April 24, 2010
Holmgren: ‘Very Productive Draft’
OBR Browns Reporter
BEREA—It was thought the Browns needed to hit on several of their draft choices quickly, as they need help immediately. Of the eight selections they made over three days, it appears they might have added as many as four starters in this draft.
Overall, the Browns used their eight draft picks to evenly selected four offensive and four defensive players.
On the defensive side, the lean was definitely in the secondary as their first three defensive choices were in that area. In addition, to the three defensive backs, they selected a defensive end.
Offensively, the Browns snagged a running back, quarterback, offensive lineman and wide receiver. The name player was quarterback Colt McCoy, but he was the fourth player the team selected.
“We’re excited for the franchise,” Mike Holmgren said. “We finished a very productive draft for ourselves. It was a very healthy first start for us.
“We had a plan coming into the day that we would try and deal with certain positions and certain players,” Holmgren said. “Other than the quarterback, which was a little bit of a surprise, it felt pretty much the way we wanted it to. In Colt’s case, I really didn’t think that he would be available to us. I really felt that he would go before we had a chance to pick him. But when it didn’t happen, it was something I really wanted to do and Eric (Mangini) and Tom (Heckert) went along with me and there you have it.”
“You can’t fix everything in one year,” Holmgren said. “I think we all understand what it is going to take to get there.”
Holmgren said his first draft in Green Bay, he was given a ‘D’.
“I remember three years later, we were in the Super Bowl and we had five guys starting from that draft.”
Mangini was excited to have three defensive backs coming in to fortify the secondary.
“I’m excited for the guys who are coming in,” Mangini said. “Now, we have to see how best to work them in.”
Joe Haden, T.J. Ward and Larry Asante are expected to upgrade the defense immensely.
“I think there are similarities between Ward and Asante,” Mangini said. “What’s going to be the most important is how they adjust to our system. There are some slight differences in their style.”
Both safeties are described as ‘tough’ players.
“I enjoy guys that are described as ‘tough’,” Mangini said. “Asante is a guy who can knock your helmet off. That’s nice to have back there to put a bit of doubt in a receiver’s mind.”
That was also the label put on Ward, who is supposed to have better cover skills.
“Asante is a big, physical guy,” Heckert said. “We think he is a good player who has played at big time college level.”
To round out their picks on the defensive side, they selected Clifton Geathers with their last pick in the sixth-round.
“He’s a monster at 6-8,” Heckert said. “Usually, a guy like him isn’t as athletic. He’s a lot like his uncle Jumpy Geathers.”
The Browns addressed the offensive side of the ball with running back Montario Hardesty, quarterback Colt McCoy, offensive line Shawn Lauvao and wide receiver Carlton Mitchell.
Holmgren said he expects McCoy to be able to sit back and learn this year from Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace and Brett Ratliff.
Holmgren admitted that getting a ‘banger’ at running back was a priority and Montario Hardesty is the type of back he sees with the Browns.
And so does his coach.
“I really like him,” Mangini said. “I think he’s tough, he’s physical, and he’s got a nice burst. He tends to punish defenders at the end of runs. I think that he does a nice job cutting and making guys miss. He’s got good balance.
“I was excited when we got him,” he said. “I like big backs, I like little fast backs too. I like them all that can gain yards. I think that with him, Peyton (Hillis) and Jerome (Harrison), we have added some options there that we can use in a lot of different ways. He carried a heavy load last year and did a really nice job. In talking to Eric Berry when he was here, he couldn’t really say enough good things about him. I just asked him about players you would like to play with again in pro football and he talked a lot about him. For his professionalism, his approach, all of those things that are like music to your ears when you’re sitting on the other side of the desk.”
Although Holmgren is excited to add McCoy, he feels he can be brought along over time.
“Things could change, but I don’t expect (McCoy) to play this year,” Holmgren said. “We have three quarterbacks already here that we feel pretty good about.
“My expectation for him would be to sit and learn this year,” he said. “I acknowledge this will create a buzz, but that’s not why we did it.”
The Browns are in need of help at wide receiver, having very little depth and NFL experience at the position. The draft was described as being weak in the receiver department, but the Browns took a speedy receiver in the sixth-round in Mitchell.
“He’s a little on the raw side but we’re excited to bring him in and work with him,” Heckert said.
The Browns also added depth and a potential starting offensive lineman in Shawn Lauvao in the third-round. He is expected to compete for a starting spot at right guard.
“He’s a big lineman who I think will start out on the inside,” Holmgren said.
A couple concerns were brought up about Ward and Hardesty with some injury history.
“I’ve seen guys that have come in relatively clean and they get banged up and guys that have had some injuries that have fought through them and have come back as strong, if not stronger,” Mangini said. “They are both tough guys and they have had some things in the past. We do really extensive research between the combine medical checks and our own medical checks, if they have visited, to make sure that we feel good about where they are medically and in both cases, we did.”
“I think in the preparation, it’s a big part of the discussion,” he said. “Our medical people, we have to trust them and they have to really let us know honestly how they feel about these guys because it’s a big investment. Once we get the green light, which happens before the draft, then we go.”