun running all this offense. Everyone was running the ball. It affects college and pro scouting. It affects everything. It has changed, but you have to keep up on it and that's part of staying contemporary with the league."

Michael Lombardi

(On if he has spoken with Brandon Weeden and Josh Gordon about being critical of them when he was an analyst with NFL Network) - "I've talked and seen all the players and I think that was what I did at NFL Network. Moving forward, I'm part of the Browns organization and I'm excited to work with those guys."

Michael Lombardi

(On what he values more, cornerback or pass rusher) - "Can I say both? Then the answer is both."

Michael Lombardi

(On what he thinks of the edge rushers in the draft) - "I think it's a really deep draft in edge rushers."

Michael Lombardi

(On if there is a big drop off of talent in the level of cornerbacks) - "I think there are always certainly levels, it's just making sure you get the right guy for your team. You might take the third corner and he could end up being the best. You have to make sure you get it right."

Michael Lombardi

(On if it has been hard integrating with a new personnel staff) - "It has been fun. Everyone has worked really hard. We've all pitched in and done our jobs and put in the effort to make sure we have the right information to make the right decisions. It has been fun."

Joe Banner

(On if it's a goal to find a quarterback who can run the read option) - "Rob (Chudzinski) has demonstrated, probably better than anyone, when you can win with Derek Anderson and Cam Newton and couldn't create two more different schemes that he truly is able to adapt to the players and the talents they have. As opposed to the other way around. I know everyone says it, but if you actually watch it, most people don't do that. They run their system and then eventually get the players to fit it. I think, specifically as it relates to the quarterback position, he has demonstrated the ability to create things that can work and fit the quarterback we have. I think that's his plan."

Michael Lombardi

(On if there will be any more private workouts) - "It all depends, I doubt it."

Joe Banner

(On if his role now is different than when he was with Philadelphia) - "Yes, but no one knows what I was doing with the Eagles (jokingly). If I said yes what does it mean?"

Joe Banner

(On how involved he is with the evaluations) - "I'm intimately involved in it, as I was in Philadelphia."

Joe Banner

(On if Weeden is the starter why workout quarterbacks who are in this draft) - "I think you have to work out every player in the draft. You better know them because they are all available. I think it's important. When I worked with the Oakland Raiders, if the defensive coordinator didn't know every quarterback in the draft there might be someone who was really upset with him. I think it's important to know every player."

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