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Charlie Brown
04-21-2011, 03:26 PM
Browns GM Heckert to stick with 'best' draft strategy

By Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writer

BEREA: Browns General Manager Tom Heckert obviously can't ignore his team's needs while preparing for the NFL Draft, but he doesn't want them to cloud his judgment, either.

Heckert is from the draft-the-best-player-available school of thought. And even though the Browns need to bolster several areas, including their defensive line and wide receiving corps, Heckert vows to stand by the draft philosophy that brought him success in his previous job as the general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles.

''This year will be interesting,'' Heckert said earlier this week during an interview in his office at the team's headquarters. ''We have to be really careful that we don't panic and [draft strictly based on needs]. . . . We've got some holes to fill. There's no question. I don't think anybody's gonna deny that. But I don't think we can say just because we need some defensive linemen, 'All right, we're gonna take defensive linemen with our first three picks.' I think you're crazy.''

The Browns have eight draft picks one in each of the first five rounds, two in the sixth and a recently awarded compensatory choice in the seventh. Their conversion to a 4-3 scheme calls for more defensive linemen, and the draft is loaded with elite prospects, including Da'Quan Bowers of Clemson, Marcell Dareus of Alabama and Nick Fairley of Auburn. Their transition to the West Coast offense could be aided by a play-making wide receiver such as A.J. Green of Georgia or Julio Jones of Alabama.

Top talent at either position could be up for grabs when the Browns are put on the clock April 28 with the sixth overall pick. Still, Heckert is keeping an open mind.

After all, the player he considers the best available might not be a defensive lineman or a wide receiver. It could be someone like LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson or Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller.

The possibilities, of course, extend beyond the aforementioned players and positions. Earlier this month, Browns President Mike Holmgren said ''don't discount anything'' when he was asked about the team's chances of choosing a quarterback the top prospects are Cam Newton of Auburn and Blaine Gabbert of Missouri in the first round.

''If you go with the best available guy, you'll eventually [get what you need],'' Heckert said. ''We'll get defensive linemen. We'll find those guys. Don't worry about that. Whether you get them in the draft, free agency, waiver wire, trades, you'll find ways to do that. You just can't automatically say just because we need these offensive linemen, corners, safeties, whatever it is you can't just say, 'We have to get these guys,' 'cause then you're just [going to create] a disaster. You're probably gonna move guys up [your draft board] that you shouldn't.

''Everybody was clamoring in Philadelphia every year, and you think it's bad here about [fans wanting] receivers. We had Todd Pinkston and James Thrash, good football players. But everybody wanted the great player all the time, and we went to five NFC championships. Maybe from the outsiders looking in, they don't perceive that, but I think we have pretty good receivers.''

Some of the public comments the Browns' brass make before the draft might be viewed as smoke screens because NFL teams often try to disguise their true intentions before the players are picked. Heckert's draft philosophy, though, is not a decoy.

When Heckert was the Eagles' director of player personnel in 2002, he and coach Andy Reid collaborated on a draft that has been praised ever since. With their first three picks, they selected defensive backs Lito Sheppard, Michael Lewis and Sheldon Brown, even though they already had solid veterans in their secondary. Sheppard and Lewis became Pro Bowl players, and Brown became a longtime starter for the Eagles before joining the Browns last year.

''The thing that really kind of made a case for my philosophy is we had one Pro Bowl guy and one pretty good guy, Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor, as our starting corners, and we still took two corners,'' Heckert said. ''I think that just goes to prove if you do that, you're gonna be good. If you get good players you can't have enough at quarterback, corners, offensive linemen and defensive linemen I think you can't go wrong.''

Now if the Browns can just use their picks to nab the best available players and fill major needs at the same time, they might find a perfect balance. Heckert said there's a chance he could select six players who will contribute next season, and he'll be using his draft philosophy as his guide.

LINK (http://www.ohio.com/sports/browns/118959454.html)

SoundsOfSuccess
04-21-2011, 03:48 PM
I like this guy, and agree with pretty much everything said.

I am completely on the modified BPA train, it just makes no sense to take prospects that aren't as good, just because they play a position you need.

Although I am a bit surprised, Elway and Fox seem to be on this train as well.

Charlie Brown
04-22-2011, 09:01 AM
I like this guy, and agree with pretty much everything said.

I am completely on the modified BPA train, it just makes no sense to take prospects that aren't as good, just because they play a position you need.

Although I am a bit surprised, Elway and Fox seem to be on this train as well.

I think it is a horrible way to draft. What if, when the Browns select the BPA is Cam Newton? Does that mean the Browns will draft Cam Newton even though he fills absolutely no purpose for the Browns?

Al Wilson 4 Mayor
04-22-2011, 09:02 AM
I think it is a horrible way to draft. What if, when the Browns select the BPA is Cam Newton? Does that mean the Browns will draft Cam Newton even though he fills absolutely no purpose for the Browns?

I guess that depends on whether or not you believe the Browns have a franchise QB......and if you think Cam can be that guy.

Charlie Brown
04-22-2011, 09:04 AM
I guess that depends on whether or not you believe the Browns have a franchise QB......and if you think Cam can be that guy.

No and again No.

BPA is a horrible way to draft. Sure, if the BPA are all DB's your defensive backfield could become really strong. But, nothing else will be.

Al Wilson 4 Mayor
04-22-2011, 09:10 AM
No and again No.

BPA is a horrible way to draft. Sure, if the BPA are all DB's your defensive backfield could become really strong. But, nothing else will be.

I think the concept is more broad than that Charlie. The other extreme is the way Shanny use to draft. Shanny would reach for players just because of need, and those players rarely ever became productive.

It's a proven philosophy to have a draft board based on both need and available talent. Then, when a pick becomes available, in the 2nd round for example, you choose between 2 or 3 players at a position of need, instead of just reaching.

The Browns are in a good position because they can choose between a WR, DE, or DT, and be getting one of the best players in the draft while getting a position of need.

Charlie Brown
04-22-2011, 09:12 AM
The Browns are in a good position because they can choose between a WR, DE, or DT, and be getting one of the best players in the draft while getting a position of need.

But, DT is not a very big need. In fact, the Browns already have a proven DT in Atyba Rubin. Yes, they need somebody to line up next to him. But, a journeyman can be a stop-gap for the time being. Just because a team can draft somebody high to fill a minor need doesn't mean a team HAS to draft that player.

ERoyal248
04-23-2011, 12:18 PM
Who do you want the Browns to draft Charlie.

Jones or Green i'd guess given the Browns don't have a great WR. Maybe Peterson if he falls, a duo of Haden and Peterson would be sick.

Al Wilson 4 Mayor
04-23-2011, 12:32 PM
But, DT is not a very big need. In fact, the Browns already have a proven DT in Atyba Rubin. Yes, they need somebody to line up next to him. But, a journeyman can be a stop-gap for the time being. Just because a team can draft somebody high to fill a minor need doesn't mean a team HAS to draft that player.

Is Rubin a solid player, or a disruptive player that commands double teams? Does he consistently collapse the pocket?

Al Wilson 4 Mayor
04-23-2011, 09:38 PM
good luck guys
http://www.primeaffiliate.com/track/images/10.jpghttp://i758.photobucket.com/albums/xx229/j3iR/wind/jeromssummer_flickr_photos_848.gif

What's up with the emoticons you keep using?

Is that your sig or something?