|NFL DRAFT: Browns complete unlikely comeback, snag Quinn and Thomas|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 28 April 2007 16:47|
And after completing it, general manager Phil Savage declared Saturday a turning point in the fortunes of the hard-luck franchise.
``We actually have a chance to do something,'' Savage said proudly. ``All this (bad) luck and all this bunch of junk, it's ridiculous. I'm sick of it. We're going to do it. Just give us a chance.''
At that point, Browns coach Romeo Crennel added his view.
``I will second that,'' Crennel said, smiling.
For one of the first times since their expansion rebirth, the Cleveland Browns came out decisive winners.
After picking massive Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas with the No. 3 overall pick, the Browns traded back into the first round - swapping their second-round pick in '07 and a first-rounder in '08 with Dallas - to get Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, who inexplicably dropped to No. 22.
In hardly any time at all, the Browns, who have lost at least 10 games in each of the past four seasons and have just one winning record since '99, landed perhaps their franchise tackle and QB.
``This will probably be the day that defines the Browns' turnaround,'' Savage said, ``if indeed it happens.''
Quinn's wish was granted after all. Just not nearly as soon as he had hoped.
The Browns didn't pass up a second chance at drafting the Notre Dame quarterback, who before he wore the Fighting Irish's famed golden helmet, strapped on the plain orange one of the team he rooted for as a kid.
``In the end, it worked out the best way possible,'' Quinn said.
Once considered a possible No. 1 overall pick, Quinn, who grew up in the Columbus suburb of Dublin, Ohio, dropped deeper than he or anyone expected. He spent four excruciating hours waiting for his name to be called, spending time alone in NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's green room wondering what went wrong.
He was intially booed by fans, who a few hours later cheered when he finally got picked.
As he walked onto the immense stage of Radio City Music Hall, Quinn exhaled several times before being presented with a No. 1 Browns jersey by Goodell.
``It's really living out a childhood dream,'' Quinn said. ``You don't count on a team coming back in the picture like that.''
Earlier, the Browns landed another big one, selecting Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas with the No. 3 pick. Thomas skipped a draft-day trip to New York to go fishing with his father and friends on Lake Michigan.
Aboard the ``Foxy Lady'' they reeled in a 14-pound brown trout. The Browns pulled in their own 313-pounder.
And along with two possible franchise-altering picks, the Browns also made an interesting one.
They made another deal with Dallas in the second round, giving the Cowboys their picks in the third and fourth and swapping sixth-round picks to move up from No. 67 to No. 53 so they could take UNLV junior cornerback Eric Wright.
The 21-year-old Wright comes with baggage. He transferred from Southern California in 2005, a year after being charged with rape. Authorities said they also found drugs in the apartment he shared with a roommate. The charges were dropped when the woman failed to testify.
Cleveland's selection of Wright comes on the heels of Goodell's crackdown on players who commit off-the-field transgressions.
``I'm a person who believes in second chances and I believe he is someone worth giving a chance to,'' Browns general manager Phil Savage said. ``He is someone who clearly paid a price for what he did.
``It ruined him for two years. He has looked us in the eye and is on the straight and narrow.''
As soon as Quinn slid past Miami at No. 9, Savage began working the phones to find a partner to trade with. He finally found one 2 1/2 hours later in the Cowboys, who have Tony Romo but may have been tempted to take Quinn.
``I could not have imagined that he would end up falling back in our lap,'' Savage said. ``And I don't think Brady himself or his people would have anticipated this type of situation.''
After four agonizing hours, Quinn was on the phone with the Baltimore Ravens when he got another call.
``Once I picked up, they said, 'Hey, it's the Cleveland Browns. We made a trade, we are going to come get you right now,''' Quinn said. ``I was obviously taken aback by it because I had just gotten off a long conversation with Baltimore thinking, ``All right, that's probably where I'm going to end up.''
On Friday, Savage called Oakland about trading up to the No. 1 spot to possibly select LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Savage has known Russell since the QB was a 14-year-old in Mobile, Ala. However, the Raiders' asking price was too high.
The 6-foot-3, 232-pound Quinn came to the Browns with a high recommendation from Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who worked with Crennel in New England.
``If there was ever a quarterback ready to go walking in the door, he would certainly fit that description,'' Weis said.
After failing to get a trade done, Savage at last got Dallas owner Jerry Jones to agree to make the swap. When it was completed, Cleveland's draft room celebrated a victory as important as any in the Browns' new era.
``It was a reaction we haven't had around here in quite some time,'' Savage said.