Andrew Berry important for Dorsey holdovers in Cleveland Browns front office

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 8: Ron Wolf and his son Eliot pose with Wolf's bust during the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on August 8, 2015 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CANTON, OH - AUGUST 8: Ron Wolf and his son Eliot pose with Wolf's bust during the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on August 8, 2015 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns made the long-expected hire of Andrew Berry, and his presence will be important for the John Dorsey holdovers in the front office.

It did not take long for Andrew Berry to find his way back into the Cleveland Browns facility in Berea, Ohio, as he was hired as the team’s general manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations after leaving the organization almost a year ago.

Berry was hired by the Browns in 2016 as the team’s Vice President of Player Personnel. In February 2019, the 32-year-old joined the Eagles and spent the 2019 season as their Vice President of Football Operations.

In Cleveland, Berry will have final say on roster decisions and the 53-man roster. However, he will also be playing the mediator between Paul DePodesta’s analytics department and the scouting department, or as some would call it the “football side” of the front office. Berry will receive input from both sides of the front office and will make decisions based on the information given to him.

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This will help accomplish the “alignment” Browns ownership has been preaching about since they parted ways with John Dorsey at the beginning of January. It is believed that Dorsey did not make much use of the analytics department, which was a large reason why he was let go.

Berry joined the Browns during Sashi Brown’s regime, which relied heavily on analytics. Although Berry started his front office career working as a scout, he is a prominent user of analytics during his evaluations. Berry’s roots as a scout but his usage of analytics makes him a perfect fit for the Browns front office as they look to unify the traditional approach to player acquisition with the more modern version of using data to help make decisions.

Although it is important Berry will be a unifying force in the front office, his hiring is important because of his experience with the holdovers from Dorsey’s regime. Even when teams make changes at general manager, most of the personnel department remains with the organization until after the draft in April. So most of Dorsey’s personnel staff is likely still with the organization, along with DePodesta’s analytics staff.

Two of the most important holdovers from Dorsey’s regime is assistant general manager Eliot Wolf and Vice President of Player Personnel Alonzo Highsmith. Berry worked alongside Highsmith in 2018 as they both served in the same role with the same job titles.

Instead of working alongside Wolf and Highsmith, Berry will now be in charge of the two executives. However, his experience of working with the Wolf and Highsmith during the 2018 should create for an easy adjustment.

Wolf and Highsmith have extensive experience of working as boots on the ground scouts and were key cogs in the Green Bay Packer machine that utilized the draft to build their roster. They were also the two members of the front office who had the ear of Dorsey when decisions were being made.

After Dorsey was let go by the Browns, the expectation was that Wolf and Highsmith would not be far behind him. However, Jimmy Haslam announced in a press conference that the Browns wanted to keep Wolf in the front office as the assistant general manager. Wolf has long been considered a general manager candidate and is viewed as a top personnel executive in the NFL.

On the other hand, it appeared Highsmith was going to be on the way out of Cleveland, even before it was official Dorsey was no longer the general manager. Highsmith had been talking with the University of Miami about a position in their football department, but a deal fell apart and Highsmith remained with the Browns.

Wolf and Highsmith were the leaders of the Browns personnel staff in Mobile, Alabama during the Senior Bowl, proving that the organization respects their eye for scouting. With Berry now in charge of the Browns front office, both Wolf’s and Highsmith’s opinions will still carry weight when decisions are being made.

The Browns will be using analytics more frequently under Berry than they were with Dorsey. However, that does not mean the organization is not going to listen to Wolf, Highsmith, and other holdovers from Dorsey’s regime. Berry’s experience with the Dorsey’s personnel department should help him adjust to his new position since he already knows the backgrounds of the scouts.

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It is clear the Browns want to find a happy medium in the front office, and Berry will provide that. Although there were issues during Dorsey’s tenure, he also built a strong front office to the Browns after he was hired. Since Berry likely knows most of the personnel department