EXT. CLEVELAND BROWNS ORGANIZED TEAM ACTIVITIES – BEREA, OH
Roster mastermind Paul DePodesta watches OTAs from a golf cart in the shade near the practice field. As players run drills and scripted non-contact plays, DePodesta focuses his attention from prospect to prospect, timing the ladder drill or counting the steps of a dropping cornerback. DePodesta is obsessed with measurables and, thus far, his approach to NFL analysis has been met with overall praise.
Paul DePodesta: Great explosiveness, Myles! That bringing up your arm during your first step gives you an extra point-three-four seconds of leverage against the guard! You’re going to put up double-digit sacks if you keep this up!
Myles Garrett: Yeah boss! 2020!
DePodesta raises a high thumbs up to his first overall pick and, smiling, returns to making notations in his charts.
Hue Jackson: Hey Paul.
DePodesta: Whoa! You know Sashi said you’re supposed to have a witness present if you’re going to be addressing me and —
Jackson: Shut up, man. Look, I know we’ve had our disagreements in the past but seeing all these guys hustling around today, I see the value to your decision-making. An NFL roster is never going to be a quick build and….hey, you’ve drafted well. I’m excited about Garrett and Jabril and, shit, everyone is the weight room has been very positive about Kenny Britts’ offseason conditioning.
DePodesta: Oh. Well. Thank you, Hue.
Jackson: Still not sure about DeShone though. Kid is raw. Seriously raw. But I’m not saying that to be down on you, man! I don’t know what you got going there will all these facts and figures and spreadtables or whatever but it’s working. So….yeah…that’s all I wanted to share. Gonna get over to the drills now. Oh yeah — 2020!
DePodesta licks his index finger and fingers through a bankers box of files beside him. He finally gets to the purple folders and finds Kizer, DeShone (Q). Even in the 58 degree shade, DePodesta begins to sweat as he reads the analyses in the folder that he’s read a thousand times.
DePodesta: Let’s see here…wilts under pressure…big arm…strong mechanics…Steve McNair…field vision and ball placement. Let’s see which updates to 26-27-60 we used on him…
DePodesta: Oh uh, hi Gregg.
Williams: Listen, I’d appreciate it you’d not talk with my guys during drills. I don’t want them to develop the habit of making a big hit and then looking to the sidelines for praise.
DePodesta: Oh right. Echo of the whistle. My mistake.
Williams: Don’t give it a second thought. I was reluctant to say anything because, you know, you’re the man around here these days. Two solid drafts. Some really tremendous young talent in my linebacker corps. What you’re doing is brilliant. I’m no numbers guy so I won’t pretend to understand it but, with this haul of draft picks and your midas touch, even though there’s no way I could see how a carousel of seemingly sub-par quarterbacks could be the solution to finding a franchise signal caller, I have complete confidence in you.
DePodesta: Well, uh, I do appreciate the words but I have to admit that the tangible metrics of an NFL quarterback has been the greatest challenge I have found in accurately evaluating —
Williams: Don’t be modest! You’re the man and we know that, as you further build this Ferrari of a roster up, you’re going to find the right man to play under center when the time is right. I personally thought it’d be Brock but, hey, just goes to show what kind of an eye a defensive coach has against the established science of a true disruptive innovator!
DePodesta: That is the hope, anyhow. This isn’t an exact science though and —
Williams: You the man, Paul! Gotta run! 2020!
Further sweating, DePodesta pulls out the remaining purple folders; Kessler, Cody (Q), Osweiler, Brock (Q), Hogan, Kevin (Q). All are full of dog-eared pages covered with equations, scratched-out equations, and random notes.
DePodesta: Fucking quarterbacks, man. How do you assign a numerical value to leadership? To winning? To capacity? Yeah, I know the calculations aren’t perfect but, I mean, just look at him. It’s gotta be Kizer, right? He passes the eye test, doesn’t he? Isn’t that what an NFL starter looks like?
DePodesta: But, then again, someone must have been on to something with that contract of Osweiler’s, right? He’s big. He learned behind one of the greats. I mean, that’s gotta count for something right? He’s been in the NFL. He’s made big plays. Isn’t he the guy.
Dee Haslem: Hey sport, what’s the problem? You’re sweating bullets.
DePodesta: Dee, I gotta be honest. I’m glad to see the roster coming together but I’m still in the dark on the quarterback situation.
Haslem: Have you considered Tim Tebow?
DePodesta: Hue said he’d kick my ass. Besides, I think we can do even better. It’s just, it’s a tough thing to quantify. I can’t just be bringing in two new guys every year and hope one pans out. If we’re going to win it all in 2020, I need to start trimming contracts and getting out of flier second round quarterback picks.
Haslem: This is true. Expectations are going to be for playoffs in 2018 and they only get higher from here.
DePodesta: But what can I do? Hue needs to groom Kizer if he’s the man but, the more I go back and forth, I wonder if I’m just trying to outsmart myself and Brock is actually the NFL starting quarterback on the roster. And if he isn’t I need to dump the guy because otherwise the fans will turn on DeShone and cripple his confidence. I just…I just don’t know.
Haslem: Well, why not just ask Brock?