INDIANAPOLIS – With their extensive history of losing, the Cleveland Browns might face a tough sell convincing prospective free agents to join their franchise.
But new general manager John Dorsey expects whatever challenge awaits to be manageable. To Dorsey, this offseason started with a couple of important free-agent victories.
Dorsey added Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith, two former Packers talent evaluators highly respected throughout the NFL, to the Browns' front office this winter. He believes their arrival was indicative of an interest throughout the league in helping to rebuild a dormant franchise.
“It wasn’t a hard sell for Eliot,” Dorsey said. “It wasn’t a hard sell for Alonzo.”
The Browns were big winners in the offseason reshuffle that occurred in Green Bay. Their front office will have a green-and-gold tint through the foreseeable future.
Dorsey is a former Packers executive, serving as director of college scouting under Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson. When Brian Gutekunst was hired to replace Thompson as the Packers' general manager this winter, Dorsey scooped up the front office’s defectors.
Together, Wolf and Highsmith join Dorsey to form a triumvirate with more than 50 years of combined experience working in Green Bay.
“Any time you have a chance to acquire successful personnel men who you greatly respect for their ability to evaluate talent,” Dorsey said, “it’s invaluable. … Any time you can get guys like that, it does nothing but make you better.”
Dorsey also brought in former Packers executive Scot McCloughan as a consultant for the 2018 draft.
McCloughan, a former general manager in San Francisco and Washington, started his career as a regional scout with the Packers in the 1990s. Gutekunst said McCloughan was a mentor to him, helping shape both his talent evaluations and also the way he communicated to his bosses.
Gutekunst said he did not consider using McCloughan’s scouting service for consultation.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Scot,” Gutekunst said. “Without Scot early in my career, I would probably have struggled to get to where I am now because he was my liaison to the way Ron (Wolf) did things. But we never discussed job opportunities here in Green Bay. I think the world of him as an evaluator. I think he has a few teams or some agents or some different people that subscribe to his service. I think it’s a pretty good one but we’ve got a really capable staff. So I’m really comfortable with those guys.”