Somebody give Tom Heckert a raise. A big raise.
In trading the No. 6 pick to the Atlanta Falcons, Heckert pulled off what was undoubtedly the steal of the draft, getting the Falcons' first, second, and fourth round picks this year, and their first and fourth round picks in 2012.
It feels like Christmas in April.
With the 21st pick, the Browns selected Baylor DT Phil Taylor. Suffice it to say that all of our mock drafts turned out to be very wrong. Not that we should be complaining about that, considering how things turned out.
Before we get into the issue of the traded pick, let's take a look at the guy the Browns got with the Chiefs' No. 21 pick: Baylor DT Phil Taylor.
Taylor was a bit of a surprise, certainly. He wasn't a player who was heavily on the Browns' radar leading up to the draft. That makes sense, though, considering the Browns didn't expect to be picking at this point in the draft.
I like the Taylor pick at No. 21. It addresses a big need for the Browns at DT, and they didn't have to give back much of what they swindled from Atlanta to move up from No. 27 to No. 21 (the No. 27 pick plus their original third-round pick).
They wound up addressing a serious need on the defensive line and still came away with a whole passel of extra picks.
Here's the lowdown on Taylor:
The Baylor DT is a huge guy, weighing in at 334 pounds. His size and strength allow him to bat aside blockers with ease and mow down an offensive line.
He's tremendously quick and mobile for such a large player, and his lateral movement has been noted as rather impressive.
The downside? First, his weight may be a concern. He was benched in 2009 for being overweight. He seems to have solved the problem for now, but at 334 pounds, the team will have to keep a close eye on this.
Then there's the bigger issue: major character concerns. Taylor was a transfer in to Baylor after being dismissed from Penn State in 2008 due to a number of off-field incidents, one of which was an assault charge.
There have been no reports of trouble since then, but an assault charge isn't something that you can easily dismiss.
Still, I trust Heckert's judgment completely, and if he didn't see the character concerns as a deterrent, that's good enough for me.
Bottom line: No. 21 seems a bit early for Taylor (I would have taken DE Cameron Jordan), but they didn't give up much to get him, and he fills a need at a position where the Browns were seriously short-handed.
Yeah, I'll say it: Tom Heckert is a genius.
Selling the No. 6 pick to Atlanta (who selected WR Julio Jones) for five picks (including their first round picks this year and next year) wasn't just the steal of the 2011 draft; it was the biggest draft steal in a very long time, for any team.
When the trade was announced, it was almost impossible to believe: did the Browns actually end up on the right end of a hugely lopsided swap for once?
Trading down was undoubtedly the right move at that point no matter what the return on it was with AJ Green, Patrick Peterson and Marcell Dareus all already off the board.
The Browns could have taken Fairley, but aside from that, there was no one left worthy of a pick that high who met the Browns' needs.
The fact that Heckert was able to get such an amazing deal in his trade was just icing on the cake. The Browns have a lot of holes to fill, and the extra picks will go much further in improving the team than the No. 6 pick would have.
To give the Browns a final grade, we have to look at both the swap out at No. 6 and the Phil Taylor pick at No. 21.
Let's give the Taylor pick a B. I don't think he was the best choice at that slot, but he was a perfectly acceptable one, and he fills a major need for the Browns.
To get that No. 21 pick from Kansas City, they didn't have to give up much. I liked the DEs and a few of the OTs left on the board at this point better than Taylor, but I still see it as a good choice for the most part.
The trade at No. 6 gets an A+. If I could give it a higher grade than that, i would. The move was just simply brilliant on Heckert's part.
If I were an Atlanta fan, I would be absolutely furious at my team for mortgaging so much of the future for Julio Jones. Jones was a good fit for the Falcons, but there is no way he's worth the price they paid the Browns. Lucky us.
Overall, you have to give round one of the Browns' 2011 draft an A. The Taylor pick was acceptable, and the trade down at No. 6 was off-the-charts fantastic.
Looks like Holmgren and Heckert are going to give us another stellar draft this year to follow-up their excellent selections in 2010. I can't wait to see what the next six rounds bring.