Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 4/20/12
BEREA -- The best hope for the Cleveland Browns sat at a podium Thursday and talked about the teams draft plans.He didnt explain everything, because he cant. But he sure explained a lot. And he did it in a friendly, patient way that brought at least a little belief that it might well work. It has to happen, but at this point in their history the Browns need any sense of belief they can find.Tom Heckert grew up with football. His father Tom was one of the more respected personnel guys in the league, and when he worked for the Miami Dolphins Don Shula trusted his decisions. Earning Shulas trust was no simple matter.Tom the son worked for his father before growing on his own into a respected personnel guy with the Eagles. There, Andy Reid had final say on decisions, so some give credit (and blame) for the Eagles choice to Reid.But Heckert had input.Now Heckert runs the show in Cleveland.Hes a football-oriented guy making sound football choices based on sound logic. At least thats the hope. Just like its the hope that eventually those decisions will yield more wins to a team and fan base that needs every win it can find.The perceived biggest news from Heckerts news conference was that the Browns had their choice for their first pick narrowed down to two players. This sounded big, but in reality its not. The Browns pick fourth and even mountain climbers on the top of Everest know the first two picks will be quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. So essentially the Browns are on the clock with the second pick.If they dont have it narrowed down at this point, theyve not been working.Heckerts most interesting insights dribbled out as he answered questions. There he talked about his philosophy to ensure he gets a guy in the round he should be taken, his philosophy on trading up or down and his feelings about where the Browns are in relation to a possible trade.A year ago, the Browns had jettisoned most of the guys Eric Mangini brought in his first year as coach -- the Kenyon Colemans and Eric Bartons of the world. That made the Browns younger, but left the roster without numbers. Heckert felt one impact player would not have made that much difference, so he traded down out of the sixth spot and (with a trade up) drafted 21st.I wouldnt do that trade this year, he said, adding he has a limit to how far down hed trade.But he will be flexible. Heckert puts a round grade on each player, then tries to ensure said player is taken in the proper round. Which of course requires the cooperation of the other 31 teams.We all know there is a big part of luck in this draft and thats just the way it is, he said.But luck, as they say, is also the residue of design. Heckert admitted making mistakes (a refreshing notion), saying hes traded up to fill a need when he shouldnt have. Its why he does his best to stick to the evaluations.In a perfect world, wed draft a good player at a need position, he said. If it came down to it, it has to be the player over the need.This year Heckert said the Browns have first-round grades on 18 players, and hes confident hell be able to get one of the 18 when they pick 22nd (with Atlantas pick acquired a year ago). If the 18 are gone? Heckert waved his hand behind his head, thumb raised, and said, Get out.As in get out of the 22nd pick, either by moving up to get one of the 18, or moving down to get an extra pick.Heckerts overall goal: Get fast, physical players on defense, and fast guys on offense who can score touchdowns.I think we are on our way with the defense, he said. Do we need more help there? Yes. Offensively, everyone knows it - its not a secret - we need guys that can score points.In two years, the drafts run by Heckert have produced nine starters, four on defense, five on offense (including Colt McCoy). He has traded for or signed three more starters on defense (Chris Gocong, Scott Fujita and Sheldon Brown) and extended the contract of one starter on offense (Joe Thomas) and one on defense (DQwell Jackson).He expects the first three selections in this draft to start. Add another one or two from the mid-to-late rounds and the Browns lineup would have Heckerts stamp.Browns fans are all too familiar with this transition. Every team goes through it when it changes regimes, and change has been the one constant with the Browns. Mangini, Phil Savage, Butch Davis, Dwight Clark all had their methods. None worked, in part because lack of success led to dismissal and starting over -- again and againThirteen years of frustration have boiled down to this reality: The Browns best hope lies in their GM.Some people say (the draft picks) are starting because we arent very good, but that remains to be seen, Heckert said. We disagree with that, we think they are starting because they are good enough to start. If we can keep that up, and thats what our plans are but if you dont, my philosophy about building through the draft doesnt work.So you better draft good players.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Enrique Hernandez ties record with three home runs in Game 5

Marshawn Lynch ejected for shoving referee

WATCH: Kristaps Porzingis denies Carmelo Anthony at rim

Aaron Rodgers undergoes surgery to repair broken collarbone

Groundbreaking for Raiders' new Las Vegas stadium set for next month

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Redskins' Jay Gruden throws tremendous praise Carson Wentz's way

Tigers to hire Ron Gardenhire as manager

Former Cowboys exec: Dak Prescott won't ever be as good as Carson Wentz

Jameis Winston will be full participant in Friday's practice

Tennessee grocery store calls for Butch Jones' firing with amazing cake

Giants owner: McAdoo was not pressured to give up play-calling

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

Nikola Jokic: A throwback superstar for the modern era

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker