Cleveland Browns GM Hints Trent Richardson Will Not Be Team's No. 4 Pick

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIApril 19, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 05:  Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against Ryan Baker #22 and Kevin Minter #46 of the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert said, "Running backs will score touchdowns no matter who they are."

Heckert was speaking at a press conference on Thursday morning, which aired on ESPN 850 Cleveland (transcript via

The statement came in response to a question about the preference of drafting a running back over a wide receiver due to the higher amount of touches running backs accrue each game.

This argument has been a prominent basis for many who believe the Browns should, in fact, select Richardson with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

On the other hand, Heckert said wide receivers and running backs are equal producers of touchdowns, but admitted that finding a producer of touchdowns at wide receiver is more difficult than at running back.

Heckert emphatically dismissed suggestions of height and character concerns surrounding Justin Blackmon. He also said that Blackmon stacks up, as a prospect, with last season's top receivers, A.J. Green and Julio Jones.

Later in the press conference, Heckert stated he had two guys that he was looking at with the No. 4 pick. Who the Vikings pick could further determine who the Browns end up selecting.

With that said, it leads me to believe the Browns could very well be choosing between offensive tackle Matt Kalil and cornerback Morris Claiborne. Both players are rumored to be of much interest to the Vikings.

Blackmon and Richardson may both be great talents, but who is on top of the Browns' draft board?

Recent reports from Sports Illustrated's Peter King, based off unknown sources, indicated the Browns were choosing between quarterback Ryan Tannehill and wide receiver Justin Blackmon.

However, as hard as it may be to grasp, the Browns may not have interest in any of the offensive playmakers with their No. 4 pick.

The telling statement from Heckert in this conference was when he reminded everyone that the draft was not just about the No. 4 pick, but that the Browns also hold the No. 22 and No. 37 overall selections.

When asked, Heckert reaffirmed his commitment to his personal positional preferences at this point in the draft: cornerback, offensive tackle, defensive end and quarterback.

I don't know how anyone, including ESPN Cleveland commentators, can listen to this press conference and claim Trent Richardson will be the pick as a result of what was discussed.

It is important to listen to what Heckert said.

He downplayed the significance of running backs, and his positional preferences point in the opposite direction of the mainstream opinion that the Browns will select Richardson.

One more week and these questions, and more, will finally be answered.


Follow Mike on Twitter @BigHoagowski