Jarvis Landry is famous for the “contagious” speech he gave in the receiver room that was broadcast on “Hard Knocks” during the 2018 training camp. With fire and inspiration, he told his teammates to practice if at all possible.
He had another impassioned message Friday, this one to the prospects who weren’t drafted Thursday night.
After congratulating the first-round picks, he spoke from the heart, saying the topic had been weighing “real heavy” on his mind.
“To everybody that’s going in the second round and beyond, I need you guys to understand this and know this,” he posted in an Instagram video. “You’ve got to use this as fuel. You’ve got to use this as motivation.”
Landry was taken in the second round in 2014, No. 63 overall. He’s made five Pro Bowls in six seasons.
“It’s every player’s dream that has an opportunity to get drafted is to go in the first round,” he said while walking outside with palm trees in the background. “And I’m just going to tell you what it is. Regardless if a guy gets drafted in the sixth round, he still feels like he should’ve went in the first round. And I need you guys, all of you guys, to use that energy, channel that energy, channel that passion, channel what you’re feeling right now and bring it to the field. Because the beauty about this draft and what I need you all to understand is that after this draft is over every guy that got drafted has got to prove himself all over again. You included. The first-rounders included.
“So take this, man, take this, take this, don’t get discouraged, don’t let this put a stain in your confidence, you are who you are. When you get your opportunity show the world. I love you. Peace.”
The Browns weren’t the only team not trading early in the first round. No deals were struck through 12 picks, which prompted chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta to send a note in the team’s group chat.
“‘When was the last time that we went through the first 12 picks without a transaction?’” he said he wrote. “It was about two minutes later that they announced the swap for No. 13 and No. 14 so I think I got my comment in under the wire.”
The unprecedented virtual nature of the draft, with everyone in every organization separated in their homes, may have played a role, but DePodesta wasn’t convinced.
“I think the distance probably has something to do with it, but then again, even in past drafts when we are making deals, you are making them on the phone,” he said. “That is no different today than it is if we were all in the draft room. The conversations that you have after you make the call or after you have the call, those are a little different. We have to run those a little differently, but I don’t think ultimately that really influenced the lack of transactions.
“I think it was because there were a lot of really interesting players available to teams. We talked to some teams in front of us in preparation for the draft and kind of everyone said the same thing, which is if one or two players are available to us, we are going to sit and pick. I think we kind of felt the same way. The way the draft fell early, it just seemed like the teams that were picking had guys on their board that they just wanted to sit and pick.”
He thought the Browns would’ve been able to trade down from No. 10 if motivated, but they were content to take Alabama right tackle Jedrick Wills. The first round ended with four trades being made.
The move of Wills from right tackle to left tackle will be a huge topic of conversation throughout the offseason and training camp.
While the Browns acknowledge learning to play on the left side will require “reprogramming” after spending his high school and college careers on the right, they don’t have to worry about Wills being overwhelmed by protecting the quarterback’s blindside. He spent two years blocking for the left-handed Tua Tagovailoa, who went No. 5 to Miami, and allowed only two sacks.
“I do think these offensive linemen take it very, very personally when their player gets past them and then hits the quarterback,” coach Kevin Stefanski said. “When you are tasked with protecting the blindside of a quarterback, you are tasked with blocking a guy who, if you get beat, the QB may not see it. It is a big deal.
“It is something mentality-wise that you will get from Jedrick. This guy is a tough dude. W will have a guy over there that understands how important that position is.”
DePodesta, Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry rattled off numerous reasons for taking Wills. Intelligence may have gotten lost in all the talk about athleticism, toughness, nastiness as a blocker and the great pedigree from Alabama.
“This is a very bright guy,” DePodesta said. “He is really advanced from a football knowledge standpoint. We think mentally he is advanced, and he is just a mature person.
“He is a pro I think already. That doesn’t mean he is not going to have a lot of things to learn and he is not going to have to grow in different ways, but we just really liked his approach to the game. We have talked a lot about finding players that are smart, tough and accountable, and we felt like he really checked all three of those boxes.”
SLOW AND STEADY
The process that led to Wills being the Browns’ top-ranked tackle was a long one. DePodesta said the original draft rankings were done in February before the scouting combine.
“It was far from being set in stone. In fact, it was probably in light pencil at that point,” he said.
More meetings of the personnel staff followed in early April, then meetings with the coaching staff.
“It is maybe two weeks ago when it was set the way it ended up turning out,” DePodesta said.
Wills was the 12th Alabama player drafted by the Browns, including the fourth in the first round. He follows tight end Ozzie Newsome (No. 23 in 1978), cornerback Antonio Langham (No. 9 in 1994) and running back Trent Richardson (No. 3 in 2012).
** The Browns have three picks Saturday: No. 115 in the fourth round, No. 150 in the fifth and No. 187 in the sixth.
The fifth-rounder was added Friday from the Colts and the sixth-rounder came from Arizona in a trade for cornerback Jamar Taylor. The Browns sent their fifth- and sixth-rounders to Buffalo in the trade for guard Wyatt Teller, and the seventh-rounder went to Tennessee for receiver Taywan Taylor.