Jimmy Haslam, his coaching search committee, plus newly-minted head coach Kevin Stefanski are on the search for the next Browns general manager. Will the Browns have a new general manager by Monday morning? As of right now, who knows. We all know the hottest three names on the board right now. So who do you think will be the best option?
Andrew Berry is the number one name floating around since the minute John Dorsey, and the Browns “parted ways.” Jimmy Haslam is known to be very high on Berry based on his work during three seasons as Vice President of Player Personnel in Cleveland. Berry brings a mix of new and old school football if the Browns choose to make him the new general manager. Andrew sports and Ivy League education, much like DePodesta and Stefanski. He combines that with his time in Indianapolis, working his way up the scouting ladder for seven seasons.
Berry is a Harvard graduate with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s in computer science. He also played football for the Crimson, spending four years as a starting cornerback earning All-Ivy League honors three times over his college career.
Hired by Indianapolis Colts
Berry then worked for the Indianapolis Colts for seven years after being hired in 2009. He was initially hired by Indianapolis as a scouting assistant and was quickly promoted to pro scout in 2011. One year later, he was elevated to pro scouting coordinator serving in that role for his final four seasons in Indy. During Berry’s seven seasons, the Colts won four AFC South titles, made five postseason appearances and advanced to Super Bowl 44.
When the Browns hired Berry in 2016 here is what former Colts President/general manager Bill Polian had to say. “Andrew Berry is one of the brightest young men we ever had the pleasure of working with. He came to us very early in his career and very soon we realized he was on a fast track. I am not surprised the Browns hired him for this very important position. I assure you he has both the capacity and the will to do an outstanding job. The Browns have made, in my humble opinion, a great hire.”
One Season with the Eagles
After three seasons with the Browns, his last under john Dorsey, as the Vice President of Player Personnel Berry, was scooped up by the Philidelphia Eagles. The Eagles brought him in as vice president of football operations, but just one year later, Jimmy and the Browns search committee are working to bring him back to Cleveland.
Andrew Berry is the clear frontrunner to be the next general manager of the Cleveland Browns. For Browns fans, this is likely seen as bad news because they associate Berry with the analytics team that produced a 1-31 record under former coach Hue Jackson. What some fans don’t realize is that Berry had a big hand in the draft the saw Baker Mayfield taken number one, Denzel Ward at four, and Nick Chubb in the second round. He was also a driving force in the trade for Jarvis Landry during his year working with John Dorsey. Berry is easily the top choice to return to the Browns as the head talent evaluator.
Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero the Browns added recently Monti Ossenfort to the candidate list. He is the current college scouting director for the New England Patriots. Ossenfort has been on the general manager radar before when the Houston Texans requested to interview him in 2018. The Patriots, however, were able to block interviews because they were still in the Playoffs at the time of the request. The Texans then hired Brian Gaine in his place who was then fired less than two years later.
Hired by New England Patriots
Ossenfort began his career with the New England Patriots as a personnel assistant then area scout in 2006. He would then climb the ladder of New England’s front office being promoted to his current position as the director of college scouting in 2014. Ossenfort has held the position for the last five seasons in New England. He is currently considered available due to his contract being up in New England.
New England Guy
In all the research done on Monti Ossenfort, there seem to be no significant ties to the search committee. He is likely on the list based on the previous Texans interview request and the fact he has been parts of the Patriots front office. At this point, if you have been in New England, you have a chance to get hired by anyone.
The Browns have requested an interview with the Vikings assistant general manager but have yet to move forward. The reports state that a snowstorm has slowed the meet and greet but that they expect to meet still. The obvious tie here is new head coach Kevin Stefanski. Stefanski and Paton served together for more than a decade in Minnesota. This is a hire, like Andrew Berry, that would set a clear alignment in the football department, as Jimmy Haslam has clearly stated is needed.
Started with the Chicago Bears
George Paton is an NFL veteran of 20+ years starting with the Bears in the college and pro scouting departments, rising to the position of Assistant Director of Pro Personnel in 2000. He would leave the Bears in 2001 for the Miami Dolphins.
Hired by Miami Dolphins
Paton spent six seasons in Miami from 2001-2006 as the Director of Pro Personnel. During his time with Miami, he worked with head coaches Dave Wannstedt and some guy named Nick Saban. During his tenure, the Dolphins overall record 49-47 with two playoff appearances. Paton then moved on to the Minnesota Vikings.
Paton was hired to join the Vikings by long-time friend and associated Rick Spielman. The two men worked together in both the Chicago and Miami before joining up in Minnesota. Over the time they have been in Minnesota, the Vikings have had some of the best seasons in franchise history.
The work that Paton and Spielman did to revamp the roster via free agency and the draft allowed for one of the franchise’s best two-year runs ever. Over that time the team would win 22 games and in 2009 they had 10 pro bowlers with five of those coming via the draft. While no Superbowl came out of it the Vikings did have the second-most wins in the NFL over those two seasons.
In 2012 the Vikings had a record seven-game improvement based on a strong young nucleus of talent assembled by Paton and Spielman. That improvement led to a 10-6 record and a wild card berth. The key to the 2012 season was the signing of fullback Jerome Felton who paved the way for Adrian Peterson to run for 2097 yards and carry the Viking offense. They would also have two rookies make it to the pro bowl that season.
The duo of Paton and Spielman have been together for 13 seasons. During that time, the Vikings have had a lot of success. They have had seven winning seasons and five playoff appearances. They have also drafted the likes of Adrian Peterson, Anthony Barr, Danielle Hunter, among others. If the browns choose to hire Paton and he has anything close to the success seen in Minnesota, it would end up a great hire. The only thing left for Paton to accomplish would be a SuperBowl title.
Only time will tell where the Browns go from here.
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