Draft dreams come true
How Browns nabbed Quinn; more draft news, notes
Posted: Monday April 30, 2007 2:06AM; Updated: Monday April 30, 2007 9:57AM
Exactly one week before the draft, Cleveland general manager Phil Savage decided not to go to the office. Rather, he stayed home with his wife and sat in his home office for part of the day, watching tape of prospects he might draft. At one point, he found himself daydreaming, wondering if there would be any chance he could come out of the draft with both Joe Thomas and Brady Quinn. I wonder what it would cost to do that? If that would ever happen, that would really get me excited.
"Then you come back to reality,'' Savage said late Saturday night, after Day 1 of the draft. "That's not going to happen.''
This is the story of how it did.
Savage has the final say in the Cleveland draft room, and he had decided in mid-April that Thomas, the Wisconsin tackle, was his guy. He felt fairly certain Thomas would be available when Cleveland was to pick at No. 3, because he figured, like most everyone else, that LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell and Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson would go 1-2 to Oakland and Detroit, or whoever traded into their spots.
Savage liked Quinn too, but Thomas was the kind of offensive-line difference-maker the Browns hadn't had since their reincarnation, in 1999. "Is Joe Thomas an impact player?'' Savage said. "Yes, because he'll let our skill players make plays. Without taking him, a quarterback would have the [same] problems our quarterbacks had last year, when we had protection problems. Same thing with our running game. Our staff was sold on Joe Thomas, but not as sold on Brady Quinn, at three.''
Savage wouldn't say exactly where Quinn was on the Browns' board, but from our discussion, I think he had him as the fifth- or sixth-best player. That's why it caught his attention when Quinn was still around after the ninth pick. "I was walking down the hall in our office during the first round,'' he said, "and I see Ted Ginn Jr., go to Miami. That was my first 'wow' of the day. Then I started to think maybe we should look into trying to get a pick to get Brady.''
He got on the phone. He called Houston, which owned the 10th pick, then Buffalo, which had the 12th pick, followed by St. Louis (No. 13) and Carolina (14). No, no, no, no. When Savage was on the phone with the Rams, Browns owner Randy Lerner joked, "Trade me to the Rams if you can get Quinn. They'll throw in [owner] Georgia Frontiere.''
Savage got a nibble from Green Bay at 16. Cleveland offered its first-round pick in 2008, and offered to flip picks with the Packers in rounds two, three and four. "I thought it was going to work,'' Savage said. "But they thought about it, called back and said no.''
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