Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.
Takeaways from first day of rookie minicamp …
Cornerback Greedy Williams – a dead ringer for comedian Chris Rock – showed up with a big smile on his face and he flashed it often in interviews to explain that his excitement of being drafted led to his prediction that the Browns would win the Super Bowl this year.
“That’s what I said,” Williams said, not taking it back. “[But] we have to all come in here and show we’re one of them teams that can go to the Super Bowl.”
Coach Freddie Kitchens was understanding, but got his point across to Williams in his first meeting with the second-round pick from LSU.
“We’re not in the prediction business,” Kitchens said.
“I don’t know how many predictions he’ll be making. He’s a really good kid. He was just full of excitement. I like his excitement and like his enthusiasm, and he has a lot of both.”
Williams said his facial resemblance to Rock was noted by commenters beneath his introductory video on the Internet.
“I tell people that’s my father,” he said with a laugh.
Tackling the critics: Williams draft status plummeted to 46th overall in the second round after he was projected as a first-round pick in the 20s.
The causes of the drop were said to be: 1. His refusal to play in the Fiesta Bowl to save himself from injury, 2. Reported refusal on his part to visit or work out for any NFL teams, and 3. A lack of enthusiasm in tackling evident on tape of his games as his LSU career wound down.
Williams readily provided explanations for each.
On the Fiesta Bowl: “I had a meeting with Coach O [Ed Orgeron] three weeks before the Fiesta Bowl, just so they could get somebody ready in my place. Me and my family. He was cool with it. My position coach already knew and told us to meet with Coach O.”
On not visiting NFL teams: “Actually, that wasn’t a decision. Nobody called. We didn’t turn down no visits. As we called around, they felt I had a great formal interview at the Combine.”
On the tackling issue: “My approach to that is just, at LSU, my assignment was to play man to man and that’s what I did. I really couldn’t show off my tackling ability. I saw the press conference of [Browns GM] John Dorsey and he said, ‘We just need this guy to get somebody down.’ That’s me.
“I’m more than just getting somebody down. Tackling, hitting, whatever they need me to do. John Dorsey said it best, you have to cover some people in this league. That’s one of the main reasons they brought me to this team.”
On a video of Kitchens’ initial conversation with Williams on draft night posted on the club’s official Website, Kitchens kidded that Williams will have to tackle to survive in the NFL.
“I wasn’t joking,” Kitchens said. “He’s gonna have to tackle some. The ball gets out on the edge, we’re not gonna let him go.
“I don’t have a problem with him. Greedy’s gonna tackle. He wants to tackle. He’s a willing tackler. It may not all have been on tape, as an example. Peer pressure gets to him sometimes, gets through to our players, and if we have the leaders I think we have, he’ll tackle.”
The Baker Effect: The day the Browns drafted Oklahoma kicker Austin Seibert in the fifth round, area scout Josh Cox commented, “I haven’t seen a kicker as competitive as he is.”
Seibert attributed his competitive nature to Baker Mayfield, his Oklahoma teammate for three seasons prior to Mayfield coming to the Browns.
“I look at kicking as I’m a football player who kicks, in my head,” Seibert said. “I think I got a lot of that from Baker just being around him. We were together for three years at Oklahoma.
“Learning how he carries himself on the field, I want to do that, too. I want the teammates to believe in me. I want to earn their respect, and I want to go out there, compete and do my best to win football games.”
As for Seibert’s 1-for-3 record in career field goals of 50 yards or more at Oklahoma, Seibert explained that the Sooners’ explosive offense gave the coaches little reason to try long field goals.
He said he routinely made kicks up to 57 yards in practice.