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Browns coach Pat Shurmur spoke to reporters this evening at the NFL Scouting Combine. Here are some the highlights from the interview session:
Is the organization hesitant to spend picks to trade up?: "No, I think you evaluate everything. I wouldn’t say we’re hesitant to do anything. We’re excited about the fact that we’re going to make our team better with this draft. That’s the way we approach it. We’re not hesitant at all."
Are the Browns open to the possibility of trading with the St. Louis Rams and moving up to the No. 2 slot in the draft?: "We’re open to anything. I think that’s the important thing. We’re excited about the fact we can do nothing and pick nine really good players. That’s the starting point. Let’s set it up and fall in love w nine players and pick them, or we have the flexibility to do whatever we want."
The Browns have Nos. 4 and 22 picks. Would you prefer keeping picks or are you willing to move around?: "Yeah, we’re willing. With two first-round picks, we have flexibility. We can just stand pat and take two really fine players, guys that we would hope to be starters for us. Having two first-round picks, you have flexibility if you want to do something."
When will the Browns interview Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III?: "The interviews are very important. It’s a little bit of a structured setting. You get 15 minutes with the young man. You’ve got 60 guys we’re going to do that with. You try to get a feel for them in 15 minutes, then there will be other points of contact where we’ll go out to Baylor. With him as well as bunch of other players, we’ll bring them to our facility in Berea. You try to get as much information as you can. At this point in the game right now, our scouts and evaluators have put together volumes of information on these players. This is the process now when the coaches get involved. We’ve watched the tape on most of these guys, and we’re here with the opportunity to see them in person." Note: Shurmur later said he believes the Browns are scheduled to meet with RG3 Friday night.
What will you look for in interview with RG3 that can indicate whether he's able to learn your system and do well in it?: "We have a set of questions we ask to try to see how he’ll respond to adversity, just get to know him a little bit. You can try to do too much in a 15-minute window and not get anything done. We’ll talk to him at length at another time."
Has Shurmur watched a lot of tape feature Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, the presumed No. 1 overall pick?: "I have. He’s a fine player. He’s very easy to project because he plays in a very pro-style offense, where it’s two back and two tight ends at times. When you look at pro offenses these days, they’re very multiple. Every team will use motion empty, empty, two tight ends, one tight end, no tight ends. If you watch you, can see him do that, which makes him easy to project."
Can Alabama running back Trent Richardson warrant the No. 4 pick?: "He’s a very fine player. When we decide what we’re going to do, yeah, there’s nothing that says he can’t be the fourth pick."
Could Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon be worthy of a top-five pick?: "Along with Trent Richardson, he’s a guy who could get picked as high as anybody likes to. He’s a fine player as well."
The Browns traded down last year instead of picking wide receiver Julio Jones sixth overall. Would that preclude you from picking a wide receiver early in the first round this year?: "No, I think anything’s an option at this point."
What are your impressions of Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill?: "He’s a unique player as well. Pretty well-documented he was a receiver first and then played quarterback at the ending part of his career. Very athletic guy. He’s a fine quarterback as well."
What will be the role of Nolan Cromwell?: "He’ll be our senior offensive assistant. His expertise is working with receivers, so he’ll work with (wide receivers coach) Mike Wilson. I just think he’s a fine person, fine teacher and I think he’s going to add a lot to our staff."
Starting right tackle Tony Pashos is often the subject of criticism. Does the team need to get better at right tackle?: "We need to get better a lot of positions. Tony battled through the year pretty well for us. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He pushed through some injuries that were not always obvious. I was not down on how he performed."
Is Pashos in the plan for next season?: "We’ll have to decide how that goes at this point."
How important is it to make a decision about college quarterbacks before free agency begins at 4 p.m. March 13?: "Yeah, you want to try to do as much information on both the free-agent players and the quarterbacks in the draft. That can help drive some of the free-agent decisions for sure."
What would signing a veteran wide receiver add to the Browns' position group?: "Anybody that’s proven who can do it in this league, that helps. Obviously veterans are able to add a little bit in terms of leadership and how to prepare. You look for a veteran player at each of the position groups, though there are some young players who are very mature that handle that."
Do you need to add speed at wide receiver?: "I think it’s important that the receivers can run, for sure. I think what you want to see are guys who can separate and catch the ball first and foremost. Obviously guys that can run extremely fast, that’s the element that makes them very special."