Cleveland Browns’ three first-round picks eager to compete

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BEREA, Ohio– The Cleveland Browns’ first-round selections from the 2017 NFL Draft met with members of the media Friday afternoon.

For the first time in team history, the Browns selected three players in the opening round. Cleveland took Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett as the No. 1 overall pick. The Browns had legendary running back Jim Brown call Garrett to deliver the good news. It’s a moment that made the rookie grateful to his new team.

“Hearing him speak on the phone was absolutely amazing. Couldn’t have my announcement come in a better way,” Garrett told reporters on Friday.

The defensive end addressed a variety of topics, including his passion for poetry and his relationship with fellow Texas A&M alum Johnny Manziel, who he called “an acquaintance.”

The Browns had a second first-round pick through a 2016 draft-day trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. The team gained a third first rounder by trading with the Green Bay Packers.

Those trades enabled Cleveland to draft Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers and Miami tight end David Njoku.

These rookies were full of praise for each other, marveling at the talent they individually possess.

“He’s too big to run that fast,” Peppers said amount Garrett. He had a big smile on his face, adding having them both on defense will, “Be a sight to see.”

Peppers also addressed his diluted sample at the NFL combine and was thankful the Browns were willing to draft him.

“They know I’m a high-character guy,” Peppers said. “If a dilute sample is the worst problem I’ve had in my life, I’ll take it.”

The three rookies emphasized their love of football and their desire to compete. They also want to learn from the coaching staff and veteran players.

“We’re eager to gel with the guys in the locker room and learn from veterans,” Pepper said.

“They’re the foundation. We’re another piece of the puzzle,” Garrett said.

More stories on the Cleveland Browns and the 2017 NFL Draft here

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“It was pretty relaxing, but it was stressful waiting for that time to tick down,” Myles Garrett said about the last 24 hours. He said he was surrounded by family and friends.

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Jabrill Peppes said he was with family and friends, he had good food and good music when his name was called.

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“I hate losing more than I like winning,” Peppers said. He described himself as tenacious. 

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Peppers said he’s not worried about being a Michigan Wolverine playing in Ohio State country. He laughs it off. 

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“He’s my first target. I’ve been watching him for a long time,” Garrett said about playing against Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger.

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TE David Njoku said he’s here to compete when asked about the Browns releasing veteran tight end Gary Barnidge. 

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“I love to hit and I love to compete,” Garrett said about his passion for football. He’s got a big smile on his face.

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Garrett said he almost went to Ohio State because of its paleontology program. But the SEC is close to home and Texas A&M just had a great season with QB Johnny Manziel. 

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When asked about his poetry, Garrett said everyone has hobbies and interests. He said it keeps him grounded, but declined to share a verse.

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Peppers, who is known for his versatility, said head coach Hue Jackson mentioned playing some offense. “We’ll see how that goes.”

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“It’s going to be a sight to see,” Peppers said about playing defense with Myles Garrett.

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“They know I’m a high character guy,” Pepper said about the Browns taking him despite a dilute sample at the NFL combine. “If a dilute sample is the worse problem I’ve had in my life, I’ll take it.”

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“I don’t really have a favorite thing. I just love playing and competing,” Njoku said.

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“I like being a part of things that you help from the ground up,” Peppers said about joining a one-win team. He said he’s all in.

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Njoku said he was excited when he came to Berea. “It was a fun time for me.”

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Myles Garrett called Johnny Manziel an acquaintance and a fellow alumni. They’ve met once. He said he will always cheer for Manziel because of Texas A&M.

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“You’ve got to go against great guys and not take any days off,” Myles Garrett said. He said he’s got to study film, take tips from veterans and do everything he can to help the team win.

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“I’m 20 years old and I think I have a bunch of things to year,” Njoku said. “I feel like I have a really high ceiling I can reach.” He said he will take the advice of coaches to be the best he can be.

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“He too big to run that fast,” Jabrill Peppers said about Myles Garret with a smile. “We up here for sure love football. Pretty sure we stressed that to them.” He said the Browns were looking for high-character guys and that’s what he and his fellow draft picks brought.

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David Njoku said he is close to Browns RB Duke Johnson. Duke told him he would love the city and the fans are very loyal. “I had a gut feeling I was going to end up here.”

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Myles Garrett on getting the call from Jim Brown that he was drafted by Cleveland: “Hearing him speak on the phone was absolutely amazing. Couldn’t have my announcement come in a better way.” He thanked the team for doing that for him.

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Jabrill Peppers: “We’re eager to gel with the guys in the locker room and learn from the veterans.”

Myles Garrett: “They’re the foundation. We’re another piece of the puzzle.”