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Warren commissioned

Cleveland adds bulk to defensive line with Florida DT

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Posted: Saturday April 21, 2001 7:19 PM

  Gerard Warren The Browns think Gerard Warren will work nicely with Courtney Brown on the defensive side of the ball. AP

BEREA, Ohio (AP) -- Make no mistake, Butch Davis will rebuild the Cleveland Browns from the defense up.

Davis didn't trade, select some flashy running back or speedy wide receiver with his top draft pick as Browns' head coach. He didn't even take one of his Miami Hurricanes.

Instead, Davis stuck with what he knows best -- defense -- and ushered in his era in Cleveland by choosing a defensive tackle who threw him for a big loss a few years ago.

Gerard Warren, a massive run-stuffer from Florida who once spurned a scholarship offer to play for Davis at Miami, was selected by the Browns with the No. 3 overall pick in Saturday's NFL draft.

"He is a massive, powerful and athletic big man and a guy that can penetrate and collapse the pocket," Davis said. "I've known him since he was a junior in high school. So I know all about his personality and work ethic.

Browns' First-Round Draft Picks
Year  Player  Pos.  College 
2001  Gerard Warren  DT  Florida 
2000  Courtney Brown  DE  Penn State 
1999  Tim Couch  QB  Kentucky  
1995  Craig Powell  LB  Ohio State 
1994  Antonio Langham  CB  Alabama 
   Derrick Alexander  WR  Michigan  
1993  NO PICK       
   Steve Everitt  Michigan  
1992  Tommy Vardell  RB  Stanford 
1991  Eric Turner  UCLA 
1990  NO PICK       
1989  Eric Metcalf  RB  Texas  
1988  Clifford Charlton  LB  Florida 
1987  Mike Junkin  LB  Duke  
1986  NO PICK       
1985  NO PICK       
1984  Don Rogers  UCLA 
1983  NO PICK       
1982  Chip Banks  LB  Southern California 
1981  Hanford Dixon  CB  Southern Mississippi 
1980  Charles White  RB  Southern California 
1979  Willis Adams  WR  Houston  
1978  Clay Matthews  LB  Southern California 
   Ozzie Newsome  WR  Alabama  
1977  Robert L. Jackson  LB  Texas A&M 
1976  Mike Pruitt  HB  Purdue 
1975  Mack Mitchell  DE  Houston 
1974  NO PICK       
1973  Steve Holden  WR  Arizona State  
   Pete Adams  Southern California 
1972  Thom Darden  DB  Michigan 
1971  Clarence Scott  CB  Kansas State 
1970  Mike Phipps  QB  Purdue  
   Bob McKay  Texas 
1969  Ron Johnson  FB  Michigan 
1968  Marvin Upshaw  DE  Trinity (Texas) 
1967  Bob Matheson  LB  Duke 
1966  Milt Morin  TE  Massachusetts 
1965  NO PICK       
1964  Paul Warfield  WR  Ohio State 
1963  Tom Hutchinson  Kentucky 
1962  Gary Collins  Maryland  
   Leroy Jackson  Western Illinois 
1961  Robert Crespino  Mississippi  
1960  Jim Houston  Ohio State 
1959  Rich Kreitling  OE  Illinois 
1958  Jim Shofner  DB  Texas Christian 
1957  Jim Brown  FB  Syracuse 
1956  Preston Carpenter  HB  Arkansas 
1955  Kurt Burris  C/LB  Oklahoma 
1954  Robert Garret  QB  Stanford 
   John Bauer  Illinois 
1953  Doug Atkins  DT  Tennessee 
1952  Bert Rechichar  DB  Tennessee  
   Harry Agganis  QB  Boston University 
1951  Kenny Konz  HB/S  Louisiana State 
1950  Ken Carpenter  HB  Oregon State 

"He was the type of guy you could not pass up."

Cleveland sees the 6-foot-3, 325-pound Warren as another weapon and a perfect complement to second-year end Courtney Brown, whom Davis plans to switch over to the right side.

"He's a force," said Dwight Clark, Cleveland's director of football operations. "He has the ability to collapse the pocket. He's a nasty, violent player and that's kind of what we need in here. He's a franchise-type defensive tackle."

Warren didn't travel to New York for the draft, but watched his selection at home in Florida before being flown to Cleveland along with family members in one of team owner Al Lerner's jets.

Warren, who described himself as a "throwback country boy from Union County, Florida", said he's not intimidated about the Midwest's chilly weather on Sundays in November and December.

"I love playing football," he said, "whether it's in 50 feet of snow or 500 feet under water."

The Browns had other options at No. 3. They had hoped to trade the pick and move down in the first round, but never got into serious negotiations with anyone.

Clark said in recent days the team narrowed its choices for the third pick to Warren, defensive tackle Richard Seymour, wide receiver David Terrell and running back Deuce McAllister.

"But in the end," Clark said, "we decided we wanted to stop the run."

The Browns selected Kansas State wide receiver Quincy Morgan (No. 33 overall) in the second round. Morgan averaged more than 20 yards per reception in his two years starting for the Wildcats.

"Tim Couch is probably pretty happy right now," Davis said.

Cleveland still needs to address its running back situation and Clark said the Browns may still pursue free agent Corey Dillon. Otherwise, they'll use a committee of backs next season.

The Browns' selection of Warren started a run of nine defensive lineman to go in the first round. In a league known for copy cats, it seems everyone is trying to follow the Baltimore Ravens' route to winning a Super Bowl.

For weeks, Davis had been saying that this year's class of defensive linemen was the deepest in years.

"There will not be this kind of quality very often," he said. "We felt that Gerard was at the top of the class."

The Browns can envision Warren and Brown -- their No. 1 overall pick a year ago -- owning the line of scrimmage, chasing down running backs in the backfield and terrorizing quarterbacks for years to come.

Playing in a division featuring Eddie George, Jerome Bettis and, for now, Dillon, the Browns need to improve their rushing defense. Cleveland ranked 31st and 29th in the league the past two seasons against the run.

Davis feels Warren will create matchup problems up front. And if Warren can tie up an offensive lineman or two, his linemates like Brown, Keith McKenzie and Orpheus Roye can run wild and make plays.

"He makes everyone of our guys better," Davis said. "Adding him gives us depth and playmakers."

Related information
Stories's Pat Kirwan Analysis: Round 1
Vick goes to Falcons with first pick
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