BEREA — Browns rookie defensive end Alex Wright can already imagine a conversation with Myles Garrett over extinct reptiles.
“I may hear of a dinosaur I never heard of a day in my life,” Wright said.
A third-round pick from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Wright got goosebumps on draft night at the thought of teaming with Garrett, a three-time Pro Bowler and perennial candidate for NFL defensive player of the year.
But any potential bond may not center around football. In terms of their wide-ranging interests, Garrett and Wright seem to be cut from the same cloth.
Garrett loves art, music and poetry, dinosaurs, anime and Halloween. He has a separate Instagram account for himself and his dog, Gohan.
Wright played in the band from fifth grade until his freshman year of high school and is proficient on baritone, alto and tenor saxophone, along with the clarinet. He used to draw before he got to college and for a brief time there, sketching cars, figures, sci-fi scenes and “stuff I saw in dreams.” Even though he hated anatomy class, he still found it interesting.
“That was my first time seeing the dead skeleton,” Wright said. “It was weird to me, but I was like, ‘I want to touch it.’ I’m a real intriguing person when it comes to certain topics.”
Garrett and Wright seem like a perfect match.
On day two of the draft, Browns General Manager Andrew Berry said Wright was “really a favorite across the organization.” That wasn’t just because of Wright’s football skills, but also because Berry said Wright is “very driven, very smart, and a very humble individual.”
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Wright spend a good part of his 10-minute interview Friday as the Browns opened rookie minicamp discussing how his diverse interests off the field help his football career.
“How I am is just different bubbles that connect to one big dot,” Wright said. “I wouldn’t say I’m all over the place. I’m full of mystery. People can say I’m hard to read a little bit, I personally don’t see that.
“When I’m on the football field, everything shuts off and I’m focused on tunnel vision. Whether that’s tackles, the running back, quarterback, all that just shuts off and it’s like a switch for me. That’s really how it is my life overall, just a switch.”
Wright said he has talked to Garrett, a conversation sparked when Garrett texted him after he left Cleveland following the draft.
“I can’t wait to see him in person, meet him, just pick his brain a little bit on how to become a better player,” Wright said of Garrett.
But Wright knows it may be their interests outside football that spark a special relationship.
“I would hope so, but I wouldn’t want to get on his nerves or anything,” Wright said. “Just having the same taste and stuff, it should build chemistry between me and him.”
New quarterback Deshaun Watson texted Browns draft picks
Several members of the Browns draft class said they received a welcoming text from three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson, acquired in a March 18 trade from the Houston Texans.
Receiver Mike Woods, a sixth-round pick from Oklahoma who played his first three seasons at Arkansas, said Watson reached out to him about an hour after the draft.
“I’m from Houston so I watched him. I was a fan of him at Clemson,” Woods said. “The coach I played for in college recruited him since eighth grade to go to Clemson so I’m real familiar with him and I’m excited to play with him. Everybody knows he’s a very elite quarterback.
“He was one of the top quarterbacks the last year he played, and I think people are starting to doubt him. I think he’s going to have a chip on his shoulder and it’s going to be exciting.”
Watson, facing 22 civil lawsuits over allegations of sexual assault or sexual misconduct during massage appointments, sat out the 2021 season while seeking a trade.
Receiver David Bell, a third-round pick from Purdue, said he received a text from Watson after he was drafted, but has not spoken to him.
“I do look forward to … whenever [the veterans] get back to be able to sit down and talk with him about a few things,” Bell said.
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Dawson Deaton, a guard/center from Texas Tech, was the Browns’ final draft choice, taken at No. 246 in the seventh round. He said he heard from Watson the next day.
“Deshaun reached out and said, ‘Welcome to the Land’ and stuff, which was really cool,” Deaton said.
Asked if he knew anything about the Browns before being chosen, Deaton mentioned Watson.
“I know they’ve always had a really good O-line. Just being a huge NFL fan, watching O-lines, how talented they are up front,” Deaton said. “Deshaun Watson coming in. Watching Nick Chubb run, how hard he runs, how good of an athlete he is. It’s a really good team and I’m really excited to be joining it.”
Running back Jerome Ford’s haircut interrupted by Browns’ draft call
University of Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford said a friend was cutting his hair at Ford’s house when a Zoom call came in on his phone. Ford had no idea it was the news he’d been waiting for as the Browns selected him in the fifth round, No. 156 overall.
“I’m thinking I’m about to do an interview just to talk to me and walk through some things. I didn’t know they were going to actually draft me,” Ford said. “I go upstairs and I get on Zoom and coach is like, ‘We’re about to take you with this next pick.’”
His excitement did not distract Ford and his friend from the task at hand.
“I had to finish the haircut,” Ford said.
Ford spent his first two seasons at Alabama before transferring. Even though his time in Tuscaloosa didn’t turn out as he’d hoped, he believes it prepared him for the league.
“Alabama’s pretty similar to the NFL. Honesty I’ll say the NFL is probably a little easier than Alabama,” Ford said. “It gets you in the work mindset.”
Offensive lineman Dawson Deaton has nearly finished his Masters at Texas Tech
While at Texas Tech, Deaton was a conscientious student, graduating after his junior year with a marketing degree. To retain his eligibility, Deaton started Masters courses and said he needs about nine hours for that degree in interdisciplinary studies.
He said he could follow his mother’s path into loan management after his playing career ends, but can also see himself as a football coach.
Marla Ridenour can be reached at [email protected] Read more about the Browns at www.beaconjournal.com/browns. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ.