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The audible called by Mike Holmgren on draft day, and other notes on Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace and a new Browns punter

May 03, 2012 -- 6:00am

By Tony Grossi


The Morning Kickoff …

Leftover notes and observations on the Browns draft and other issues …

Titans threw them for a loop: The Browns entered the draft with a wish to pull off a triplet play on offense – running back Trent Richardson, wide receiver Kendall Wright and quarterback Brandon Weeden.

The plan went awry when the Tennessee Titans surprised the Browns by selecting Wright with the 20th pick.

Wright was the third receiver and last available that GM Tom Heckert believed could step in as a starter. With Wright gone, the Browns decided to secure the pick of Weeden at No. 22 rather than sweat it out that he would be there at No. 37.

This was most likely the point where Holmgren pulled rank on Heckert.

After the draft, Holmgren disclosed a discussion that took place with Heckert. He did not say it involved Weeden.

“I said Tom, do you want to do this? He said I don’t think I do. I think it’s too much or too strong or whatever.

“Then I said, well, we may have to. Then he goes, ‘Well, if we have to, then you have to tell me because I won’t do it.’

“I said, OK, then I might have to tell you.”

The Browns regrouped on Friday and took Cal OT Mitchell Schwartz with the 37th overall pick in the second round, and then traded down 20 spots and selected Cincinnati defensive tackle John Hughes 87th. These were the most controversial moves of Heckert’s draft.

The Browns ignored the receiver position until the fourth round when they took Miami’s Travis Benjamin with the 100th overall selection.

The receivers taken between Wright and Benjamin were:

Appalachian State’s Brian Quick (33rd overall), Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill (43rd), South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery (45th), Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles (54th), Louisiana State’s Rueben Randle (63rd), Ohio State’s DeVier Posey (68th), North Carolina State’s T.J. Graham (69th), Rutgers’ Mohamed Sanu (83rd), Florida International’s T.Y. Hilton (92nd) and Wake Forest’s Chris Givens (96th).

The first three receivers taken after Benjamin were:

Arkansas’ Joe Adams (104th), Fresno State’s Devon Wylie (107th) and Arkansas’ Jarius Wright (118th).

On Colt McCoy: I’ve been told that McCoy’s fate as a former starter was sealed when his father sounded off about the club’s handling of his concussion in the Pittsburgh game on Dec. 8.

I was told at the time that Brad McCoy’s comments meant the end of McCoy in Cleveland, but I didn’t believe it then.

The comments did not drive the pursuit of a new quarterback, but I believe they contributed to McCoy’s demise.

I will have more to say about McCoy’s rather stunning demise at a later date.

On Seneca Wallace: Last year Wallace said he didn’t feel it was his job to serve as a mentor to McCoy. This week, Wallace said that he is fine with being a mentor to Weeden because he was a first-round pick.

The comments verify -- to me, at least -- that Wallace had a similar opinion of McCoy as Trent Dilfer did of Charlie Frye in 2005. Dilfer was outraged that he was yanked for Frye, who like McCoy was a third-round choice, after the 11th game.

Similarly, Wallace felt he deserved to play ahead of McCoy last year.

Dilfer asked for and received a trade after the season. He moved on to San Francisco and became the mentor to No. 1 overall draft pick Alex Smith.

The difference here is that McCoy, not Wallace, is likely to be the one to exit Cleveland.

Why claim a new punter?: The Browns were awarded punter Spencer Lanning off waivers from Jacksonville. Lanning spent the 2011 training camp with the Chicago Bears and was signed by the Jaguars in January.

In four years at South Carolina, Lanning averaged 42.6 yards a punt. His last two years, he also served as the team’s place-kicker and made 34 of 44 field goals.

Reggie Hodges is expected to return to his role as Browns punter after missing the 2011 season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

The first thing that came to my mind when Lanning was claimed was that Hodges looked a bit heavy when he appeared in the locker room at the conclusion of the 2011 season.

Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com.

He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to tgrossi@espncleveland.com

Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi

 

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