Cleveland Browns

Stadium: FirstEnergy Stadium | Coach: Mike Pettine
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Offense17th86.4 (26th)252.5 (9th)
Defense9th111.3 (15th)221.1 (9th)

Shurmur hails Browns' draft

The Sports Xchange
 
Shurmur hails Browns' draft · Strategy And Personnel · Notes, Quotes
 

Browns head coach Pat Shurmur told a Canton audience Tuesday the team "did great" in the recent draft and said they know what players they want to pursue when free agency begins.

The Browns pulled off a blockbuster deal with the Atlanta Falcons on the first day of the draft and acquired numerous selections, including a first-round choice in 2012.

"I think we did great," Shurmur said to the Hall of Fame Luncheon Club. "I don't care what anybody says. But we obviously started off the draft by making a historic trade, probably one of the greatest trades in draft history, when we traded with Atlanta - our sixth pick to get to 27, eventually up to 21 - because we felt like we needed help in areas and based on the talent, based on what other teams around us were gonna do and based on what we needed, we felt like that was the perfect thing to do."

The Browns also received a second-round pick from the Falcons and fourth-round choices this year and next. They sent Kansas City a third-round pick this year to move up and select defensive tackle Phil Taylor.

As for free agency, Shurmur said, "We know who we want to go get. We just can't talk about it yet."

Asked about quarterback Colt McCoy, Shurmur said, "I feel like he's got it. He makes good decisions. He's an accurate thrower. He's mobile. He's got great command of the huddle. He's a leader. He's a guy that I think can be the guy to lead our organization, so I'm looking forward to getting to work with him."

Noting time the team is losing implementing new offensive and defensive systems because of the lockout, he said, "I feel confident that whatever time we have, we'll get it taught. I feel as though we've hired a tremendous coaching staff. We're doing things to keep ourselves sharp. Our systems that we're teaching are proven. They've won multiple Super Bowls, so we feel like that whenever we're up and running, when the players are in Berea (club facility), then we'll get it done."

At that point, Shurmur laughed after a fan grabbed a microphone and said, "That was wonderful coach-speak you just gave us. Now tell us the truth."

--The Browns could have made a big splash by taking wide receiver Julio Jones with their sixth pick in the draft, but instead opted to trade for extra picks and shore up their run defense.

In the end they picked 21st - the same as last year, coincidentally - and used it on 334-pound nose tackle Phil Taylor from Baylor.

"If the center or guard are undersized he's going to run them right over," general manager Tom Heckert said.

Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin will be paired inside at tackle as the Browns switch to a 4-3 defense. Last year the Browns were 27th against the run. That number should improve with 664 pounds of beef in the middle.

"I stop the run, man," Taylor said on a conference call from Radio City Music Hall where the draft was conducted. "I'm a great run stopping defensive tackle. I can give you a good pass rush as well."

Taylor compared himself to Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton and Vince Wilfork of the Patriots.

Here is how the night unfolded:

The Browns traded the sixth pick to Atlanta for the Falcons' first pick, No. 27 overall, the Falcons second-round pick, No. 59 overall, and their fourth-round choice, 124 overall. They also got the Falcons' first-round pick in 2012 and their fourth-round pick in 2012. It was a deal Heckert said he started cooking with Falcons general manager Tom Dimitroff two weeks ago. The Falcons used it on Jones.

"We said it before - if something was really intriguing to us and we could add more players we were going to do it," Heckert said. "We're not saying we're one player away."

Next, the Browns packaged the 27th pick and their own third-round choice, pick 70, in a trade with the Chiefs to move up six spots and take Taylor with the 21st pick. Heckert said he pulled the trigger on the trade because he thought another team might swoop up Taylor before the 27th pick.

Taylor said he thought the Browns were angling to get him when they made the trade with the Chiefs. He said he hit it off with the coaches when he visited the Browns in Berea earlier this month. Browns head coach Pat Shurmur agreed with that assessment.

"If you don't sense excitement, it's there," Shurmur said. "He's a giant man. He can play the run or get that push in the middle to really disrupt the quarterback."

In choosing Taylor the Browns passed on Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith and two highly rated offensive tackles - Anthony Castonzo from Boston College and Gabe Carimi from Wisconsin.

Taylor started his college career at Penn State but got into a fight in October of 2007. He was charged with aggravated assault (eventually dismissed), simple assault, disorderly conduct and harassment. He was suspended for one game. He was suspended from the team in February and 2008 and transferred to Baylor.

"I made a mistake but I moved on from it," Taylor said. "I went down to Baylor and made the best of a second chance. I'm happy to be in this situation right now."

Heckert said he is "100 percent" satisfied Taylor is not a character risk. The Browns spent a long time interviewing him during his visit to Berea and in fact entertained him and Bowers on the same day.

Taylor had to sit out the 2008 season as a transfer. He made 25 tackles in 12 games in 2009. Last season he started all 13 games and made 62 tackles with two sacks and seven tackles for loss.

Taylor had a left knee injury that eventually required arthroscopic surgery. He also had a turf toe injury.

--The Browns went into the draft with a mission to beef up the pass rush and get some help at wide receiver for Colt McCoy, and that's what they did with three picks in the first two days.

After two trades in the first round, general manager Tom Heckert solidified the run defense by taking nose tackle Phil Taylor from Baylor. Taylor, 334 pounds, can crush the pocket on the quarterback. Shaun Rogers had that role for three years, but he was released in the offseason.

Second-round pick Jabaal Sheard, a defensive end from Pitt, weighs 254 pounds. Ends in coach Pat Shurmur's 4-3 defense have to be quick more than big. Heckert says Sheard can beat tackles around the edge and bull rush.

Wide receiver Greg Little, taken 59th overall, has a feisty attitude missing in the Browns' receiver corps. He was suspended last season by the NCAA for accepting gifts from an agent and is hungry to play football again.

Feistiness, in fact, is a common thread connecting Taylor, Sheard and Davis. The Browns have been too polite in the past.

BEST PICK

Defensive end Jabaal Sheard: The Browns could have taken Da'Quan Bowers in the second round, but jumped on Sheard instead. "He plays hard," general m anager Tom Heckert said. The Browns didn't have a dominant edge rusher before drafting Sheard.

COULD SURPRISE

Fullback Owen Marecic: Marecic is a fullback eager to block for Peyton Hillis. He caught only nine passes as a senior at Stanford, but has good hands to catch passes in the West Coast offense. He played linebacker in college and will help on special teams.

A closer look at the Browns picks

Round 1/21 --Phil Taylor, NT, 6-31/4, 334, Baylor

Taylor is an immense nose tackle who will team with Ahtyba Rubin to shore up the run defense, which ranked 27th last year. He can collapse the pocket on passing downs.

Round 2/37 - Jabaal Sheard, DE, 6-3, 254, Pittsburgh

The Browns need ends as they switch to a 4-3 defense. Sheard is versatile enough to beat tackles around the edge and strong enough to bull rush.

Round 2/59 - Greg Little, WR, 6-2, 219, North Carolina

Little is hungry to play after being suspended all of 2010 by the NCAA for accepting gifts from an agent. Coach Pat Shurmur says Little will fight for the ball if he doesn't get separation.

Round 4/102 - Jordan Cameron, TE, 6-5, 250, Southern Cal

Cameron began his college career at Brigham Young as a basketball player. He caught 16 passes last season. He is considered raw with a huge upside.

Round 4/124 - Owen Marecic, FB, 6-0, 246, Stanford

Marecic was a two-way starter at Stanford, playing middle linebacker as well as fullback. He will play fullback for the Browns.

Round 5/137 - Buster Skrine CB/KR, 5/91/2, 186, Tennessee-Chattanooga

Skrine can fly, and he can cover. He ran a 4.22 40-yard dash, a school record.

Round 5/150 - Jason Pinkston, OT, 6-31/2, 317, Pittsburgh

Pinkston could challenge injury-prone Tony Pashos for a starting job at right tackle.

Round 7/248 - Eric Hagg, S, 6-11/2, 209, Nebraska

Hagg is a safety and can play the nickel. He had five interceptions in 2010 and named MVP at Nebraska.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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