On Mike Holmgren In The Front Office: The Cleveland Browns Big Draft Trade

It was with some schadenfreude that I watched as Mike Holmgren was fired as GM of the Seattle Seahawks back in 2002, since he left the Green Bay Packers to take that job and stick them with the Ray Rhodes error era. He was a good coach, but he's lousy in the front office. So it was surprising when the Browns hired him, not as a coach, but to run their front office and rebuild the team. Really?

This time Holmgren is only the team's president, who's still involved in the draft process, but Tom Heckert is their GM. With so much involvement on Holmgren's part, I was surprised that his team had such a great draft day trade. Five draft choices (including two No. 1s) for the No. 6 overall pick. Is it "one of the greatest trades in draft history"? Holmgren was asked about it on KJR radio in Seattle, via Sports Radio Interviews:

When he [GM Tom Heckert] laid it out and explained it it makes all the sense in the world as long as we did a nice job picking the players. After you make a deal if you don’t do a good job picking the players then it was foolish. Heckert is about as good as you can be in this business. I have a lot of confidence in him.

He's right on when he said it's about "picking the players." The trade could turn their franchise around if those five players are all starters or valuable role players. The player they wanted in the first round instead of WR Julio Jones was NT Phil Taylor, who will team with returning NT Ahtyba Rubin, to form a giant middle of their new 4-3 defense. Their new defensive coordinator is former Bears coach Dick Jauron, who had a pretty good defense for the Bears in 2001-2002 when his 4-3 defense was anchored by NT Ted Washington and NT Keith Traylor. He appears to be doing the same thing now in Cleveland.

With their extra second round pick, they took a very good wide receiver prospect, Greg Little, from North Carolina. I'd be higher on him if he'd played more than one season in college at receiver. Their fourth round selection, Stanford RB Owen Marecic, sounds like a John Kuhn type of player who might be a good backup to RB Peyton HillisCurse you Peyton Hillis! These are the players that could make this trade a huge success for the Browns.

The last two players involved won't be known until 2012, but so far it looks like a good return. If the Falcons are right about Jones, then it'll be a good trade for them too, but they paid a high price no matter how well he plays. I'd rather have the package the Browns received, and I'm really surprised that Mike Holmgren was part of the front office that obtained such a haul.

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