All CATEGORIES
☰ Menu
Cleveland Browns

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

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 1, 2011

Browns President Mike Holmgren, General Manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters Saturday to discuss the 2011 NFL Draft. Here is a transcript from the press conference:

Browns President Mike Holmgren, General Manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur  press conference 4-30-11

Pat Shurmur

(On if it is killing him not to be able to coach the new players right now) -- “I don’t know about that. We still got some work left to do with the draft. We had an opportunity to at least talk to all the players that we’ve drafted. We had those few hours the last couple of days to talk to the ones on the team. That’s where we’re at so as we move forward with the year, at some point something will happen.”

Tom Heckert

(On tight end Jordan Cameron) -- “I tell you, we’re really excited about this kid. He obviously, he hasn’t played a whole lot of tight end or football for that matter, but he’s big, he’s super athletic, he’s got really good hands. As you watch him through the year, I know his production was not great, but when he did play, we thought he played very well. He played well at the all-star game, he performed well at the combine. We’re excited. We thought this kid was a top athlete and we’re excited about him.”

Tom Heckert

(On fullback Owen Marecic) -- “Obviously, Owen you know the whole story about him playing both ways. He’s going to be a fullback for us. But he’s a great kid. Super-hard worker. I don’t know if you guys got a chance to talk to him, but he’s a legit fullback. I mean he can lead block, he can catch the ball, he can run the football, but obviously his strength is blocking and catching. We think he’s going to be a great special teams player. And I think Jordan Cameron will be a really special teams player too. He played a lot for Southern California. We think both of those guys will help us on offense and on special teams as well.”

Tom Heckert

(On defensive back Buster Skrine) -- “He’s a kid that is super athletic and he can fly. He really can. He’s a really fast kid. It’s kind of an interesting story. I think he’s had I think, four different position coaches, so I do think he can only get better. I really do. We’re excited to have him. I think he can play outside, he can play inside for us. We think he’s a good player that can run. That’s kind of why we took him.”

Tom Heckert

(On offensive lineman Jason Pinkston) -- “We think he can play, probably if he had to, play left tackle, he could. But, he can play right tackle, he can play guard. I think anytime you can draft an offensive lineman that has that versatility, you’re in good shape. He was another guy that we liked. We obviously traded both our sixths to get up to get and get him. Hopefully he comes in and plays well for us.”

Tom Heckert

(On if versatility was a common thread today) -- “It helps. I don’t think it was a thing where we went in and said, ‘If this guy can’t play two positions or whatever.’ But no, it obviously helps. We talk about it all the time where especially if a lot of these guys are coming in as backups, if they can help you in any other way. If they can help you on special teams, it’s just a huge factor. Where last year and I’ve been in situations in Philadelphia where you have guys that aren’t playing because they’re backups, but they’re not playing on special teams, so they’re sitting on the sidelines and that doesn’t help anybody. Obviously the more you can do, the better off we are.”

Tom Heckert

(On if any of the four players selected today was a surprise where they fell in the draft) -- “I don’t think it’s really any of them. They’re kind of where we thought we could get them and we took them.”

Pat Shurmur

(On trading up for Pinkston) -- “We were looking at the teams that were picking ahead of us. We had projected teams that we thought were going to go offensive line. He was a guy we had targeted and we just didn’t want to risk losing him.”

Tom Heckert

(On if the Browns tendered Lawrence Vickers) -- “We have not said any of those, so when the league year starts up, you’ll know the situation.”

Tom Heckert

(On the future of Vickers) -- “We’ll see when we get back to the league rules. You know once the league starts, we’ll see.”

Tom Heckert

(On projecting Jordan Cameron into an NFL offense) -- “He played a lot. I mean he had 16 catches, but he played an awful lot. He really did. You see him do it. He obviously doesn’t catch the ball every time he’s on the field, but we made a cut-up just to have the thing and there’s like 500 plays. This guy played offense for them.”

Tom Heckert

(On drafting a tight end for the possibility of the future) -- “I think so, but I’m not saying this kid can’t come in here and help us this year. We like this kid. We think he’s talented and there’s been some receivers or tight ends in the past that have come out that have been basketball players or that didn’t have as much. This kid’s got a feel. This kid, he plays. I mean he’s been on the field. It’s not like he’s a one year player. This guy has played football. I don’t think we’re looking at it as, ‘He’s going to help us four years from now.’ We hope he helps us this year.”

Tom Heckert

(On concerns with Skrine’s size) -- “No. Obviously you want six foot guys if you can get them, but at the end of the day you have to draft good football players. Some guys are going to be a little bit undersized, but we like him as a player.”

Tom Heckert

(On Skrine’s speed and if he can play in and out) -- “Yes, he can play in and out and he’s fast, fast. He’s a low 4.3 guy.”

Mike Holmgren

(On what was different about this year’s draft working with Tom Heckert in comparison to last year) -- “I think that I made a decision early on that this was going to be Tom’s draft along with Pat (Shurmur). Last year, I was probably a little more actively involved in it. I was in preliminary meetings of course and in meetings prior to the draft. But when it came down to selections, we talked about it. I was a part of the decision-making, but really this was Tom’s draft. I think the overall draft strategy of the initial trade and then as you can see how we placed people, a priority on filling the roster a little bit without reaching. Without reaching, which is the trick in the draft. I think these guys did a marvelous job. I enjoyed this year’s draft probably a little bit more than last year’s draft. Look after working with Tom, actually working with him and then being with Pat for a while here, I have the utmost confidence in their ability to do a great job in the draft. While it’s still fun for me, I kind of backed off a little bit.”

Mike Holmgren

(On if this is an ‘outside the box’ draft) -- “I wouldn’t put labels on it. I really wouldn’t. I think we have a way and Tom has a way of putting the thing together. We picked the best player available at the time at a position without reaching. That’s the key to a draft. If you can be solid year after year, I don’t think spectacular, but solid year after year and this is a solid way to do it. Then if you hit a spectacular pick, fine. But that’s the way to build and clearly he’s got a clear vision of this. The beauty of it is these two fellas worked very well together. Now the proof is in the pudding. We’ll see down the road, but we’re very, very excited and very, very happy with these picks right now.”

Pat Shurmur

(On drafting physical players this year) -- “I don’t know about this team, but that’s an underlying component to football in general.  You like to have tough guys.  Let’s not ever undersell a guy’s ability to play the game, but if you get tough guys in the building we feel like that’s going to pay dividends.”

Tom Heckert

(On his feeling about the draft) -- “I think we’re really excited.  We really are.  Like Coach (Holmgren) said, ‘Time will tell,’ but right now on paper we’re really happy.  Everyone says before the draft while you’re going through your process of who are the guys you want and you are probably going to take guys you have written down before the draft, but these are the guys that we really wanted.  We’re really excited about it and hopefully we made the right decisions, but we are very, very excited about it.”

Tom Heckert

(On achieving the goal of finding six potential starters in the draft) -- “If you can get six guys that can play and help your football team, that’s great.  Obviously we want all of them to come in here and help us, but if you hit six guys every year you are going to be in pretty good shape for a long time.  Obviously, that’s the goal and we think we did that, but we have to wait and see.”

Tom Heckert

(On signing undrafted free agents this year) -- “It’s not going to happen so it’s going to be a lot different.  Once we pick the seventh pick we’re done.  Whenever that starts up, I guess it will be the same type of flurry, but you won’t have the whole draft.  You will probably be a little more relaxed and it will probably be a little easier at night because it is a hectic time right after the draft.  I don’t think it is a good thing because you want it to happen now, but it will probably be a little more relaxing to do that.”

Mike Holmgren

“When it does happen down the road we can call it the ‘Super Flurry’ because it will happen closer to the time that the season starts, but it will happen.  We’re ready for it whenever it happens, but it probably will be a little hectic in there for a while.”

Mike Holmgren

(On it being a strange week for the draft with the lockout situation) -- “I think our focus was on the draft.  The cookie that the organization was thrown was the ability to get the players in here for a while for one day, phone them and get them in here. Then that was taken away, but we were fortunately in some ways still working on the draft and so we did what we could for a while, but now it is what it is and now we just continue to plan and wait for it for things to settle down a little bit.”

Tom Heckert

(On if there will be more players in free agency) -- “I think it could go both ways.  Somebody that before the draft was thinking getting a position and they end up getting him in the draft.  I don’t think it’s going to change much.  It could work both ways.”

Tom Heckert

(On if not having free agency after makes the draft easier) -- “I really don’t.  When we are in the draft room, we are not really thinking about the college free agency even in a normal situation.  You start thinking about those guys in the seventh round and that’s when you think about, ‘If this guy doesn’t get drafted, he is a guy we want to get.’”

Tom Heckert

(On focus being strictly on preparation for the draft) -- “I really don’t think it’s much of a difference.  I really don’t.”

Pat Shurmur

(On if Pinkston will start at tackle or guard) -- “I think we will probably look at him first as a guard, but we think he’s a guy that will have the ability to play tackle.  As you see him on his tape he was a left tackle at Pitt, but we do feel that he is one of those flexible lineman.”

Tom Heckert

(On if the extra time helps with signing free agents and being ready for it) -- “We were ready before this whole thing happened so we were expecting it to start and it just didn’t.  Nothing has really changed in that aspect except for if we were considering doing something in free agency and we end up drafting a guy then that’s probably a different direction.  Other than that it hasn’t changed a whole lot.”

Tom Heckert

(On if there are still target areas to be addressed) -- “If there are good player’s we’re going to try to get them.  We don’t know what the rules are or who’s going to be available or not.  If there’s a player we think can help us, we will go after him.”

Mike Holmgren

“It kind of shifted.  Normally free agency sets up your draft just a little bit because you’ve dealt with some position stuff and maybe it gets you thinking a little bit differently in the draft.   Now it’s, to my way of thinking, it could be flipped.  Not necessarily, but it could be flipped.  So your draft fell a certain way, you’ve addressed maybe an issue you thought you had to address, and now maybe in free agency it doesn’t become quite as critical.  It’s just kind of flipped.  It doesn’t have to work that way, but probably people are thinking about that a little bit.”

Tom Heckert

(On if Cameron was the guy they wanted at the start of the day) -- “He was 100% the guy we wanted.  It’s kind of funny, but there was a team that was going to take him right behind us, that was pretty close behind us.”

Mike Holmgren

(On if he could dunk like Cameron when he was younger) -- “No, the guy is a special athlete isn’t he?  Wow.”

Mike Holmgren

(On if he watched the tape of Cameron) -- “Yes I did.  I told him when I talked to him now that he’s out of there, my $10 bucks a month going to the school, I’m pulling it out of there.  I’m done (joking).”

Pat Shurmur

“They do have a secret handshake though (joking).”

Mike Holmgren

(On what he sees with Cameron) -- “I think he’s a pup first of all.  He has played as Tom mentioned, but his best years are clearly ahead of him.  The guy was a basketball player, a very good one, and he adapted to the football game which isn’t always easy for a basketball player at a very difficult position.  The tight end position is a very difficult position.  You have to have the skill of a pass receiver and the toughness of a lineman and they are asked to do a lot of things.  He played against really high-level competition and he’s really a good athlete.  He’s kind of lean at 250 lbs. There is a possibility of him getting a little bit bigger perhaps.  The last thing is that he really wants to do this.  He wants to be good at this and I like that type of attitude.  I think there is a tremendous upside here for a young man who started off his life thinking he was probably going to play basketball.”

Tom Heckert

(On Marecic will play linebacker at all) -- “No.  He’s a really good fullback.”

Tom Heckert

(On difference between Cameron and Evan Moore) -- “I do think they are different. Evan played all receiver in college and this guy was actually lined up as a tight end. But size-wise, they are very similar.  Athletes – Evan is a very good athlete too but just the way they play, I do think they are different. I think they are very good. Both of them are very good but I like the fact that if we want two tight ends, whether Ben is in the game or not, you’ve got two 6-5 guys. I just think adding another weapon to the offense can only help.”

Tom Heckert

(On whether Skrine will return kicks) -- “He’s done it but right now, Josh (Cribbs) is our guy.”

Pat Shurmur

(On how quickly young defensive linemen can play at a high level in their first year) -- “We feel as though that is a position where a guy can come in and play, compete and really start in their first year. Every young player in the league, there’s a little bit of a learning curve, but I think with those players, they have a chance to be up and running a little quicker than say, some other position like an offensive lineman or something like that.”

Mike Holmgren

(On mentioning earlier that he wanted a home run hitter in this draft) -- “When I made that statement, I was thinking of a couple guys. Because of how the draft fell, we did absolutely the right thing, first of all. Secondly, in Little, I think you are going to be pleasantly surprised if you don’t know him very well. I think he is a young man who has a tremendous upside. A home run hitter isn’t necessarily everyone going out for a long one. Yards after a catch and a receiver’s ability to break a tackle and move after the catch can be a home run of sorts. This young man can do that. That is where one of his strengths is.  I’m hopeful. We added to our receiver pile. I’ll say this, too – I’ve said this and I’ve said this as long as I’ve been here – I think our receivers are underrated and I don’t know if we know what they can be.  Now we are going to find out because the offense we are going to run is a little bit more geared to getting the ball into their hands. So we will find out, but at this point, I think we have good receivers here and this young man is a nice addition to the group.”

Tom Heckert

(On working with Shurmur during this draft) -- “We had a really good time, we did.  The way we have the draft room set up, we’re not in their stressing.  We have a good time.  Obviously, when it’s our turn to pick or when we are close, then we start but it’s easy.  I guess that is probably the best term for it. We all get along, we’re all thinking the same thing, so it’s just very easy.”

Mike Holmgren

“They all like sushi, I don’t like sushi. They’ve got platters of that stuff all over the place (joking).”

Tom Heckert

“That’s the best part of the draft, bringing the sushi in (joking).”

Mike Holmgren

(On if not being as active in the draft was the reason for not drafting a quarterback) -- “That was the one big fight we had in there (joking).  No don’t write that, I’m teasing. We didn’t do that. I think philosophically, I always like to take a quarterback in the draft late.  But that also had to make sense. This year, based on our roster needs and what we had and what we needed to do, we did the right thing. Now, are we finished adding to the quarterback pile? I don’t think so but maybe we are, but I don’t think so. I think we are going to try and figure out a way to get another guy in here but you do what you have to do when the draft comes up to make good decisions and Pat and Tom did that.”

Tom Heckert

(On if there was a specific position he wanted to address but couldn’t) -- “I don’t think so. We tried to do the best we could but if there was a guy – the tight end could be one of those guys – where someone says, ‘Maybe you didn’t need him,’ but this guy was so head and shoulders above anyone else and everybody was on the same page and said let’s take him.  We’re happy we did.”

Tom Heckert

(On feeling bad for the guys not drafted because of the labor uncertainty) -- “These guys that are not going to get drafted are going to be sitting there going, ‘What do I do now?” It will be different for them, there’s no doubt.”

Tom Heckert

(On if Cameron was head and shoulders better than anybody else at his position or on their board) -- “On our board.”

Tom Heckert

(On why he’s excited about Cameron who did little in college) -- “You keep saying that, but if you watch, he plays in every game.  He had 16 catches so he didn’t catch a ton of balls but he plays. I don’t know how many routes we saw him run in a game, probably 40-50 every game.  He didn’t catch the ball every time but you see him do it and at the all-star games he was really good, so it was easy for us.”

Tom Heckert

(On summarizing how the team was reshaped over past few days) -- “I don’t know if it’s been reshaped. I think we’ve added good football players. We talked about the toughness factor but that’s always been our goal. I think we proved that last year with Joe (Haden) and T.J. (Ward). I just think we got good football players. Obviously we helped our defensive line, which was a concern but we just think we got good football players to come in and help us. We needed to get some young players in here and we think we did that.”

Mike Holmgren

(On advice for guys not drafted that will be in limbo) -- “First of all, stay in terrific shape.  If they fall into that category, then they’ve been watching drafts and they’ve been watching the procedures. Maybe they have friends or brothers or somebody that knows how it works. At some point, they just have to be ready to go. They have to be ready on a pretty short notice to deal with organizations. We can’t do it now. That does not mean that if you fall into that category – and they know who they are, I believe they know who they are – they should just stay in shape, be ready to go and not worry too much about it other than the fact that there is a delay of sorts. Things will kind of clear up, I hope relatively quickly on the procedure. We’ll just see, but that would be my advice to them.”

Pat Shurmur

(On if he feels better about the roster than he did three days ago) -- “I feel extremely good about what we’ve accomplished. We picked players that we feel like are going to have, in most cases, a chance to come in here and start and compete right away. We’ve got guys that we really feel good about and they are players we like. Coach made the comment that we didn’t reach and we felt like if we came out of this draft with a lot of good players, we were going to get better.  I think that is what we’ve accomplished.”

Mike Holmgren

(On his thoughts about the first trade) -- “I went into Tom’s office many, many times and he when he finally said, ‘This is what I think I want to do.’ It’s a big deal because at pick six, there is going to be a good player there. About every morning I’d come in and I’d bang him a little bit for the only reason that I wanted him to make sure that this is what he wanted to do. It was absolutely the right thing to do for our team at this particular time. The trade was kind of an amazing trade when you count it up. Next year we’ve got a one and I believe a four and it’s what we needed. The hard part for you and for my family and anyone else watching the draft is you get to six, ‘Who are we going to pick,’ and you say ‘We’re trading back to 27,’ and everyone goes ‘Ugh.’ You wait and you wait and you wait and you see players come off the board, that’s the hard part. But it was the right thing to do, absolutely the right thing to do.”

Mike Holmgren

(On trading for picks for next year’s draft) -- “There will be a draft next year. I heard someone say, ‘What if there’s no draft?’ Well, what if they take the air out of every football in the United States. Then we can all do something else, I guess (joking).”

Print
Add This

OHIO.COM VIDEOS

Prev Next

Browns news, features and notes

SUBSCRIBE VIA RSS