How Andrew Berry is building the Cleveland Browns roster
Just two drafts into his career as the Cleveland Browns GM, and all 15 of Andrew Berry’s draft picks have made the roster.
Andrew Berry was put in a precarious position when he became the youngest general manager in the NFL. At only age 32, Berry was handed the keys to the Cleveland Browns. He took over for the recently dismissed John Dorsey, whom Berry had worked under previously in 2018 when he held the title of vice president of player personnel.
Now sitting in the driver seat, Berry was handed a roster that was not bereft of talent but needed direction. In the NFL, there is a fine line between being built to win now and mortgaging your future. Most general managers pick one of two lanes; either win now or rebuild. Berry has maneuvered in such a way that the Browns are set up to contend for a championship now, while still stocking up for the future.
How has he accomplished such a feat? First, Berry had to identify who the cornerstones of the roster were and pay them before the market dictated the terms. Both Myles Garrett and Nick Chubb were identified as cornerstones and extended in such a manner. Berry still needs to do the same with Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, as well as a few others.
To be able to extend these former first-round players to sizable contracts, one issue becomes paramount. You can not afford to pay for depth. In order for Berry to avoid paying for depth, he had to hit on his draft picks. More specifically, Berry had to find diamonds in the rough on day three of the draft.
Andrew Berry’s success drafting for the Cleveland Browns
In back-to-back seasons, Berry has selected players in the sixth round that not only can contribute now but could also be key building blocks going forward. In fact, all 15 of Andrew Berry’s draft picks since he became the Browns general manager have made the roster. To remain a top-tier franchise, you have to hit on your early draft selections, but doing so in the later rounds ensures financial stability.
Being able to stock the bottom of the roster with young talent, while also being able to contend is something that rarely happens in the NFL. Now, in all fairness, a team’s draft class as a whole can not be graded just by making the roster. On-field production over time is the only measurable way to evaluate how effective a draft pick or a draft class truly was.
Next, Berry had to identify free agents to add to the roster that fit the scheme and team identity. Free agency is tricky, most of the time general managers end up paying for what a player has already accomplished instead of their actual trajectory and value.
Berry was able to sign a top-tier free safety, John Johnson III, at what is already considered below market value. Additional free agents like Jadeveon Clowney and Takkarist McKinley were singed to sizeable one-year deals, as to not overextend the team.
Berry still has an immeasurable amount of work in front of him and years before he can be assigned a grade as an NFL general manager. But, to this point in his short tenure, Berry has proven himself to be a savvy football mind that others around the NFL will look to immolate.
While not every move Berry has made has been a home run, the young man sure hits a lot of triples.