BEREA — The second day of the three-day NFL Draft didn’t have nearly the buzz of the first for the Browns.
One minor trade — not involving Colt McCoy. No college football superstars. No receivers.
But Friday wasn’t without highlights for the Browns. They continued to remake the offense with California right tackle Mitchell Schwartz at
No. 37, took little-known Cincinnati defensive tackle John Hughes at No. 87 after a trade down and introduced the first-round superstars, running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden, to Northeast Ohio.
After two days and four picks, the Browns added three offensive starters. Richardson and Schwartz (6-foot-53⁄8, 318 pounds) appear locks to start from Day 1, and Weeden is likely to join them in the opener. Hughes will provide depth and rest for starters Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor.
“When you add three pieces like we have, we feel like we’re making strides,” coach Pat Shurmur said of the offense.
The only thing missing for desperate fans was a high-profile receiver. Or any receiver.
“We could’ve taken one,” general manager Tom Heckert said. “We don’t want to take a receiver just to take a receiver.”
Perhaps the day’s biggest news was the non-news that McCoy not only hadn’t been traded but the Browns hadn’t tried to trade him. The possibility remains, but Heckert and Shurmur said the decision hadn’t been made.
“We haven’t done anything about anything,” Shurmur said. “We haven’t done anything in regards to Colt.”
The same can be said for a needed receiver.
The Browns had their chance in the second round, but passed on Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill, South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery, Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles and LSU’s Rueben Randle in favor of Schwartz. The Browns had targeted a right tackle at No. 37 when they left the building Thursday night and didn’t waver.
“There were some guys we liked, but we like Mitchell better,” said Heckert, who chose Schwartz over Georgia tackle Cordy Glenn and Ohio State tackle Mike Adams.
After Thursday’s glamour, the Browns focused Friday on the trenches.
“We got two big, physical, tough guys,” Shurmur said. “Nothing you do in the backend works unless you always address offensive and defensive lines.”
The Browns’ day ended when they selected Hughes with the 87th pick late in the night. They sent the No. 67 pick to Denver for Nos. 87 and 120, because Heckert has multiple needs to address, wanted an extra fourth-round pick and thought Hughes would still be available 20 picks later.
Hughes, who is from Columbus, didn’t expect to be drafted until today. Instead of his family watching the draft, they will have a cookout to celebrate.
“He’s a big, powerful, tough guy,” Heckert said, calling him a run stuffer. “You can’t have enough defensive linemen.”
Hughes (6-2½, 309 pounds) was ranked the 40th-best defensive tackle in the draft by ESPN’s Mel Kiper and labeled a “late draftable pick” by Pro Football Weekly.
The day began with much more excitement.
Richardson and Weeden flew in from New York and Oklahoma, respectively, and took the podium to get their picture taken with their No. 1 jerseys.
“Just to let you know how I’m feeling, I haven’t been able to sleep,” Richardson said. “I am just so excited to be here. I love the feeling.”
Weeden and Richardson shared the podium, as the promise of a brighter future for the franchise was on display. President Mike Holmgren and Shurmur took it in from the back of the media room.
“Yeah, there is a lot of pressure that goes along with being a quarterback and running back in the NFL,” Weeden said. “I think it is going to be a fun ride.”
While fans may have felt a letdown with the trade and without a receiver the Browns were celebrating.
“I think we’ve added three players that we expect to come in and compete to start and contribute immediately,” Shurmur said. “We got a running back, a quarterback and a right tackle.”
It’s too early to tell if the rookies will be teammates with McCoy.
Heckert said he hadn’t made a call to any teams regarding McCoy, while Shurmur talked to McCoy on Friday afternoon. He took a planned trip to Dallas for the weekend.
“He’s fine,” Shurmur said. “I plan on Colt being here Monday as part of the offseason program. We drafted a quarterback to come in and compete with him, at this point. That’s where it’s at.”
The trade market for McCoy could be slow, but some sort of deal could likely be reached. He was a third-round pick in 2010, No. 85 overall, and is 6-15 as a starter. He’s undersized at 6-1, lacks arm strength and may only fit in the West Coast Offense.
The Browns could choose to keep him as Weeden’s backup and jettison veteran Seneca Wallace. Thaddeus Lewis, entering his third year, is the other quarterback on the roster. McCoy is signed through 2013 for less than $600,000 per season.
If the Browns keep McCoy, they will have to mend their relationship.
It soured after McCoy’s father, Brad, ripped the team for allowing Colt to return to the game after suffering a concussion on a vicious hit from Steelers linebacker James Harrison. Then Friday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Browns told McCoy before the draft they wouldn’t take a quarterback in the first round.
“That’s completely false,” Heckert said.
Shurmur said the team doesn’t consult its players about the draft and termed the report “ridiculous.”
“I want to be strong about the no,” he said.
The Browns have seven picks today in the final four rounds, including two in the fourth — Nos. 100 and 120. Heckert said he’s open to drafting a receiver or two, but the fit hasn’t been right.
He said there were three elite receivers in the entire draft — Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd and Kendall Wright — and when they were gone by No. 22, he decided to wait and see who’d be available later.
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