Browns General Manager Tom Heckert held his annual pre-draft press conference on Thursday morning where he answered a wide variety of questions from the media. But he didn't answer all of them and understandably so.
It's been discussed here in the past and probably will be again in what is the final week before the draft, but right about now is the time where you can expect to get just about as little information from a team's front office as possible. With that said, Heckert revealed more than he had to, albeit still very little.
Here a few of the highlights that I took away from the presser and my reaction.
"I know who that four is going to be if we stay there. We are all on the same page. We know we are getting a really good player no matter what happens at three. We know we are getting one of two guys. We don't know who is going to go at three, but we are extremely happy and excited with whoever is going to be there at four."
"Like I said, there is more than one guy and they don't know who we are thinking about taking. It really wouldn't affect us that much if they [traded up to take a player the Browns wanted] because we are happy with one of a few guys. It wouldn't be a big deal to us to be honest with you."
Heckert is essentially saying that the Browns' pick will depend on the Minnesota Vikings' pick at No. 3, which is something we could have already assumed. However, what we didn't know before is that the Browns' front office has narrowed it down to just two prospects. It's something that has been speculated, but the names of those potential final two have been all over the place, anywhere from Richardson to Tannehill. Lucky for the Browns, the truth is that no one outside of the brain trust really knows who those top two are. At the very least, we now know they're not torn between three prospects.
"I do think one thing and we try to keep this to ourselves but, people talk about Ryan Tannehill flying up the draft board after his workout. That is simply not true. With most players, where they are now is the same where they were after the season. He had a good workout, but to be honest with you, I haven't seen a lot of people have bad workouts. It's a workout, it's not a game. So, wherever somebody had him, that's probably where they still have him. He is a good player and he's obviously very new to the position having played wide receiver. He is a good football player."
This part is interesting because, if you believe in the smokescreen game, could Heckert be utilizing reverse psychology to make others think they aren't interested in Tannehill? Or is this a rare case of honesty just before the draft? It doesn't have to mean anything at all, but it's interesting nonetheless.
When asked about the players from the 2011 draft compared to this year:
"I haven't really compared them, we kind of do that afterwards. It seems, at least on our board, like less, numbers wise. Before I came down here we were actually doing this deal that I do. I think we probably have 18 guys with first round grades, which doesn't mean anything. One of those guys will be there at 22. That's just how it works out, it always does. Obviously, we have 18 guys and someone else is going to have 20 but 10 of them will be different than our guys. When you start to get down to the second round we have third round guys in the second round and fifth round guys in the fourth. Numbers-wise, it's less for us, but it's always less than the actual numbers. This year seems to be more. Just on a big board, we don't move them up on our draft board. We list the guys one through 240, so when you start looking at the 64th pick, you think that's a second round pick, but he is in our third or fourth round. It's a little less than I think normally."
Here we get a small insight into how Heckert views this year's first round prospects as whole, which seems to a bit lesser than he's used to. Again, this wouldn't stop the presses, but it's also not something we knew beforehand.
"Defensive backs wise, it's not a great group. There are a couple guys that are really good and [LSU CB Morris Claiborne] is obviously a really, really good player. You have to have corners. You have to have three legit corners to survive in this league and that's why corners are such a big deal. He is a really, really good one."
For anyone that thought Heckert's top two prospects included Morris Claiborne, this could help that case. The Browns of course currently have Joe Haden, Dimitri Patterson, who was a surprise performer in 2011, and Sheldon Brown. But if Brown, 33, is moved to safety, that definitely opens the door for the third "legit corner" that is "required to survive" in this league, according to Heckert.
When asked about if there were tie, would they be less likely to take a corner over a position of need:
"If it's a tie, but when you are talking about top guys it's probably not going to be a tie. There are definitely guys who are one, two, three and four for us. There is not a tie."
Heckert stressed that they will be drafting strictly according to their big board player rankings. I still think that's the smartest way to draft. I just have to hope for our offense's sake that the graded some players on that side of the ball well. What remains a mystery is what those rankings are. And that's exactly how fans should want it to be a week prior to the draft.
I think there is something we can all agree on: Thursday, April 26, 8 p.m. can't get here soon enough.