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NFL Draft 2011: Transcript from press conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 29, 2011

Browns coach Pat Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert met with reporters tonight after they made both of their second-round selections in the 2011 NFL Draft. Here is a transcript from the press conference:

Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert press conference 4-29-11

Pat Shurmur

(On lockout returning) -- “I think we took advantage of it because we were allowed to talk and communicate with our players. We felt like it was a good few hours where we got an opportunity to communicate with especially some of the guys that I hadn’t had much communication with, so from that stand point it was positive. Now we’re back to lockout status so we’ll just deal with it like we’ve been until the last couple days.”

Pat Shurmur

(On if players received playbooks) -- “Some coaching materials were given to guys that were here.”

Tom Heckert

(On Jabaal Sheard) -- “He’s a good football player we think he can play the run, he obviously can rush the passer. I think he was the defensive player of the year this year in the Big East. He’s a really good player. He was a guy we targeted a long, long time ago and we were happy he was there. We were a little nervous about it but we’re glad he was there.”

Tom Heckert

(On if Sheard had a first round rating) -- “It was border line right in there, but he was a guy we really liked. He was really highly rated on our defensive line board.”

Pat Shurmur

(On Sheard getting to quarterback) -- “He wasn’t defensive player of the year for no reason. He’s a very, very productive guy, he has pass rush ability and he’s one of those guys that can play the run. He finds a way to make plays and he’s got some instincts that we feel like are important for a guy to be a productive defensive player especially on the edge.”

Pat Shurmur

(On if Wannstedt developed Sheard to be a pro-style player) -- “I don’t know that but Dave’s obviously had great success developing defensive players. We did not talk at that time about Jabaal.”

Tom Heckert

“I did, yes, I did talk to him. He was saying he loved him as a player. He really did, he loved him. Actually they have another defensive end there too and he liked them both a lot.”

Tom Heckert

(On Sheard’s situation at the art gallery) -- “I don’t want to get into all that, I know an awful lot about it. I didn’t listen to the conference call. I don’t know what he said about it and I’ll let him speak for himself, but we’re completely fine with it. We talked to a ton of people, I mean a ton of people. Pat’s talked to a bunch of people. I’ve talked to a bunch of people. We couldn’t find one person to say anything negative about this kid.”

Tom Heckert

(On moving from 3-4 to 4-3 defense) -- “It just got a lot easier, I know that, so obviously you need defense tackles and defensive ends and we’ve addressed that. You’ve just got to get players and I think we’ve got two really good ones.”

Pat Shurmur

(On Taylor taking double teams and playing side by side with Sheard) -- “There’s a good chance they can play side-by-side. Again, you have big defensive tackles that have a chance to play the run that have explosiveness and then can create some pass rush. That’s what you get with Phil, and then on the edge we’re used to, the places that we’ve been Tom and I, you have a guy that can get to the passer when it’s time, when they’re throwing the ball so we’ve got two guys that we feel like can do the things we’re looking for.”

Tom Heckert

(On the James Harrison comparison) -- “During the whole work out process some team worked him out as a linebacker, obviously a 3-4 team. I think that’s the kind of guys we’re looking for. Guys that can rush the passer, so he can play in a 3-4 or a 4-3.”

Tom Heckert

(On Sheard’s aggressiveness) -- “This kid plays hard, he really does. He reminded us of like Pat said there’re a few guys that I don’t want to name names but this guy brings a lot to the table like the guys we’ve been around. He’s 265 and he can play the run and he can also rush the passer, but he plays hard.”

Pat Shurmur

“I promised you that Phil (Taylor) was big and I promise you that he’s aggressive.”

Tom Heckert

(On if drafting for the 4-3) -- “I think just from that I’ve been around it a lot more, obviously and I don’t think it’s a whole lot different drafting for a 3-4, different types of player, but I do think Jabaal if we were in the 3-4, he’d probably be picked where we picked him and for us at least because I do think he can do both.”

Pat Shurmur

(On Greg Little) -- “He has got a lot of the attributes you’re looking for in a receiver. He can beat bump and run. He’s extremely good at catching the football. When’s he’s in a crowd or he hasn’t created separation, he’ll fight for the ball and make a catch. He’s got a lot of what you’re looking for. He finds a way to separate. He’s got size, if you just watch him he finds a way to get in the end zone and I think that’s the something that’s very critical for a receiver, a skill player of his caliber.”

Pat Shurmur

(On concerns with Little’s layoff) -- “He’ll have fresh legs.”

Tom Heckert

(On drafting character players) -- “I’ve said it a hundred times, you have to weigh each case on its own merit, and then you have to talk to them and talk to enough people and feel comfortable with them. There’s a bunch of guys that we passed on that we liked as players, that we just didn’t feel comfortable with and we feel comfortable with these two guys and everybody we take we obviously feel comfortable with but we didn’t have any concerns.”

Tom Heckert

(On if they had a certain position in mind with the second second round pick) -- “No. We were talking about, we had three guys and luckily for us we had one of them left, two guys went before us. They all three were different positions.”

Tom Heckert

(On if Little had a workout here) -- “Yes.”

Pat Shurmur

“We spent a lot of time with him. We went down to his individual work out. We had time with him here in the building. All the other interactions you have during the scouting process.”

Pat Shurmur

(On the attributes for receiver in west coast office) -- “You’re looking for a guy that’ll be able to beat bump and run, you’re looking for a guy that when he gets down the field will catch the football and you’re looking for a guy that has those instincts to get in the end zone. Beyond all that, you’re always looking for guys that are bigger, stronger and faster, and I think he’s got a lot of that. We’re looking for him to come in and make an impact.”

Pat Shurmur

(On Little’s diva reputation) -- “I wasn’t concerned about it. Again, we feel like we’ve done do diligence on these guys and their character and we feel like they’re going to be a good fit.”

Tom Heckert

(On if they knew they would take a defensive end with the first second round pick) -- “No, it really didn’t matter. There were other positions that we liked too but luckily, Jabaal was there because he was our top guy at the time.”

Tom Heckert

(On realizing a need for defensive linemen in the draft) -- “The other two guys weren’t at any of those positions.  The other two guys that we would have considered at our pick, they weren’t at those positions, so that’s just how it fell.”

Tom Heckert

(On if Sheard was the top pass rusher on the board) -- “He was one of them, but we don’t just do pass rushers.  As defensive ends, he was our top defensive end, yes.”

Pat Shurmur

(On what makes a good west coast receiver and how Little fits that mold) -- “I think going back to the characteristics that I talked about, being able to separate and then being able to consistently able to catch the football, whether you are running by yourself or in a crowd.  He has the size to go up and get a ball when there’s a defender around him.  The one thing he has been able to display as well is his ability to catch the ball and run with it.  I think those are all things we are looking for.”

Tom Heckert

(On what Sheard does best as a pass rusher) -- “He is very versatile. A lot of college guys, they usually have only one move.  This guy can go from speed to power.  He can do a lot of things.  He can come inside, he can beat you around the edge, but he can power you too.  I think he is a very knowledgeable pass rusher.  He knows what he is doing.”

Tom Heckert

(On if Little is a better talent than where he was drafted) -- “We hope so.  Obviously, we liked him, but time will tell on that one.”

Tom Heckert

(On how Sheard is against the run) -- “We think he is fine.  Obviously, we think he plays well.  He’s strong enough, he’s big enough and he’s good.”

Tom Heckert

(On a chance to trade back into the third round) -- “It is a possibility.  If you guys let me leave (joking).”

Tom Heckert

(On his first thoughts of Sheard when watching him on tape) -- “The first thing that jumped out at me is what Pat said, this guy plays hard.  He really does.  He is flying around and he makes a ton of plays.  I think his effort and his athletic ability, he just makes a ton of plays versus the run and versus the pass. It just jumps out at you.  That was the first thing I saw.”

Pat Shurmur

“When you turn on the film and watch a guy you don’t want to go too long before you say, ‘Wow that was good.’ I think he has that explosiveness where he will have a way to be productive.  I think that’s what stuck out to me and it kind of baits you into watching more.  I’m an offensive guy, but when you start watching that you say ‘Wow okay, okay.’ Then you go on and look at it further.  My first interaction with him on tape, that’s what I saw.”

Tom Heckert

(On Sheard’s elbow surgery and if it’s a problem) -- “He played with it and it was bothering him so he thought it was best to get it fixed.  No, it’s not.  It’s healing well and we have no issue with that.”

Tom Heckert

(On Sheard being the first of a few pass rushers they will draft this year) -- “That’s a good question.  I guess we will have to see how it goes.  There are some guys that we liked and hopefully we get Jayme (Mitchell) back.  We really like Jayme too so that’s a top priority for us.  We will see how this thing works out, but we do like some guys here and I wouldn’t say we wouldn’t draft another guy.”

Tom Heckert

(On the role that Marcus Benard will have in the 4-3) -- “This is probably the worst thing for our coaching staff.  They haven’t seen our players up close and on the field.  They have asked my opinion on those things.  He can rush the passer, we know that.  It’s where he is going to play in a base defense.  That, I think they just want to wait and see how they are going to use him and how he fits just by looking at him athletically.  He could be a SAM linebacker for us or he could be a defensive end.  I am used to some undersized guys so he would be a little undersized at defensive end, but I think he can do it.  I think the coaches are going to wait and see what they think about that.”

Tom Heckert

(On if Benard can be a situational rusher) -- “There is no doubt about that.  He can do that.”

Pat Shurmur

(On if teams he has been with have used smaller defensive ends) -- “Most of my history has been with Tom so I would say we have a similar background in that regard.  It’s not uncommon and pro football has become very situational.  You get to a third down or an obvious passing situation, you see a bunch of guys run in there that can rush the passer and I don’t think that’s uncommon.”

Tom Heckert

(On if his draft picks add toughness to the defense) -- “I don’t think there is any question about it.  I think they both bring that and I think that Greg Little does too.  I don’t know how much you have seen of this guy, but if you see this guy in person he is a big guy.  I think he was 230 when was in here and he is almost 6-3 and he is though.  I think that is one of the big positives I saw in Greg.  When he catches the ball, he tries to hurt you.  He is really good in that aspect.  I think all three guys bring a lot of toughness to our team.”

Tom Heckert

(On how Little compares to A.J Green and Julio Jones) -- “They are really different guys.  Those guys are really good players and we think Greg is too, but Greg is a lot bigger and I don’t know if he is quite as fast, but he is a good player too.  I don’t know if it’s a great comparison.”

Tom Heckert

(On if it was hard to evaluate Little because of his layoff) -- “I think we talked about it in the pre-draft thing where it’s not hard to evaluate him, it’s just older tape.  You’re just not watching this year’s tape.  It’s the same tape just a different year.  Then you look at the workouts and everything.  I thought his personal workout was outstanding so it’s really not.”

Pat Shurmur

(On how Little compares to the current Browns receivers) -- “It is going to be hard for me to compare them properly until I see them all working together.  You talk about Mohamed (Massaquoi) and you talk about Brian Robiskie, you are looking at guys that have size.  I think that’s how I would compare them and you are looking for guys that will do a fine job of catching the ball.  Where they are going to be different is going to be when I get an opportunity to see them all working together.”

Pat Shurmur

(On if Little can be a number1 receiver) -- “We feel like he has a chance to be.”

Tom Heckert

(On if Little can become a homerun hitter with a lack of numbers at UNC) -- “Numbers wise, I don’t know if you guys watch, but I don’t know if it’s a true west coast offense.  They run a lot of similar stuff.  With him they ran a lot of shallow-cross stuff so that’s why I think his averages were down a little bit.  I think he can get down the field and like Pat said, one of the best things he can do is go up and get the ball.  On deep balls, he can go up with the defenders on him and he can make the play.  He did it a lot. I think as a homerun hitter, I don’t know exactly the terminology, but I think he can make big plays for us.  I really do.”

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