INDIANAPOLIS - Everybody assumes the Cleveland Browns will take a quarterback with the fourth pick of the draft on May 8, but that isn't a given, team general manager Ray Farmer said on Thursday.
This is Farmer's first Scouting Combine as Browns general manager, but he has been coming here for years. He was the pro personnel director of the Kansas City Chiefs for seven years and the Browns assistant general manager last year.
"I would say it could be safe, but we might not go that (quarterback) direction," Farmer said. "It may not be what everybody thinks it's going to be. There is an opportunity for some curveballs."
Farmer wants to meet with as many of the 335 players at the combine as he can. He is especially interested in meeting with quarterbacks Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, Blake Bortles of Central Florida and Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville. Since all three are underclassmen, he did not meet with them at the Senior Bowl.
Farmer said he knows some players, including Manziel, have had off-the-field issues, but he is not going dismiss them just because of that.
"I was told by an older scout, an older coach, that if you don't have some dirt under your fingernails, you're not (experiencing life)," Farmer said. "We all have to experience some negatives and you have to turn some of those negatives into positives.
"Regardless of position, we have to identify the most talented kids that have maybe made some mistakes in the past, but have learned from them and have turned them into positives."
Farmer is more concerned about what kind of teammate a new player would be, whether as a draft pick or a free agent.
"What I really want to find out from any player is who he is, how would he define himself?" Farmer said. "What would he say is his core character makeup? What does he think of his opportunity to play in the National Football League? Is it a privilege, is it an honor? Is it a right?
"How does he see himself impacting, not only his individual performance in the game, but how does he impact his teammates and what does he bring to the table that is going to demonstrate the other guys around him can have success. Football is probably the biggest team sport, and from that perspective I need guys that understand the team concept and how to affect their teammates in a positive way."
The Browns have 10 draft choices -- two in the first round, two in the third, two in the fourth and one in each of the other four rounds. Farmer is open to trading up or down or accumulating more picks.
"I'm going to try to be resourceful," Farmer said. "I want to keep our resources at a premium, whether it's trading up or down, whether it's acquiring more picks; the No. 1 thing we want to do is improve our batting average and give ourselves more opportunities to go to bat.
"There are players that you want to make sure you have on your football team. When you get in a position where you're looking at the board, and there are guys that you say, 'Look, man, there are three or four guys that we'd really love to have, but we're 12 picks away,' we might need to make that adjustment to move up to get one of those three or four guys that we like.
"Conversely, if there aren't players there, we need to have enough relationships around the league to potentially slide back and maneuver, so I think we're in a good position with the number of picks we have and being able to navigate the draft board. There will be people in the room that can help in that instance and I'll definitely be open to receiving information from a lot of sources."