Rebuilding Browns looking for help
When he was GM of the Philadelphia Eagles, Heckert waited until the second round in 2008 before drafting speed-burner DeSean Jackson at No. 49. Jackson, who dropped from the first round because of his small frame, was the seventh wide receiver taken. He’s now a Pro Bowler and one of the league’s most electrifying players.
“That’s what you kind of hope for in the draft is you get guys in the second round that you have rated way up in the first round,” Heckert said. “That’s what happened with DeSean. That’s the best case scenario, you are thinking about guys in the second round and somebody you had in the first round falls to you.
“That’s great if you can do it, and I hope we can.”
If the Browns wait until the second round for a receiver, Boise State’s Titus Young or Miami’s Leonard Hankerson could be options.
Heckert wouldn’t identify the Browns’ biggest need, sidestepping the question. But defensive line is either Priority 1 or 1a.
Cleveland’s front seven is being reshaped under Shurmur from a 3-4 to a 4-3 alignment, and there’s currently a sizable void in the Browns’ roster of capable defensive ends _ a position that many experts believe is the deepest in this year’s draft.
Bowers, Quinn and Fairley are regarded as the best defensive linemen of a stellar class, but each comes with major question marks.
Bowers led the nation with 15.5 sacks as a junior last season, but his stock has dropped because of concerns over a surgically repaired knee. Quinn served an NCAA-imposed suspension for accepting gifts from an agent and didn’t play a down in 2010. Fairley, once considered a possible No. 1 overall pick, has been fending off critics of his work ethic and character.
Heckert doesn’t view any of them as risky, and said he’ll base his choices on what he knows about a player.
“You watch the tape, you make your decision and you go from there,” he said. “We’ve looked at it all and we’ll make the organizational decision on all these guys that have issues.”
The Browns don’t have quite as many issues after Heckert scored big in his first draft with Cleveland. Last April, he selected cornerback Joe Haden, who led the club with six interceptions, hard-hitting safety T.J. Ward and McCoy with his first three picks.
Those picks have the Browns headed in the right direction.
It’s up to Heckert to keep them going that way.