Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 4/27/12
BEREA -- The Browns were bold, and they believe it'll be beautiful. That was the result of an aggressive Thursday night, as the Browns again celebrated in April after finishing round one of the NFL Draft with a new running back and quarterback. The guard has changed (again) -- at least on offense, and the folks who made the decisions were ebullient. "If you don't sense the excitement in my voice," coach Pat Shurmur said, "then you're missing it." That came after the Browns moved up one spot in the first round, from four to three, to ensure they would get Alabama running back Trent Richardson. Later the Browns surprised many by taking a quarterback who will be 29 in October: Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State. And they were thrilled. "Brandon was by far the best player for us," General Manager Tom Heckert said. "There really wasn't an afterthought." "As the coach sitting here, if every move you make you can say you're getting better, than that's what you got to do," Shurmur said. "We felt that having him on our team, we felt he would make us better and make the position better." The Colt McCoy era is over -- or will be once the Browns trade or release McCoy. "To be honest, we haven't thought about that," Heckert said. "We really haven't. I'm not trying to elude (the question). But I think that's something that we'll talk about tonight or tomorrow." The implication was clear. There will be another "new start" in Cleveland, where 16 quarterbacks have started since 1999. Weeden would be the fifth different opening day starter in the past five seasons. The Browns said they never had a debate between Ryan Tannehill or Weeden, and they said several times they drafted Weeden to be a starter. They believed in him so strongly that they did not want to take the risk that he would be there with the 37th pick and chose him 22nd. "When we went through the process of evaluating him, we became very fond of him," Shurmur said. "We all did. From (owner) Randy (Lerner) and (president) Mike (Holmgren) to Tom and myself. We came away saying this is a guy we'd like to have on our team." At 28 years and 195 days, Weeden is the oldest player ever selected in the NFL "common" draft, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He also is only five years younger than Tim Couch, the "franchise" quarterback selected in 1999. But the Browns did not care. Heckert said he is the starter. Weeden completed 69.5 percent of his throws in college, and his last two years averaged 329 and 363.6 yards per game passing -- with Justin Blackmon his prime target. He threw 71 touchdown passes his final two seasons. The knock on Weeden is that he ran a spread offense and operated out of the shotgun, with most of his reads covering one-half of the field. He will have to adjust, and if it takes him a year or two to complete the adjustment he'll be 31 or 32 when he "gets it." But he's big, strong-armed and "experienced" -- the polite way to say he's a guy who tried major league baseball and pitched in the minors from 2002-2006 before returning to play college football. "I wasn't concerned about his age," Shurmur said. "I was impressed with his maturity, the way he handled himself. And also watching his productivity on tape." Richardson was the team's target with its first pick, to the point that the Browns traded picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds to Minnesota to move up one spot to take Richardson. "He can do all three things," Heckert said. "He can run the ball. He can catch the ball. And he can block. He is a tough, tough kid. I think you see that on tape. He's a very good football player. He's a great kid. And he adds toughness to our team." The Browns own the fifth pick in the second round, so they could still wind up with one of the top receivers left. If they want to trade up for another second round pick, they can probably get an offensive lineman they need. Shurmur spent his first season as coach trying to bring along McCoy. He wound up defending him, as McCoy's 5.9 yards per attempt ranked 33rd in a 32-team league. The coach never knew what back he could count on, as Peyton Hillis had a drama-filled year, and Brandon Jackson and Montario Hardesty were hurt. Now he will have to bring along a rookie quarterback, and will count on a rookie running back. The Browns chose a running back and quarterback in the first round for the first time since 1957 -- when they got a guy named Jim Brown. Add more pieces as the draft continues and the Browns offense -- which ranked 29th in the league -- might be completely transformed. "I don't know if we've transformed," Heckert said. "I think we've gotten better. And I think that's the goal."
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