Following the first round of the NFL Draft last night, head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert met with the local media. The full transcript from their news conference is after the jump, although I have re-organized it based on the topics discussed. I will have some more personal thoughts in a special edition of "The Friday Five" later today.
Tom Heckert - (Opening statement)- "Obviously, we are very excited about the two guys that we got today, and we look forward to the rest of the draft. We are really excited about the two guys we got today."
Tom Heckert - (On taking Weeden at 22 rather than waiting)- "That is obviously something that we talked about. We had a lot of conversations about this. When you are talking about a quarterback, we just didn’t think that it was worth taking a risk. Maybe something else you say, ‘Well alright if we get him it’s no big deal,’ but with a quarterback we just wanted to make sure we got him. There were some teams that we know were interested behind us, so we just decided to go ahead and pick him."
Tom Heckert - (On Weeden not sitting because he is 28 years old)- "I think that it is anybody that you take and more so the round. We want these guys to play, but how soon depends and Pat (Shurmur) is going to make that decision. If it takes them longer than we think, we aren’t going to throw a guy out there just to throw him out there. Eventually, he is going to be a starter for us we hope, that’s why we drafted him."
Pat Shurmur - (On what they loved about Weeden)- "I think number one, he has the attributes you are looking for in a quarterback. He is a winner. He obviously took a non-traditional path to being a college quarterback, but he is a very mature guy. He is an outstanding thrower. He is a good decision maker. He is very accurate. He found a way at Oklahoma State to really compete and win a lot of football games against a lot of the quarterbacks that we’ve been talking about leading up to the draft. We feel like the kid is a winner. I wasn’t concerned about his age. I was impressed with his maturity and the way he handled himself, and obviously as a coach watching his productivity on tape and he is a quarterback who helped to lead his team to a lot of victories."
Pat Shurmur - (On what Weeden brings to the team)- "We think he is going to project into being an outstanding NFL quarterback. We were able to see that in the way that he competed in college. As the coach sitting here, if every move we make we can say we are getting better, that is what you have to do. We felt like having him on our team, he was going to make us better and he was going to make the position better. That is why we picked him."
Pat Shurmur - (On how Weeden is going to help score touchdowns)- "If we don’t hand it to Trent then we are going to have Brandon throw it in there. I don’t mean to make a joke out of it, but he has displayed the ability to get his team in the end zone and win games. We all know the importance of the quarterback position and making sure that we address it to the point where we have the guy that we think is our guy as we move forward. That’s why we want him here."
QB Competition vs. Trading McCoy
Pat Shurmur - (On if there will be an open competition heading into camp)- "We have a new quarterback that is going to be with us. I think that tonight is more or less about Brandon Weeden and less about the competition right now. When we went through the process of evaluating him. We became very fond of him, we all did. From Randy (Lerner) to Mike (Holmgren) to Tom (Heckert) and myself. We came away saying that this is a guy we’d like to have on our team and that’s where we are at right now."
Tom Heckert - (On if they tried trading Colt McCoy this weekend)- "To be honest we haven’t thought about that, we really haven’t. I am not trying to elude it. That will be something that we will talk about tonight and tomorrow."
Tom Heckert - (On if Weeden is the guy at quarterback for the Browns)- "Yes, in our opinion he is. We took the kid at 22nd in the draft, we are hoping he is."
Pat Shurmur - (On if they needed a more physical quarterback)- "I wouldn’t say more physical, but what you are looking for from your quarterback is that he can execute your offense, he is able to be efficient when he throws the football, he has to be an excellent decision maker, he has to get your team in the end zone and he needs to lead you to victories. All those things being said, we are looking for that guy and we feel like we see those attributes in Brandon."
Pat Shurmur - (On when physical attributes come into play)- "We are always looking for bigger, stronger, faster guys. If you want me to compare guys who are short to guys that are taller, taller guys can sometimes see a little bit better, which will allow them to do some things. In terms of a physical nature, a quarterback does have to be able to take a little bit of a pounding. They all get hit. In terms of evaluating a quarterback, the toughness is obviously an over righting factor, whether they have it or not. You do like guys that have a little bit of size so that they can take a pounding. I think that is fair to say."
Pat Shurmur - (On Weeden’s ability to scramble)- "He is a quarterback that executes mostly from the pocket, but he has thrown the ball well on the run. Training in our system, if he runs as a last resort, we expect that he will get down and get yards. If he can’t get yards, throw the ball away or make a throw. We feel like he can do all the things we ask a quarterback to do."
Pat Shurmur - (On Weeden’s fitting into the West Coast offense)- "When you get your players, you plug them in. You try to do more of the things they do well and less of the things they don’t. I think we evaluated him with the idea that he can do what we do. We will see as we start to work with him, the things that he does well in conjunction with the players he is working with."
Tom Heckert - (On trading picks to get Trent Richardson)- "I know exactly what was offered to Minnesota, so we knew we had to trade to get him if we wanted him. I know that for a fact."
Tom Heckert - (On excitement of drafting Richardson)- "We were pretty fired up. We spent a lot of time sitting and wondering what was going to happen. If something would have happened and didn’t work out, we would have gone with another player and been very happy, but Trent was a guy that we really wanted and I’m glad that it worked out."
Tom Heckert - (On what they like about Richardson)- "Like we talked about before, he can do all three things. He can run the ball, catch the ball and he can block. He is a tough, tough kid. You see that on tape. He is very good football player, he’s a great kid and he adds toughness to our team."
Pat Shurmur - (On Richardson)- "He is a guy that has faced adversity, worked his way through it and excelled. I find that to be a quality that as much as we project them to be good players in the league, they are going to face adversity. For us to be able to quantify that they have the ability to overcome it, I think that helps me like them more."
Pat Shurmur - (On if anything specific about Richardson made an impression)- "I know that coach (Nick) Saban runs a very tough program and he is an outstanding football coach. I worked for Nick, so I am not just saying it, I know it. When you look at him and the way his career was as he came up through high school and battled. He then became the starter, I just felt like he was a guy that it wasn’t always easy for him, nothing in general. He fought through things and excelled and I think that is impressive."
(Ryan Tannehill or Kendall Wright) > Brandon Weeden?
Tom Heckert - (On drafting Weeden)- "Brandon was by far the best player for us after a couple guys got picked. There wasn’t even an afterthought. After a couple of guys went we knew we were going to take him and we didn’t even think about moving down."
Tom Heckert - (On if the decision would have been tougher if Kendall Wright wasn’t picked at 20)- "We liked Kendall, we really did. Like I said, it is more so it was a quarterback. We liked Kendall and there were a couple of guys that we liked, but a quarterback is a quarterback, which I think that outweighs everything, at least in our opinion."
Tom Heckert - (On taking Weeden if Wright was still there)- "We didn’t have to make that decision."
Tom Heckert - (On if there was a debate between Weeden at some point and Ryan Tannehill at some point)- "Not really."
Tom Heckert - (On if Weeden appealed to them more than Tannehill)- "We all like Weeden and we liked Tannehill too, but we all liked Weeden. You can guess what I am saying, I guess."
The Decision to be Aggressive
Tom Heckert - (On aggressiveness to get the players that they wanted)- "We weren’t going to do anything stupid. We talked about it the last couple of weeks, what we were willing to give up and we weren’t going to go over a certain point to do it. It worked out. I talked with Rick (Spielman), and obviously I have a really good relationship with Rick. I worked with him in Miami and I’ve known him for a long time, so we talked about what was fair. They were concerned about the same thing, moving down too far and not getting the guy. It worked out well and we are happy about it."
Tom Heckert - (On turning in the card for Trent Richardson right away)- "We were excited. We knew. We took the kid and we traded for him so we were just going to announce it. That’s why."
Tom Heckert - (On when they knew about trading up to get Richardson)- "I talked to Rick (Spielman) maybe four or five times before today and I talked to him yesterday about it. To be honest with you, some people think trades happen when people make stuff up. There are a lot of guys that we respect each other. I’m not saying that you need to tell all of the truth, but you don’t lie to your friends. When he told me, he had this, I believed him and I came to find out he did. I trusted him so as soon as he told me he had something I beat it."
Tom Heckert - (On if they have transformed the offense in one night)- "I don’t know if we’ve transformed it, but going back to last year I think we made it a point to emphasize we wanted to be tough. We thought we did that a little bit last year and the year before on our defense. Obviously, taking Trent helps us on offense and being a physical football team. Obviously the quarterback, it remains to be seen how that all works out. I don’t know if we’ve transformed it, but I think we’ve gotten better and I think that is the goal."
Pat Shurmur - (On thoughts on not taking a position like wide receiver)- "We have players we like throughout the draft and we have a bunch of picks left."
Tom Heckert - (On moving up in the draft)- "We could have got back into the first, but we felt like we wanted to stay. We feel like we are in good shape right now."