Mike Holmgren And The Browns Were Given An Offer They Couldn’t Refuse

May 3, 2011 – 8:40 am by Chris Fedor

One of the biggest movers and shakers on draft night was the Cleveland Browns. Sitting at pick number six Thursday, the Browns had a future number one target for quarterback Colt McCoy staring them in the face in Julio Jones. However, the Browns brass decided they got an offer from Atlanta that was just too good to pass up. The two teams swapped picks in the first round as the Browns dropped 21 spots back to pick number 27. That was just the beginning. On top of that, the Browns received Atlanta’s second round pick on Friday night, which they used on former North Carolina wide receiver Greg Littler, their fourth round pick this year, which was used on former Stanford fullback Owen Marecic, and next year’s first round and fourth round picks from Atlanta as well.

That was quite a haul for a rebuilding team and the Browns jumped at that opportunity. However, at the same time they had a chance to land an impact player and decided to move back up for a defensive tackle in Phil Taylor. They certainly need help stopping the run and they absolutely need as many picks as possible in order to rebuild a team that finished 5-11 in 2010, but they also need playmakers on offense. The Browns offense was horrible last year and heading into the draft they had the least talented group of wide receivers in the NFL. They had a chance to get a game-changer at the biggest position of need and decided that quantity was more important than quality. Only time will tell whether or not it was the right decision and the most appealing part of the trade, next year’s first round pick will have to be used correctly by the front office to make it a success.

Mike Holmgren joined KJR in Seattle with Dave “Softy” Mahler to talk about the movement on draft night, why they decided to trade back up after trading down initially, what player the Browns would’ve taken had they stayed at number six, how the deal between the two teams came about, and whether or not Colt McCoy is the quarterback of the Browns moving forward.

On the movement on draft night:

“It was a little wild. You know the draft is an exciting time for every city. The lead up is unbelievable. We had the sixth pick in the first round and that’s a very exciting pick for our press and the fans and I think when we traded back initially there was a definite sag in the room, but the deal was so good that I think it’s going to work out just right for us because we got some good players in the draft.”

On the decision to trade back up after first trading down:

“Yeah we used our third round to get back up there for Phil (Taylor). We were going to sit but then Tom Heckert, who runs the draft for us, he got a little nervous so he goes Mike we’ve got to do this so we did it. It was a good thing. We got word from teams after the fact that we were going to lose him. He was not going to get to 27.”

What player they would’ve taken had they stayed at six:

“Well it’s tough. We had a couple of players, two players, that if we hadn’t been able to consummate the trade with Atlanta that we were going to take with the sixth pick. I’m not going to tell you who those two were. I hope it doesn’t hurt our friendship. Then if those guys weren’t available we were going to try and trade out anyway. I think we could’ve done that. We had some action going with some other teams, it just wasn’t the same type of trade that we had with Atlanta.”

On how the deal came about:

“My Tom, Tom Heckert and Thomas Dimitroff, they have been talking about this a little bit for the last two weeks really. This is the type of trade that doesn’t happen overnight. I had gone to Tom’s office just about every day and we were going over stuff. As we approached the draft he goes I got a deal. Now normally speaking I’m a little conservative and to give up who I was pretty sure we were going to get a great player there, I would come in and bang him pretty good only because I wanted him to be really committed. When he laid it out and explained it it makes all the sense in the world as long as we did a nice job picking the players. After you make a deal if you don’t do a good job picking the players then it was foolish. Heckert is about as good as you can be in this business. I have a lot of confidence in him. He proved it. He did a nice job.”

Whether or not Colt McCoy is entrenched as the starting quarterback:

“He’s going to get a chance to do it. I’m not speaking out of school here I’m not a big fan of all of a sudden the equal reps and all that. That usually confuses a lot of people. Things could change once we get rolling a little bit. I suspect that Colt will do a good job. I’ve talked to Seneca about this before the lockout took place. My experience over the years, the guys just want to know and don’t give them curveballs. Are they competitive? Yes. Does it bother them? I’m sure it does but for right now this is probably how we’re going to go.”

Listen to Mike Holmgren on KJR in Seattle here

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