Farmer ready for Christmas (in May)

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at the podium on stare during the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall.

Chris Chambers

BEREA, Ohio — Just 10 days before Ray Farmer runs his first NFL Draft, he met with the media to discuss the draft. Farmer, who was promoted to GM on Feb. 11, has spoken a few times to the media since taking over, but has shed little light on what the Browns will do.

However, Farmer said he’s anxious to get to the draft and feels he’s well prepared.

"I’ve definitely worked hard to get here," Farmer said. "This is bigger than a lot of sporting events. This is like a lottery. It’s beauty in the eyes of the beholder.

"It’s Christmas in May," he said. "Let’s get it done today."

Farmer is excited to add to the roster after a successful free agent offseason.

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"The more pieces we can add the more excited we will be," he said. "It’s important we get the right player(s) for the Browns. "

Farmer likes the whole process of the draft and looks at it as a chess match.

"It’s a game trying to figure out who you like and trying to figure out where you can get those players and using the ammunition we have (to get them)."

Farmer was asked how many starters he hopes to come out of the draft with.

"I think every draft is important," he said. "It’s really the lifeblood of the organization. Sometimes, you take a player and you know they won’t contribute right away. There are guys that are going to contribute right away and there are guys that will redshirt. Guys will take a year or two to demonstrate their capabilities. If they end up playing, no one cares where you pick them."

One of the questions that came up was if he felt there was a quarterback worthy of being drafted with the fourth overall pick. There has been non-stop talk in Cleveland about Johnny Manziel, Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles among others. Farmer answered it like a politician and ended up pleading the fifth.

"That’s interesting because if I say ‘Yes’ people will make the assumption we’re going to take a quarterback at four," he said. "If I say ‘No’ then people will make the assertion that we are going to pass on a quarterback, so I’m going to plead the fifth.

"Again, every draft board in the National Football League is different and we have there are a variety of positions that are worthy of that pick," he said. "It just comes down to what happens in front of you. There might be someone there who is worthy but isn’t available when it comes our turn to select. For us, it’s best to stay quiet as to who’s graded where and where those guys really sit on our board."

Farmer admitted he believes the three teams ahead of the Browns are settling in on their choices.

"I think one, two and three is shaping up in my mind," he said. "I would say there are five options going one, two and three. I’ve narrowed it down in my own head, but it’s a speculation game and I’m not in anybody else’s building but inevitably you start to slide down those options and what teams may be considering based on the information we have."

Farmer did say he knows whom he wants to draft.

DRAFT OPPORTUNITIES

"Absolutely," Farmer said. "The question is do I get a chance to take him?"

Here are some other questions Farmer answered:

Q: Thoughts on Johnny Manziel:

Farmer: "Exciting, electric, dynamic player. You look at what he did as a football player. He turned a lot of heads. He went to the SEC and was productive. There are definitely things to be excited about. The question that everyone wants to talk about is he big enough? Is his arm strong enough? He’s different. He’s not the quintessential guy that everybody points to and is exactly how you draw it up. He’s generally not how you generally think of playing the position and being effective from the pocket, but the guy has definitely been effective and a very good college football player."

Q: Any reservations about Manziel’s off the field issues?

Farmer: "I don’t think I have any reservations with. We had a lot of conversations with him and spent a lot of time with him. He’s a good young man. The interesting part on Johnny, much like a lot of us, you don’t get a handbook on how to operate in certain instances. When you go from being a kid from Tyler, Texas to being Johnny Football and winning the Heisman Trophy pretty quickly, they don’t hand you a handbook that tells you how to handle the media swarm, the paparazzi, people coming up to you at dinner. He would tell you pretty candidly that it’s probably not how he would’ve written it up now that he’s getting to the end of his college career, but you live and you learn. With that being said, I do think there are good things ahead for him. How does he handle that at his new destination."

 

Q: Are you looking for a mobile quarterback in Kyle Shanahan’s system?

Farmer: "It’s a piece of the puzzle, but I wouldn’t say it’s the top piece. Kyle would tell you he likes a quarterback that is mobile."

Q: How many GMs do you expect to talk to in the week before the draft and the last 24 hours until the draft?

Farmer: "In the last week, all GMs. In the last 24 hours, 8 to 10."

Q: Thoughts on Teddy Bridgewater and after Pro Day evaluation?

Farmer: "Teddy is a good college football player. I think he’s had the burden of having to answer questions before and after his pro day performance. Do you hold on to the tape? The pro day but comes down to how does he play football. Really comes down to how you play football. The analogy I keep throwing out is if we go out to shoot baskets and I can’t shoot and dribble the ball off my feet but every time I play, I score 30 points,10 boards and five steals. Do you want me on your team or are you going to pass me because I couldn’t warm up right?

MOCK DRAFT

"That’s how I look at it. Can they play football."

Q: Are Pro Days important?

Farmer: "Pro Days are important. I’ve watched a ton of them. It’s a piece of the puzzle. It’s just a piece to try to confirm what you’ve seen. I like to put them through what we’re doing off the cuff, but I don’t think they’re a waste of time."

Q: If the player you want is gone would you be more open to trading down?

Farmer: "I wouldn’t say I’m more likely to trade down. Any time you talk trade, you have to have a partner. If there were five guys you really love could you trade to 6?"

Q: Do you think there’s a chance you might trade up or down?

Farmer: "I am starting to formulate some of those opinions as to who’s interested , who may be interested. Nobody wants to trade up if their guy is gone. The interesting part for us is what that looks like so when you get to the moment you’re ready. You prime the pump, so to say. Is one player better than another? You have to consider the options. If blue is the top-rated elite player, is one blue player worth two reds?

Q: What do you feel about the cornerbacks on the roster currently?

Farmer: "I feel good about who we have on our roster. Every position on our roster we want to drive competition to the point where the first guy on the depth chart feels the guy right behind him is at his heels."

Q: Would having a franchise tackle in Joe Thomas already on the team prevent you from drafting Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews?

Farmer: "They’re really good players. Robinson is a very, very, interesting prospect. Same thing with Jake Matthews with his pedigree. I want to drive competition and having those guys makes us better."

Q: Would signing Nate Burleson and Andrew Hawkins prevent you from drafting Sammy Watkins at four?

Farmer: "Not at all. We want to drive competition. I’ve seen teams that keep as many as seven receivers. Our goal is to add as many great players that we can."

Q: Is there any question that Khalil Mack played in the MAC instead of one of the bigger conferences?

Farmer: "College football is becoming a landscape is the average player is willing to go some place and contribute right away. That’s why some of those guys go to alternate conferences. When he got on bigger stages, he played big."

Q: Are you comfortable with Brian Hoyer’s progress in his rehab?:

Farmer: "I’m comfortable with him. We really not going to comment on where a player is at (injury). We don’t play a game for a while. I’m excited about where he is right now."

Q: Do you feel added pressure for your first draft from Jimmy Haslam?

Farmer: "I don’t feel any pressure. Jimmy’s involved. We keep him up to speed. He’s not a guy that applies pressure — we’re making sure we’re doing our due diligence. He hired me to do a job and he’s letting me do it. He’ll ask a million questions, which he can."

Q: Do you have any questions about Jadeveon Clowney’s work ethic?

Farmer: "No (work ethic). There’s been a lot of commentary. As we get close to the draft, there’s a lot of smoke. The more you over think it the more holes you can shoot in these guys games."

Q: Thoughts on Sammy Watkins?

Farmer: "Big, really big — he’s a good football player. He’s explosive and can be very productive. I would contend the same thing the longer this goes, more plays the game violently and aggressive. You see things in him that are dynamic. "

Q: Thoughts on Mike Evans and Blake Bortles?

Farmer: "Evans’ size and speed intrigues you. Bortles, oddly enough, wasn’t heralded enough going into the season. People are fired up for him and he has the size at 6-5, 230."