Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson was bombarded with questions Thursday at the NFL Combine regarding the team’s 11 draft picks.
Of course the coach wouldn’t give an inkling as to what prospects the team might covet in the April lottery, but he did make it clear they are looking for ballers, especially considering they have five of the first 65 picks.
“We’re looking for guys that can come in and impact our football team right away,” Jackson said. “Obviously, we have needs, but we also have some areas across the board that we need to shore up. It’s important to draft players who are going to contribute.”
Jackson also made it clear the Browns need to sign their top playmaker from a year ago, receiver Terrelle Pryor. The former Ohio State quarterback is a free agent after the Browns decided not to slap the franchise tag on him by this week’s deadline.
“We have to get Terrelle back on our team and in the fold,” he said. “We hope we can get that done quickly and soon. I think his best football is ahead of him and he is a big part of our offense.”
The Browns are hoping to rebound from a 1-15 season in Jackson’s first year. Jackson is known for his creative offensive mind and developing young talent. His reputation around the league precedes him in terms of getting the most out of his players. However, players buying into his teaching didn’t necessarily translate to the playing field in 2016.
Despite the rough start, Jackson is optimistic.
“Life in Cleveland has been good but it’s also been tough,” he said. “The first year fell short of our expectations but we’re going to turn the page and move forward and take care of business. I look to see improvement this season. We have started to see victory by improving our coaching, which I feel we have, as well as play on the field. The reality is, we don’t enjoy losing.”
The Browns own the No. 1 and No. 12 overall picks and could address both sides of the ball, meaning there could be a glimmer of hope on the horizon for Cleveland fans.