Browns General Manager Tom Heckert discussed the upcoming NFL Draft during a news conference this morning. Heckert once again emphasized that he'll stick to his preferred draft strategy by picking the best available players. Here are some of the highlights:
- Heckert said the Browns believe Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers' surgically repaired right knee is OK. "Our doctors have looked at him 100 times," Heckert said. "He went to the (NFL's medical) re-check. We've done our due diligence. I don't want to get into all (this) medical stuff, but, yeah, we think his knee is gonna be all right."
- When asked if the Browns are concerned about Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones' surgically repaired foot, Heckert said: "I think there's a zillion guys that have medical (concerns), just some stuff. We're aware of everything and those guys. I think we're fine with that." Heckert also said Jones helped his cause by running with a stress fracture in his foot in February at the NFL Scouting Combine. "That shows how tough the kid is," Heckert said.
- When asked how he would characterize the degree of risk that North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn, who missed last season because of an NCAA suspension, presents, Heckert said: "I don't think it's a risk," Heckert said. "Obviously, it's a thing you'd rather not have to deal with. You'd like to see him play this year, and unfortunately you can't. I don't think it's a risk. Obviously, you're basing it off last year's tape. To be honest, even for the seniors, we always look at two years of tape anyway. ... You have one less year to look at for him. You just have to kind of use your judgment."
- Heckert on LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson: "He's a very good football player. He is. He's a rare, rare guy 'cause of his size alone. Size and speed, I don't know when the last guy that came out -- (Oakland Raiders cornerback) Nnamdi (Asomugha) was a big guy, but I don't think he ran like Patrick did. So he's a rare guy, a rare athlete and he's a very good football player." Heckert also emphasized the importance of having depth at corner. "You're playing close to 60 percent nickel, so you're gonna have three corners on the field 60 percent of the time," he said. "If you don't have three of them, they're gonna find the one. They're going to or you've gotta roll coverage that way and you're putting a guy on an island. The more cover guys you can have, the better off you are."
- Heckert defended Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who's been labeled as a one-year wonder who sometimes takes plays off. "The stuff that's being thrown out, it really bothers me," Heckert said. "Some of the stuff you hear about is legit, but they toss around a lot of stuff way too easily. I do think it affects the kids. I personally don't like it. As a scouting (community) in the NFL, we bring it on ourselves. It's not a good thing. Scouts talk too much about their opinion to other people, and I don't think they should. But no. It's not an issue for us."
- Fairley played last season, but Quinn didn't, so why is Quinn still hanging around the sixth-overall-pick bubble in everyone's perception? Heckert replied, "I wouldn't say everybody's perception."
- Heckert didn't rule out trading up or down, but he said trading up is probably not realistic. "I would say it's probably unlikely, but I have talked to some teams ahead of us just to see," Heckert said. "That's probably a tougher thing to do from our situation. We'd hate to give up picks to do something like that."
- Heckert downplayed the widespread thought that Browns President Mike Holmgren picked quarterback Colt McCoy in last year's draft. "That's completely not true, though," Heckert said. "Colt McCoy was the guy that was there when we picked. He was our highest-rated guy. Did Mike like him? Yes. Did I like him? Yes. Did Eric (Mangini) like him? Yeah. I think that's blown a little bit out of proportion."