BEREA — Superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. coined the phrase "Dawg Check" last month on social media shortly after the Browns traded for him.
Then General Manager John Dorsey and his lieutenants checked the NFL Draft for "dogs" in an effort to elevate the defense's toughness.
"You're looking for dogs. You're looking for alphas on defense," director of college scouting Steve Malin said Saturday. "Obviously, you can see what we're trying to do is we're trying to build a championship team.
"All of us have come from winning organizations from Green Bay to New York to New Orleans and Seattle with John in Kansas City. We understand what it takes, and it takes a special person to get you over the hump."
For just the third time in franchise history, the Browns added defensive players with their first four picks. It also happened in 2013 and 1988.
Cornerback and linebacker were the team's greatest needs entering the draft, and Dorsey doubled down at both positions.
A day after the Browns traded up three spots to select Louisiana State cornerback Greedy Williams in the second round (No. 46 overall) and then picked Brigham Young linebacker Sione Takitaki in the third (No. 80), they took University of Miami safety Sheldrick Redwine in the fourth (No. 119) and Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson in the fifth (No. 155).
The selection of Oklahoma kicker Austin Seibert in the fifth round (No. 170) interrupted the defensive streak and put incumbent kicker Greg Joseph on notice. Another specialist joined the Browns after the draft with Arkansas-Pine Bluff punter Jamie Gillan, otherwise known as the "Scottish Hammer," agreeing to sign as an undrafted free agent, a league source confirmed.
Dorsey finally added to the offense when he chose Southeast Missouri State left tackle Drew Forbes in the sixth round (No. 189). The Browns didn't draft a quarterback, but they hosted Purdue's David Blough on a pre-draft visit and agreed to sign him as an undrafted free agent, he told the Lafayette Journal and Courier.
The Browns wrapped up their picks by choosing Tulane cornerback Donnie Lewis Jr. in the seventh (No. 221).
The final tally: five players on defense, one on special teams, one on offense and Dorsey's 18th trade in his 16 months as Browns general manager, his 19th involving picks in his seven drafts as a GM.
"Usually, historically, two-thirds of the draft is offensive personnel and a third is defensive personnel, but for some reason this year, it kind of flipped," Malin said. "There was more defensive personnel that was available, and you kind of see that with how things have unfolded."
The Browns consider Williams a steal who can form a promising coverage tandem with Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward, the fourth overall pick last year. Alonzo Highsmith, vice president of player personnel, said "I never thought we would get Greedy Williams" at No. 46.
Wilson is another player who took a slide down the draft board. He insisted he considers himself the best linebacker in this year's class and expected to be picked in the third round at the latest.
"There were 31 teams that slipped up on me," Wilson said during a conference call, "and somebody is going to have to feel all the pain that I had built up these past few days."
Coach Freddie Kitchens said he hopes the Browns benefit from Wilson's frustration.
"I like the fact that we've drafted some guys that think they have something to prove because if you ever step on the football field and don’t feel like you have something to prove, you're behind someone else," Kitchens said.
Takitaki wants to prove he can change the defense with his violent style.
"Takitaki is a tough son of a gun," Malin said. Assistant GM Eliot Wolf labeled the former BYU captain "a ball of energy" and "culture-changer."
"We want to add tough football players," Kitchens said. "We have some tough football players here. In general, it's a tough game played by tough people. That's what you want. You want guys that love the game of football, and I think we have helped ourselves in that area."
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his Browns coverage at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByNateUlrich and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.