BEREA, Ohio — The entrance to the Browns facility looks different than the under-construction rubble of a year ago. The renovation includes two rows of trees, where the chrysanthemums underneath continue to bloom. A multi-colored brick path is accented with three diamond patterns leading to the double doors. It’s new, sleek, professional and built to last.

Over the last 20 or so years, those adjectives rarely have been used to describe the team inside those double doors. Cleveland is coming off an 0-16 season, has won four games combined over the last three seasons and hasn’t had a winning season since 2007. Three rookies — Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward and Nick Chubb — took their first NFL steps at Browns rookie minicamp last weekend.

They are part of a class out to reverse the trends after more Browns front-office and roster refurbishing. New general manager John Dorsey and third-year coach Hue Jackson will oversee the on-field rebuild. The installment plan featured a flurry of trade activity that landed players such as Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry and Damarious Randall before what could be considered the Browns’ most important NFL Draft since the franchise returned to Cleveland in 1999.

This regime made its biggest statement by selecting Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Oklahoma whose alpha personality two-stepped that fine line between immortal and immature during his time with the Sooners. The Browns made another statement when they picked Ward, a lockdown corner from Ohio State, three picks later. Cleveland also added Chubb, a star running back who helped Georgia reach the College Football Playoff championship game; he was picked in the second round two spots after Cleveland took Austin Corbett, the Nevada offensive tackle who could be its replacement for future Hall of Fame tackle Joe Thomas.

A shrine of Thomas greets visitors in the lobby of the complex — it’s a reminder of one of the few diamonds Cleveland has produced since 1999. Mayfield, Ward and Chubb, however, represent the heart of a reconstruction. They played at college powerhouses, as Oklahoma, Georgia and Ohio State all won their respective Power 5 conferences last season. Those schools combined for a 37-6 record.

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“I think our group of guys — and no disrespect to past classes or anybody else — I think our guys are excited to compete,” Mayfield said at rookie minicamp. “You get a bunch of guys with a chip on their shoulder that come from winning programs, and they know how to do it. They know how to put the work in and get results out of it.

“When you do that, you get a good mixture of guys, and I think the results will be pretty good.”

Hints have come from the rookie-camp activity on Cleveland’s indoor practice field. If Mayfield’s prediction holds true, then he, Ward and Chubb will spearhead the leadership that could pave the way for something more than the auto-programmed false hope that blooms with those chrysanthemums every spring.

“They still have to learn the National Football League game,” Jackson said. “There is still a lot of work that these guys have got to do in order to become true pro football players.”

If they put in the work, however, things won’t just feel different.

Cleveland might finally have some real change at work here.

Hue Jackson speaks with the media at Browns rookie minicamp. (SN Photo/Bill Bender)

Mayfield wore an orange No. 6 jersey at rookie minicamp, and it didn’t take long for him to showcase the free-range flair that evokes best-case comparisons to Brett Favre, worst-case comparisons to Johnny Manziel and everything in between.

This is the player who walked on at Texas Tech and turned into a Heisman winner at Oklahoma. While Mayfield’s first few interviews as a pro have been somewhat refined, his voice ticked up when talking about life as a walk-on and a transfer. He’s excited about what it will take to become a starter in the NFL, and he’s putting the rest of college and the draft process — the good and the bad — behind him.

“For me, it is a fresh start,” Mayfield said. “Once you are drafted, it does not matter. I will just say this, in the team meeting, we talked about how it does not matter how you get here. Everybody has the same opportunity. What are you going to do with it? What work are you going to put in to put yourself in the best position possible to play and make the roster?

“For me, that is something that I know how to do. I have been in this position before so I can only try to handle it the same and work harder.”

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There’s a never-stop mechanism in Mayfield that comes at the right time for a franchise that continues to seek the right quarterback. It’s Taylor’s turn to start, a fact Jackson reiterated again Friday and will continue to hammer home through OTAs and training camp. But Mayfield’s time will come .

Mayfield made his first impression in his first practice — even the low-key version of the QB is intense. He’s low-fiving, high-fiving and patting teammates on their helmets. He’s taking snaps after practice. He has accepted the role of backup, and Jackson doesn’t see anything that could throw off the locker-room dynamic.

“I do not think that is going to be an issue at all,” Jackson said. “I think Baker is a very astute individual. He understands how this works. I think he is going to take his chances when he has opportunities to lead.”

Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ voice blasts off the walls of the indoor facility, relaying signals during a team drill. Ward, wearing a white No. 12 jersey, has been down this road before. Williams’ volume is not all that different than that of former Ohio State defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs, who is now with the Titans.

Ward takes the high-energy direction but plays with an even flow. He’s the latest model from Ohio State’s Cornerback U assembly line. Bradley Roby (2014), Eli Apple (2015), Gareon Conley (2016) and Marshon Lattimore (2016) all were first-round picks before him.

“There’s definitely a high expectation at Ohio State with all the guys it’s been able to produce in the league,” Ward said. “It’s not just about getting to the NFL. It’s about what you do while you’re here.”

Ward is the kind of pick around which Browns fans will rally. He’s from nearby Macedonia, Ohio. He’s a solid cornerback who should help an ailing secondary as a starter, a role for which Urban Meyer’s Buckeye staff has prepared him.

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If Mayfield is outspoken and Chubb is soft-spoken, then Ward is somewhere in between.

“Playing college football at Ohio State, you’re viewed by everyone around the world,” Ward said. “I don’t really fall into too much pressure with the media or people watching the game. I have my own goals, and really the pressure I put on myself with the goals I have set in place.”

Jackson insists Ward was the best pick possible at No. 4 and one Cleveland needed to make. Jackson and Ward fielded the questions about what that means when it comes to facing Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green twice a year. Will Ward be ready?

“He is going to have to be,” Jackson said. “You can’t run from that. That is what is in our division.”

Is that too much pressure?

“No sir,” Ward answers. “This is the NFL. The talent is going to be there. You just have to be ready to play.”

Nick Chubb, wearing a brown No. 31 jersey, sprints by defenders down the sideline. It’s a reminder of the highlight reel he put together as a four-year standout running back at Georgia.

Chubb was part of a senior class that led the Bulldogs to the College Football Playoff championship game in 2017, but it wasn’t always that easy. On Oct. 3, 2015, Alabama drilled Georgia 38-10 in a game that signaled the beginning of the end of the Mark Richt era. A week later against Tennessee, Chubb suffered a gruesome knee injury that threatened his career.

After an 8-5 season in 2016 through which Chubb battled ankle injuries, Georgia’s breakthrough came in coach Kirby Smart’s second season. The Bulldogs lost 26-23 to Alabama in overtime of the title game, but Chubb was part of a legacy group that set up Georgia to be an elite program for the foreseeable future.

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Now Chubb wants to continue that trend in Cleveland.

“We had the transition from my junior season of not having a successful year to being really good (my) senior year,” Chubb said. “It’s a pattern. We weren’t very good here this year, so I’ve got to find out what I can do to help this team and make a difference.”

Mayfield and Chubb form the Browns’ best quarterback-running back pairing via the NFL Draft since 1999. It’s not a coincidence that they were roommates at rookie minicamp.

Chubb will find his way in a three-back rotation that includes Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde, a veteran free-agent pickup from San Francisco. But there’s a place for Chubb, a player who, when healthy, can produce that highlight-reel run at any time.

“Everywhere I’ve been we’ve been very successful,” Chubb said. “And I’m not saying that’s just me — but I’ve been carrying that with me wherever I’ve been.”

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Practice at Browns rookie minicamp (SN Photo/Bill Bender)

The banner on the wall of the indoor practice facility serves as a reminder of what the Browns used to be. It lists the championships — 1946, ’47, ’48, ’49, ’50, ’54, ’55 and the last one in ’64. Under that list is a mantra: “It’s time. Expect to win.”

We’ve reached this point too many times with Cleveland. It’s supposed to feel different with each passing training camp. This one must be different for Jackson, who is 1-31 after two seasons as coach and is banking on the addition of Todd Haley at offensive coordinator to jump-start the offense.

Jackson spun his thumbs while rattling off reasons why Mayfield, Chubb and Ward can contribute to the process. There is a rhythm to the answer.

“I think the biggest thing that I saw today was when they had an opportunity to make plays, they made them,” Jackson said. “Chubb made them. Denzel did early, almost getting a ball knocked out in one-on-one drills. Obviously, I think Baker made some really-good throws, some tight throws on the field.

“Those guys, this is not too big for them. This stage is not.”

That’s a good a place to start, even if the natural instincts of observers are to second-guess Cleveland’s draft picks. Mayfield will be linked to Saquon Barkley, the Penn State running back who went No. 2 overall to the Giants. Ward will be linked to Bradley Chubb, the N.C. State defensive end who went No. 5 overall to the Broncos. Chubb will be compared to the running backs who were selected before and after him.

That is not how Cleveland should measure its top three picks. The Browns need to bank on Mayfield, Ward and Chubb as leaders. They bring their own distinctive styles as proven winners at the college level.

“We’re definitely exposed to the big scene and a lot of media and things like that, but as far as playing I don’t think there’s much of a difference,” Chubb said.

Added Ward: “Being at Ohio State, Coach Meyer and all those guys helped us by preparing us to have a routine, then having that routine to help you be successful. I’m definitely trying to bring all that here to Cleveland.”

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All three should be in Cleveland for a while. Chubb is another between-the-tackles runner for the backfield rotation and another playmaker. Ward appears capable of being a solid NFL corner for a decade; he’s another piece to build around Myles Garrett, the Browns’ No. 1 pick in 2017. Ward also might help get Jabrill Peppers on track in the latter’s second season. 

But no pick is bigger than Mayfield, the centerpiece of the class. He’s enjoying it — “Happy to be a Cleveland Brown” — but he’s also dead-set on earning the respect.

“When you talk about that it’s about earning the respect of the veterans in the locker room, the guys who have been here and doing it for a while,” Mayfield said. “You can’t talk about it and earn their respect. You have to go to work, you have to put your time in, you have to learn the playbook and when you get your opportunity you have to show you’re there for a reason. That’s how I deal with the veterans, the rookies and everyone else right now.”

Mayfield, Chubb and Ward will face more questions as they develop on the field, but at least one thing is indisputable right now: The right attitude is in place.

It’s new, sleek, professional and built to last. Like Mayfield says, it’s a good mixture.

“It’s a mentality that you’re not going to take ‘no’ for an answer,” Mayfield said. “It doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past. It’s about, ‘What are you going to do now to make this team better?'”

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