Andrew Berry

North Notes: Vikes, Browns, Ravens, Sutton

At Vikings OTAs this week, they placed Mike Remmers back at right tackle, per Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Remmers finished last season playing guard, and the Vikings used a second-round pick on tackle Brian O’Neill out of Pittsburgh. Minnesota had UFA signee Tom Compton working as its first-string right guard during OTAs, per Rand. Compton has never been a full-time starter in his six-year career, coming closest with the 2014 Redskins, who used him as a nine-game starter. Last season, the Bears started Compton in five of the 11 games he played. Minnesota lost its most effective blocker, Joe Berger, to retirement and did not make any notable additions beyond Compton at the guard spot.

Here’s more from the north:

  • The Browns have made some adjustments to their front office and scouting department, and Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com expects that to continue. She targets the VP of player personnel decision as a possible turnover spot. Alonzo Highsmith, Ken Kovash and Andrew Berry currently reside in that role. John Dorsey just hired Highsmith, and Cabot reports Berry is safe from a change despite being an integral part of the previous regime. The Browns promoted Kovash shortly after the Sashi Brown regime took over in 2016 after he’d previously worked as the franchise’s director of football research.
  • Converted cornerback Damarious Randall will be the Browns’ starter at free safety this season, relocating Jabrill Peppers to strong safety, per Cabot. Gregg Williams‘ deep placement of Peppers, sometimes more than 25 yards off the ball, became a constant source of discussion and derision among Browns fans, and Peppers himself may be a bit tired of the jokes. But the Browns will now place him closer to the line of scrimmage, which is similar to the role he had at Michigan.
  • Optimism exists around Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith, who saw a strong season end early in 2017 because of a torn Achilles, but Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun notes the veteran may not be ready for the start of training camp. The career-long Raven is going into his age-30 season.
  • Additional Ravens’ timelines are coming into focus as well. Defensive lineman Carl Davis, who started nine games last season, underwent surgery to repair a tear in his shoulder earlier this offseason, Zreibec reports. The former third-round pick is questionable to participate in minicamp. Offensive lineman Nico Siragusa also had an operation this offseason. The 2017 fourth-round pick missed all of last season because of ACL, MCL and PCL tears and required an additional knee surgery this year. Zreibec reports the goal for him is a training camp return. As for Alex Lewis, Baltimore’s projected guard starter opposite Marshal Yanda, he’s fully recovered from the shoulder injury that nixed all of his 2017 season, Zreibec notes.
  • The Steelers aren’t sure where to station Cameron Sutton. The 2017 third-round pick played 117 snaps as a rookie after an injury delayed his NFL debut. Pittsburgh may be planning to use him at outside or slot cornerback, or as a safety alongside Morgan Burnett, Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. But he notes that Artie Burns and Sean Davis will still have first crack at their respective jobs, outside cornerback and the non-Burnett safety starter, with the Steelers still hoping for the high draft picks’ upside to show. Mike Hilton remains the frontrunner to be the Steelers’ slot corner, where the former UDFA fared well in 2017.

Browns Part Ways With Ryan Grigson

The Browns have parted ways with executive Ryan Grigson, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com (on Twitter) hears. Meanwhile, Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta, andVP/player personnel Andrew Berry will continue in their present roles with the team, according to ESPN.com’s Tony Grossi (on Twitter). Ryan Grigson (Vertical)

[RELATED: Browns Hire Eliot Wolf As Assistant GM]

New GM John Dorsey has set out to shake things up in the Browns’ front office. Soon after taking the job, Dorsey plucked Alonzo Highsmith (now the team’s Vice President of Football Operations) and Eliot Wolf (newly appointed assistant GM) from the Packers. The former Colts GM, however, will not be a part of the revamped group.

It’s somewhat surprising to hear that DePodesta and Berry will keep their jobs, particularly after Dorsey ripped former head honcho Sashi Brown and “the guys” who were a part of “that system.” Dorsey has used analytics in the past, but he a traditional football man at heart, so DePodesta may not have much impact in what goes down this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Browns, John Dorsey

The Browns dominated the news cycle on Thursday by canning top decision maker Sashi Brown and, hours later, replacing him with ex-Chiefs GM John Dorsey. On Friday morning, owner Jimmy Haslam formally announced Dorsey as the team’s new GM and shed some light on the team’s power structure going forward. Here’s a look at the highlights from Haslam plus more news on the Browns’ future plans:

  • Haslam says the current plan is for head coach Hue Jackson, Dorsey, and executive Paul DePodesta to report to ownership (Twitter link via Andrew Gribble of ClevelandBrowns.com). “[Hue] and John will be working closely together for a long time,” Haslam said.
  • Because DePodesta reports directly to Haslam, Dorsey will not have the authority to fire him, Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer hears. The Browns also want to keep Andrew Berry as the Vice President of Player Personnel. Dorsey, will have the opportunity to hire and fire others in the personnel department, but it sounds like he has been asked to work with both DePodesta and Berry.
  • Haslam reiterated that Jackson will be the coach in 2018. He then went a step further, adding: “I think it would be a mistake to just zero in on ’18. We’re planning on Hue Jackson being our football coach for a long time,” Haslam said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Pat McManamon).
  • Dorsey has control over the 53-man roster in his contract, sources tell Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). That means he’ll run the draft, free agency, and all other facets of constructing the team. In Kansas City, coach Andy Reid had control over the 53-man roster.
  • The failed A.J. McCarron trade on the Oct. 31 NFL trade deadline had nothing to do with the team beginning to pursue Dorsey five or six weeks ago, Haslam insists (Twitter link via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal).
  • Things reached a boiling point between Jackson and Brown in August when the team cut cornerback Joe Haden, despite already having plenty of cap space, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports hears. Jackson’s frustration was later compounded when Haden signed with the rival Steelers. Jackson was also riddled with anxiety on draft day since the front office was undecided about the No. 1 overall pick until the morning of the draft. The latest source of tension came from the McCarron deal. Robinson hears that some senior members of the coaching staff felt that Brown had either gotten cold feet or purposely sabotaged the trade.

Browns To Retain Paul DePodesta

The Browns aren’t totally cleaning house. At least, not yet. For the time being, Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta and Vice President of Player Personnel Andrew Berry will keep their jobs, Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer hears. Paul DePodesta (vertical)

[RELATED: Browns Fire VP Sashi Brown]

DePodesta was brought on in 2016 to help spearhead the Browns’ analytical efforts. His hiring was one of the more unconventional moves in recent NFL history since he had no previous experience in the sport.

So far, the numbers crunching of the former A’s exec and Dodgers GM hasn’t improved the Browns’ on-field product, but the team has amassed an impressive amount of draft capital under his guidance. And, of the team’s 24 picks made in the last two years, 20 remain on the roster. To some extent, the team’s strategy of multiplying draft picks has been a success, and DePodesta has played a role in that.

Meanwhile, the search for Sashi Brown‘s replacement is already underway. The Browns are said to be eyeing former Chiefs GM John Dorsey and he may be the frontrunner for the job.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns To Hire Andrew Berry

The Browns are set to hire Colts pro scouting coordinator Andrew Berry as VP of Player Personnel, sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The position is believed to be the Browns’ top personnel job, though Sashi Brown will continue to have final say over the roster. Browns (generic)

[RELATED: Browns’ Joe Thomas Unlikely To Request Trade]

The Browns previously interviewed Lions senior personnel executive Brian Xanders and former Falcons director of player personnel Lionel Vital for their top available personnel position. Up until now, Berry was not mentioned as a candidate for the job. The hiring of Berry seems to have come out of left field, but it’s not the team’s most surprising hire of the offseason. Just weeks ago, the Browns hired longtime baseball exec Paul DePodesta for a front office role.

Berry, who has spent the last seven seasons with the Colts, served as the team’s pro scouting coordinator from 2012 though 2015. With Berry hired as VP of Player Personnel, the team’s heavy lifting in the front office and on the sidelines is likely done. In recent weeks, the team promoted Brown to executive vice president of football operations and hired ex-Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson as head coach.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.