BEREA—The Browns ended up drafting the guy most draft experts pegged them taking back in December.
However, by the time April rolled around, most felt that Joe Haden would not be the selection.
But, he was.
Haden (5-10, 193) played at Florida and was a three-year starter before coming out after his junior season. Haden totaled 218 career tackles with eight interceptions during his UF career. His most impressive stat was he never allowed a touchdown reception during his 40 career starts. He was a unanimous All-American selection.
Prior to the pick, ESPN reported that the Browns were debating between Haden and Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson. Reportedly, the deciding factor was the fact that Haden played in the SEC.
“We spent a lot of time with Joe,” Tom Heckert said. “Compared to the other players that were available, we felt he was the best player for us.”
The selection was a mild surprise given the fact the Browns acquired Sheldon Brown in a trade with the Eagles. However, Brown has been mentioned to possibly play safety.
“You never can have too many good corners,” Eric Mangini said. “We’ll probably be in multiple sets because many teams play multiple receivers. Joe gives us depth right away. He’s intensely competitive. He can come right in and compete.”
Heckert said Haden’s slower 40 time at the Indianapolis Combine didn’t bother them.
“There’s a story about that,” Heckert said. “He was a little hurt, but he said he would run. It probably hurt him, but we had envisioned him as a pick back then.”
Mangini was asked if he expected Haden to start immediately given the fact the Browns have Eric Wright and Sheldon Brown at the cornerback spots.
“That’s not our thought process going into this,” he said. “We’re looking for good, healthy competition. Whoever the third guy is ends up playing 300 to 500 plays. I anticipate all of those guys playing a lot.
“Darelle Revis started right away,” Mangini said. “Asante Samuel came right in. Sometimes, it depends on their development.”
Heckert agreed with Mangini.
“It all depends on how quickly he develops.”
Mangini said that all three of the players can play in the slot.
“He’s worked in the slot, so has Sheldon,” Mangini said. “Eric Wright has played there.”
Heckert admitted that the Browns were high on safeties Eric Berry and Earl Thomas and sounded as though Berry would’ve been the pick if he was still on the board.
“We liked Eric, but it fell pretty much how we thought it would.”