Browns General Manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur shared their thoughts Friday after the second day of the NFL draft:
Q) None of those wide receivers appealed to you?
A) Heckert – “There’s some guys we liked, but we obviously liked Mitchell Schwartz better so we decided to go that direction.”
Q) Why Schwartz over some of the other tackles that were around?
A) Heckert – “We just thought he was a better football player. He’s a big kid, he’s athletic, he plays left tackle, and he’s played right tackle in the past. He’s a very, very solid guy; he played well at the Senior Bowl. We just think he’s a good player.”
Q) Why did you trade back in the third round?
A) Heckert – “There’s a couple guys on the board we liked and we thought they would be there later on. So we decided to get another fourth round pick because there’s some other positions we think that are pretty stacked up well for us in the fourth round and we can get a couple players. To be honest we were holding our breath a little bit there with this last one, I was getting a little concerned I shouldn’t have made the trade. It came down, John was still there and so we did that.”
A) Shurmur – “It ended up working out in our favor and it was good because we got a fourth-round pick out of the aggravation we had waiting.”
A) Heckert – “I was questioning myself there.”
Q) You seem deep on the defensive line. What do you like about DL John Hughes?
A) Heckert – “John’s a big, powerful, tough guy. I think he’s really good. It’s the same as the offensive line; you can’t have enough defensive linemen. The more you can get the better off you’re going to be. He’ll come in and compete and take some reps away from Phil (Taylor) and Rubes (Ahytba Rubin).”
A) Shurmur – “We ended up today drafting two big, physical, tough guys that are going to help us up front. Nothing you do in the back end works unless you address the offensive and defensive line. We feel good about that.”
Q) Coming out of this draft without another wide receiver?
A) Heckert – “We still have some picks left and there’s some guys we do like. We’ll see what happens. After tomorrow, then we can probably discuss if we don’t have any.”
Q) Any further talks about QB Colt McCoy today?
A) Heckert – “No. Nope.”
Q) Was the Schwartz pick for the starting right tackle from day one?
A) Heckert – “Yeah.”
A) Shurmur – “We’re going to play him on the right side and bring him along and see what he can do. We’re projecting that he’ll be a right tackle.”
Q) One report said he was the best pick in the draft to plug in right away at right tackle. Is that right?
A) Heckert – “That’s kind of how we felt. With some of these guys maybe had a little better athletic ability, but this guy playing both sides, he’s a very smart player. I think he’s going to be a good player for us.”
Q) Do you need a backup for Joe Thomas?
A) Heckert – “That’s always nice to do that, but we didn’t draft him because he’s played left tackle before. We thought he was going to be the best right tackle for us.”
Q) You mentioned last night you might talk about Colt.
A) Heckert – “We haven’t had any other talks. I haven’t talked to one person about him. There’s nothing else to talk about.”
Q) Do you plan on Colt being around for minicamp and training camp?
A) Shurmur – “I plan on Colt being here Monday as part of the off-season program. There’s really no story there right now. We’ve drafted a quarterback to come in and compete with him at this point and that’s where it’s at. I spoke with Colt today. He had planned to go back to Texas to this weekend. He had a function he was doing on the way down. He got his full workouts in Monday through Thursday. There’s nothing to it. He’s not here this weekend and I expect him back Monday.”
Q) Entering the draft, a lot of people thought receiver was pretty high as a need. Did you not see it that way?
A) Heckert – “I don’t think we came in and said either. He was the best guy. We didn’t come in and say right tackle was more of a need than wide receiver or really anything. We know what our needs are, but we don’t sit there and prioritize them and like ‘We have to get this position.’ We don’t do it that way. We set our board as how they are as players. We don’t set it by need.”
Q) Did anybody in the organization tell Colt you would not take a quarterback in the first round?
A) Heckert – “No.”
A) Shurmur – “That’s absolutely false.”
A) Heckert – “Completely false. Never happened.”
A) Shurmur – “And these are two of the three people that would be able to say that and I think you spoke to the other one. For the record, we don’t consult our players about what we’re doing in the draft. I think it’s ridiculous to assume we would say those things. I just want to be strong about the no.
Q) With three offensive players in the first 37, to what degree has the offense improved?
A) Shurmur – “We’ve added three players that we expect to come in to compete to start and to contribute what we hope to be immediately. We’ve got a running back, a quarterback and a right tackle. With some of the changes that were made up front this year, we felt we needed to address the right tackle situation. It’s easy to say you’re going to plug him in and play him, but he’s got to learn to play right tackle in this league. We think he can do it. We all know what Trent Richardson brings to the table as a runner and we were really impressed with what we saw with Brandon Weeden. We feel like we got three players that are going to be there for us.”
Q) Is it possible that Eric Steinbach might return?
A) Heckert – “I haven’t thought about it in a while. I haven’t talked to Eric or his agent in a couple weeks. Never say never. I don’t know exactly where he’s at or what his deal is. No, really haven’t made a decision on that either way, but I have not talked to him, either. We’ll kind of wait and see how that goes.”
Q) With Day Two done, how much better did the team get?
A) Heckert – “We feel a lot. We think Mitch is going to be a really good player for us and we will improve at that position. John, whether he comes in and starts, we have two really good players at defensive tackle. Any time, especially on the defensive line, you need three or four guys to rotate. We talked about this last year; our defensive line was playing a lot of snaps. I don’t know if we want that necessarily. Now we have a couple extra guys at the end position and now tackle where we can do a nice rotation.”
Q) Did you talk to Alex Mack about Mitchell Schwartz?
A) Heckert – “Yeah, we did and he was all fired up. Mitchell was talking to us a lot more about Alex than Alex was talking about Mitchell. They’re good friends and they talk whenever Alex goes back there. He obviously had very good things to say about him.”
Q) Is there any frustration that you haven’t gotten a receiver in two days?
A) Heckert – “There’s not frustration, no, we could have taken a receiver. We don’t want to take a receiver just to take a receiver. There’s not a frustration. We think we got really good players. I guess if you didn’t get a receiver and you didn’t get a good player you might, but we’re happy with the guys we took.”
Q) Can QB Brandon Weeden make the receivers you have better?
A) Heckert – “Yeah, he’s a quarterback whose accuracy has already been proven at the college level. Hopefully that’s the case.”
Q) Can you talk about the offensive line now with the addition of Schwartz and the other offensive picks from Day One?
A) Shurmur – “We all know the players we have here. And I think when you add a good young player who can play tackle – right and left tackle – I think it all goes hand in hand. A good line that works together, a running back that’s explosive and then skill players that are efficient and hopefully explosive. I think it all works together. So what you try to do is get as many of those pieces in place so that you can be an offense that’s efficient and explosive. The end result is scoring points and winning games. So, that’s what we’re trying to do. And when you add three pieces like we have in the first two days here, we feel like we’re making strides.”
Q) Coming into this draft, it was believed it was top-heavy with receivers. Did you see the draft the same way?
A) Heckert – “Um, no. Not really to be honest with you, no. We had three guys that we thought were legit guys that come into play. Then after that…we’re not saying we didn’t like some guys. There are still some guys we think we have a chance to get tomorrow that can come in here in and help us. But no, we thought it was pretty much the normal type of thing where you always have three, four guys that everybody pretty much has a consensus that these guys are good players. Then after that, you’re going to get different opinions. But I think everybody else is just what and see types on these guys.”
Q) What did you really like about John Hughes? You alluded to you might have taken him earlier.
A) Heckert – “Yeah, we’re debating on whether to stay in there and take him. He was the guy we were going to take if we stayed there. We just thought we could get lucky and get him later on. He’s a big physical guy. And every year you guys read in those draft books – I see you down there – the stack and shed. This guy can stack and shed and he makes plays for a defensive tackle. Some guys can hold the point and just be big bodies in there. But this guy gets off and makes tackles. He’s not a great pass rusher yet – I think five or six sacks this year, so he’s not a great pass rusher, I think he can get better there. But he’s a really, really good run player.”
Q) A lot of the draft people thought Pat Hughes would go much later in the draft. What’s all that about?
A) Heckert - “I really don’t know. I don’t know. He’s just a Cincinnati…It’s kind of funny because everyone was talking about Wolf, the other kid that was playing there and we liked (Hughes). And I haven’t talked to anybody about him yet, I’m sure I’ll talk tonight. So I don’t know where other scouts had him or other teams had him. I really don’t.”