CLEVELAND, Ohio -- When you arrived in town and say that your plan is to rebuild the Browns through the draft, then you had better draft well.
When it comes to Browns General Manager Tom Heckert and this weekend -- you better have a great draft. The Browns pick No. 4 and No. 22 tonight -- with 11 more picks to come over the next few days. Along with team president Mike Holmgren, Heckert made the decision that nearly all of the new players coming to the team will be through the draft.
This is Heckert's third draft, and No. 4 is his highest pick with the Browns. Heckert's first two drafts here have been ... pretty good.
Will any of those players become stars? Maybe. Haden and Sheard seem the most likely to make the Pro Bowl. Perhaps Little will take a significant step forward as a receiver, especially if the Browns add another wideout.
But Heckert has yet to draft a player who excites the fan base, the kind of player whose jersey is one fans immediately want to buy. Nor have any of these players changed the 4-12, 5-11 rut that has trapped the team in the last four years.
He has a chance to do that tonight.
Yet it's hard to imagine the Browns dropping more than a few notches from the No. 4 pick. Part of the reason for the 2011 draft day deal with Atlanta was to set up this season's draft. Yes, the Browns traded the draft rights to Julio Jones for Taylor, Little and Owen Marecic. The Browns also added the No. 22 pick and a fifth-rounder this season as part of the trade.
The Browns are counting of Heckert's drafting skill, because they have done so little in free agency in the last three years. Here's a list of signings:
When Heckert said the Browns would "not go crazy" in free agency, he certainly told the truth. This Browns front office has taken a slow and steady approach, adding decent players and not trashing the salary cap.
But good teams all have a couple of great players. It's time for Heckert to find some, and this draft gives him that chance.
SorryNo need to apologize Lym..You aren't the first to quote Mayock and feel the need to say sorry...Been there done that!
well its started .
the suspense of the first three picks is killing me here . i wonder who will go 1-2-3