|NFL DRAFT: Double whammy: Browns get Quinn, Thomas in first round|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 28 April 2007 14:56|
The Cleveland 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.
After 20 teams let him slide past in Saturday's NFL draft, the Browns traded their second-round pick (No. 36 overall) and first-round pick in 2008 to Dallas at No. 22 to move up and select Quinn.
``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.
Seconds after being taken by the Browns, Quinn exhaled before slowly walking onto the stage at Radio City Music Hall and being presented with a No. 1 Browns jersey by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
``It's really living out a childhood dream,'' said Quinn, who thinks that old Browns helmet is somewhere in storage at home. ``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 trip to New York to go fishing with his father and friends on Lake Michigan.
The team made another deal with Dallas in the second round. The Browns gave the Cowboys their picks in the third, fourth and sixth rounds to move up from No. 67 to No. 53 so they could take UNLV 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.
As soon as Quinn slid past Miami at No. 9, Browns general manager Phil 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.
``We didn't expect Brady Quinn to fall as far as he did,'' Savage said. ``We had Brady rated very high on our board, just not top three.''
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.
``When they're asking for (outside linebacker) Kamerion Wimbley, that pretty much ends the conversation,'' Savage said.
The 6-foot-3, 232-pound Quinn came to the Browns with a high recommendation from Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who worked with Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel in New England.
``Charlie always said he could come in and play,'' Crennel said. ``Charlie was probably disappointed we didn't taker him at No. 3. I think he feels good we have him now.''
A four-year starter in college, Quinn could immediately step into the starting job ahead of Charlie Frye, Cleveland's primary starter before getting hurt late last season.
Although he'll be a rookie, Quinn will inherit a better situation in Cleveland than Tim Couch - the No. 1 pick in 1999 - or Frye ever did. He'll have plenty of weapons on a Browns offense featuring tight end Kellen Winslow, wide receiver Braylon Edwards and running back Jamal Lewis.
He'll also be protected by a revamped offensive line that will have Thomas and Eric Steinbach, who signed as a free agent with Cleveland in March.
Crennel wouldn't promise Quinn anything more than a chance to compete.
``You could bring Joe Montana in and I'm not going to make him the starter,'' Crennel said.
Thomas, too, is going to have to win a starting spot. He's aware there have been highly drafted tackles who have fizzed out, but the 6-foot-6, 313-pounder doesn't expect to be one of them.
``There may have been a couple of guys who haven't panned out, but I'm a vastly different person,'' he said. ``My attitude and my competitiveness will not let me fail.''
Savage is hopeful that getting a premier left tackle and quarterback could change Cleveland's luck. The Browns have been undermined by costly injuries since their expansion return in 1999, and have had just one winning season in eight years.
``This will probably be the day that defines the Browns' turnaround, if indeed it does happen,'' Savage said. ``We actually have a chance to do something. All this (bad) luck is a bunch of junk. We're going to do it, just give us a chance.''
Crennel, perceived to be a lame duck coach if Cleveland doesn't win next season, agreed.
``I will second that,'' he said smiling.
When Savage got Dallas owner Jerry Jones to agree to make the swap, Cleveland's personnel staff celebrated an important win for a Browns team accustomed to losing the close ones.
``It was a reaction we haven't had around here in quite some time,'' he said.