New-look Browns satisfied with draft

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BEREA, OHIO (AP) - Once they hung up the phones, closed their laptops and discarded uneaten sushi, the Cleveland Browns‘ bosses felt satisfied.

Following perhaps the weirdest draft in NFL history _ three strange days during which the lockout was lifted, reinstated and confusion reigned over a multibillion-dollar business entangled in legal mumbo-jumbo _ the Browns believed they improved themselves.

When they’ll get to prove it is anyone’s guess.

“I feel extremely good about what we’ve accomplished,” Browns‘ first-year coach Pat Shurmur said. “We picked players we feel like may have the chance to come in and start. They’re players we like. We felt like if we came out of this draft with a lot of good players, we were going to get better.

“I think that’s what we accomplished.”

With general manager Tom Heckert calling the shots and president Mike Holmgren supervising in a lesser role than a year ago, the Browns addressed several pressing needs. Their first priority was a defensive line transitioning from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme, and they added Baylor’s Phil Taylor to plug the middle and Pittsburgh’s Jabaal Sheard to rush from the edge.

The Browns‘ brass also netted big-play North Carolina wide receiver Greg Little for quarterback Colt McCoy. And, they added speed, strength, versatility, toughness and, maybe most importantly, infused youth into what was one of the league’s oldest rosters last season.

“We’re really excited,” Heckert said following his second draft as Cleveland’s GM. “Time will tell, but right now on paper, we’re really happy. These are the guys we really wanted. Hopefully, we made the right decisions.”

Heading into Saturday with six picks, the Browns selected USC tight end Jordan Cameron and Stanford two-way standout Owen Marecic in the fourth round. In the fifth, they took speedy Tennessee-Chattanooga cornerback/kick returner Buster Skrine before trading two sixth-round picks to move back into the fifth and get Pittsburgh offensive lineman Jason Pinkston.

He grew up in Pittsburgh rooting for the Steelers.

“I love them, but it’s business now and I’m a Cleveland Brown,” Pinkston said.

So what’s he going to do with his Terrible Towel and black-and-gold gear?

“Donate it to Goodwill.”

With their final pick, the Browns took Nebraska safety Eric Hagg (No. 248).

This was the first draft in Cleveland for Shurmur and Heckert, who worked together for eight years in Philadelphia. Their connection was one of the chief reasons Holmgren hired Shurmur after firing Eric Mangini following his second straight 5-11 season.

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