Mike Holmgren officially put his stamp on the team by drafting cornerback Florida cornerback Joe Haden amid reports of a disagreement with head coach Eric Mangini, who reportedly wanted Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson.
Considered by many the top corner prior to the draft combine where he had a poor 40 time, Haden reclaimed his place among the elite cornerbacks by running a 4.43 at his pro-day. Haden is known as a lockdown cover corner.
The Browns had been linked to everyone from Tennessee Safety Eric Berry to Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick to Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty in both the local and national media in recent weeks, but little had been said about Haden.
Events have turned full circle as Haden was projected to go to the Browns in most mock drafts at the onset of the draft season.
Haden is a tremendous athlete who has good size and is explosive with a burst and closes in a hurry. The former Gator posseses excellent man coverage skills and has good hands and ball skills.
The Florida cornerback is strong for his size, is a physical, willing tackler who does a great job in run support. Haden gets a good jam at the line, transitions smoothly, and has great body control.
He has only average timed speed (4.43-4.47 40) and needs work on both his backpedal and footwork but plays faster. The newest Brown sometimes takes chances and misses tackles. He is ultra-competitive and and has a short memory when he gets burned.
Joe was a three-year starter for the Gators and earned 1st Team All-American honors in 2009. He had eight interceptions at Florida. Was a high school quarterback and point guard for high school state champions.
Haden was the first true freshman to start at cornerback in Florida history on opening day.
Was Haden the best option for us at No. 7 when players like: Jared Odrick, Rolando McClain, Earl Thomas, Dan Williams, and even Jimmy Clausen were available? Was he the best value and were there options to trade down?
I understand the theory of drafting the best player available, but when you have so many needs, at what point do you hurt your team by following a single theory exclusively?
If Sheldon Brown was moving to safety that would be one thing, but Browns GM Tom Heckert flatly denied that after the first round.
Did Heckert and the Browns' staff really try to trade down or was Haden the target all along? If so, why trade for Sheldon Brown, because now you have a first-round pick who projects as a nickel back.
I think it's nuts to use that high of a pick on a guy who isn't projected as an immediate starter unless its a developmental quarterback.
He's not going to unseat either Eric Wright or Sheldon Brown but I guess at least it's bye bye Brandon Mcdonald.
Second-round possibilities include safety Taylor Mays from USC, Defensive Tackle Brian Price from UCLA, Defensive Tackle Terence Cody from Alabama, quarterbacks Colt McCoy from Texas and Jimmy Clausen from Notre Dame, wide receivers Golden Tate from Notre Dame and Arrelious Benn from Illinois, and linebacker Sergio Kindle from Texas.