The number of draft picks in General Manager Tom Heckert’s arsenal has reached the teens.
The Browns were awarded four compensatory picks, the NFL announced Monday. They now have 13 selections in this year’s draft, which runs April 26-28.
The Browns received two picks in the sixth round (Nos. 204 and 205) and two in the seventh round (Nos. 245 and 247).
Compensatory picks are given to teams that suffer net losses in free agency the previous year.
In 2011, the Browns signed running back Brandon Jackson, cornerback Dimitri Patterson and safety Usama Young in free agency. They also lost safety Abram Elam, linebackers Matt Roth and Jason Trusnik, wide receiver Chansi Stuckey, fullback Lawrence Vickers, offensive lineman Floyd Womack and cornerback Eric Wright.
The league began distributing compensatory picks in 1994. Before this year, the Browns had been awarded a compensatory pick only twice. Last year, they received a seventh-round pick, which they used to draft safety Eric Hagg 248th overall.
Thirty-two compensatory picks were awarded to 15 teams this year. The Browns, New York Jets and Green Bay Packers received the most with four each.
Compensatory selections cannot be traded.
In 1999, the Browns used 11 picks — the most they have used since the league adopted a seven-round draft format in 1994.
The following is a breakdown of the Browns’ 13 picks in this year’s draft: first round, No. 4 overall and No. 22 from the Atlanta Falcons; second round, No. 37; third round, No. 67; fourth round, No. 100 plus No. 118 from the Falcons; fifth round, No. 139, plus No. 160 from the Denver Broncos; sixth round, No. 204 and No. 205, both compensatory; and seventh round, No. 211, plus compensatory picks No. 245 and No. 247.
Back to Northeast Ohio
Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus will make a stop in Berea during his tour of pre-draft visits with NFL teams.
Mercilus, an Akron native and Garfield High School graduate, is to visit the Browns on Sunday, he told the Beacon Journal in a phone interview Monday. He is also planning to meet with several other organizations next month.
“I want to say there’s about five or six teams that I’m flying to,” said Mercilus, who led the nation with 16 sacks and nine forced fumbles last season as a junior. “We’ll see how it goes. It’s all up in the air, up for grabs ’cause after free agency, needs change. We’ll see once April 26 comes who picks me up.”
With the Browns acquiring defensive ends Frostee Rucker and Juqua Parker in free agency, the chances they would draft Mercilus, a projected first-round pick, have seemingly decreased. Still, they will host him this weekend as they continue to explore countless scenarios leading up to the draft.
Browns at league meetings
Five of the Browns’ bigwigs are representing the organization this week in Palm Beach, Fla., at the annual NFL owners meetings, which end Wednesday.
Heckert, President Mike Holmgren, coach Pat Shurmur, Executive Vice President of Business Operations Bryan Wiedmeier and Vice President of Football Administration Matt Thomas form the Browns’ contingent, a team spokesman said. Owner Randy Lerner is not attending the meetings, the spokesman said.
The GM speaks
In an interview at the league meetings, Heckert told the Plain Dealer that the Browns will consider trading down from the No. 4 pick, though probably not more than four spots.
“We’re most likely going to stay at No. 4, and we know we’ll get a really good player there,” Heckert said. “But there’s about five guys we really like, so we would consider trading down — but probably only to five, six, seven or eight.”
Heckert also confirmed that the Browns pursued wide receivers Josh Morgan and Pierre Garcon, a Mount Union product, in free agency. Both players signed with the Washington Redskins shortly after hitting the open market.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/browns.abj.