April 24, 2014

ESPN Cleveland: John Hughes was in demand

The John Hughes pick has been slammed pretty universally ever since it occurred during the Browns’ 2012 draft. Hughes was even the subject of some pretty negative and difficult questioning by Kevin Kiley during his late (he overslept) appearance on their show this morning. Now the other sports talk station, ESPN Cleveland, has dug up some info that could shed some light on why they Browns made their pick and felt lucky to get Hughes. Will Burge has the report.

A league source tells ESPN Cleveland that Hughes would have been selected before the end of the 3rdround if the Browns had not selected him. The source said that Hughes had been fielding calls from multiple teams indicating they would select him with their third round pick. The Browns just pulled the trigger first…

It seems as though Heckert had a right to be concerned. The source also said the New Orleans Saints, who owned the #89 pick in the draft, were going to take Hughes if he was there. The Saints ended up selecting Regina defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, who is almost the exact same size as Hughes.

Maybe this explains why Tom Heckert was so dismissive of questions surrounding the pick and how much of a “reach” it might have been. It is certainly a compelling report, and if accurate just goes to show how much difference there can be between draft experts in the media and the front offices of NFL clubs who must make the picks.

[Related: A few additional Browns post-draft thoughts]

  • Max

    The Source also confirmed that he would be taking Mrs. LaMonte out to dinner this year for their Anniversary

  • d0nkey

    Maybe I am wrong, but I would have to guess that these teams were calling him during the third round of drafting.  I would also think it is stupid to assume that he was making plans to have family come over during that same time period.  I think it is more likely that he was making plans before round 3 even started, and the calls came to his surprise during the actual draft.

  • Harv 21

    I think you’re wrong here, Jim. The d-line being overworked was a pretty consistent story in the latter part of last season, including listing the percentage of snaps players had taken versus other d-lines. There was talk that it would have to be addressed. Not saying it was a more important need than others, but unfair to deem this a panicky, out of left field impulse purchase.

  • mgbode

    not sure why they both can’t be true.  that he was fielding calls in the 3rd round and expected that it was for the 4th round since the 3rd was almost over.   we picked him with the 4th last pick of the round and NO is the one rumored to have wanted him (they picked a DT at #89).

    regardless, it doesn’t matter.  hopefully Hughes is a good rotational DT for us.

  • mgbode

    many think Frostee Rucker will play some DT in pass situations.

    I agree I would have preferred a WR in that slot because it’s starter over rotational guy, but it’s done, so let’s look at the benefit of having DL depth.

  • mgbode

    are you trying to say that Hughes is the next John Randle?

    (I kid, I kid)

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I’d be interested to see how our run defense did when Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin were in the game versus how we did when one was out.  Defensive tackles need more rest than any other position on the field because of their size and how hard they have to work, so it seems to me like you really need at least 3 and preferably 4 quality defensive tackles.  So in that way, Hughes isn’t exactly a backup because he’ll play a lot of snaps while Taylor is resting… I’m guessing 30 to 35% of the snaps.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    oh im not saying that at all.  but picking up on your theme, i would say that hughes was a terrific pick… FOR ME TO POOP ON.  :)

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Nevermind… reading similar comments and realizing I’m really late to the party.

  • Steve-o

    The third round was a let down on draft day because we all wanted a WR at 67 (or a trade up for one) and have never heard of John Hughes. Hearing that Hughes was in demand makes me feel better, as does taking a WR with our next pick . Getting J.M. Johnson is an added bonus.

    Also, I noticed that the other DT from Cinci, Wolfe, was picked early in the second round. Often a DT is asked to do some grunt work that allows the other guys to shine. If Hughes becomes a key part of our DT rotation so that Rubin and Taylor can shine then we did alright.

  • porckchopexpress

    I’m usually on board with you jim, but I think you’re being a little too hard on this one.  I don’t think this is some novel new thing.  In fact I believe if you look at the roots of both Bill (Walsh, Parcells) coaching trees you will see two men who believed great lines on both sides of the ball were critical.  A deep line that keeps its starters rested controls the run better than expecting 2/3 guys to go at it all game long.  This means that the safetys and corners don’t have to play up or worry as much about RBs breaking through into the secondary, which means less wear and tear on Ward.  It also means that you can be more aggressive with your linebackers because their first instinct isn’t “Freeze” to see if a huge whole is about to open up. 
    I personally would have liked to see WR and then best available d line in the fourth but this is where we are now.  I will say that if this guy was drafted to be a sub he had better be the Mr. Hero Romanburger, of subs,  if he is a six turkey club (solid but not mouthwateringly spectacular) I’m going to be disapointed.  Is it lunch time yet?

  • BIKI024

    agreed.  it seems very likely that they targeted him as 3rd/4th round talent, felt they could trade down a bit, did so and got Hughes and JMJ out of the deal.  JMJ should impact special teams immediately and hopefully he’ll be in the LB rotation as well, particularly on run plays, the dude is a MONSTER

  • BIKI024

    or the late 3rd round..  

  • BIKI024

    it will be nice to have Cooper around in camp to help ease transition for Weeden, but i’ll bet you any money he won’t make the team..  MAYBE practice squad, but highly unlikely he makes the active roster..  

  • mgbode

    well played.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    that’s what they said about sanzenbacher last year.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    ok.. and i should say that perfect shouldnt be the enemy of good.  

    btw, i gave the overall draft an 8 out of 10 so my ‘fan’ as always wins out over my ‘curmudgeon.’

  • MrCleaveland

    Hughes overslept, eh? It didn’t take long for him to validate our concerns over his maturity.

    But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was up very late last night studying for his finals.

  • BIKI024

    so if we improve our run defense (and overall play from DL) this coming year (can’t get much worse actually), will you not be pleased with the pick?  there may have been other ways to improve it via FA per your suggestion, but they obviously had this guy rated pretty high, and it doesn’t seem a stretch at all to see reports that other teams (i.e Saints) viewed him as a 3rd/4th rounder as well.  

    i mean don’t get me wrong, would’ve loved Sanu with our original 3rd rounder, but I don’t get paid the big bucks to do this, and until proven otherwise, I trust their plan.  

  • BIKI024

    hey, that would be great if he pulled a Mark Wahlberg from Invincible, but we only keep 6 WRs on Active, and 2 on PS and here’s our current top 6, i think we’ll probably add a veteran to the mix as well, so it’s put up or shut up time for Carleton

    WR1:  Little
    WR2:  MoMass
    WR3:  Cribbs
    WR4:  Norwood
    WR5:  T. Benj
    WR6:  C. Mitchell

    so he may have a shot on PS, but we’ll see..  

  • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris M

    Kanick, it’s not any kind of new found wisdom at all. The Vikings have been doing it for years with as many as 7-8 guys rotating snaps on the line to keep everyone fresh in late game situations.

    As Craig said, Taylor played entirely too many snaps last year and it showed as the year went on.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    the ‘improved’ run game premise is also faulty.  i think linebacker and ends were greater weaknesses in our run defense than the center of the line.  demario davis (ARKY ST!) wouldve done more to improve run defense than hughes.  

    and again, backup DTs are out there as FAs.  hell, the pats just signed gerald warren for just this position.

  • Vic_Mackey

    WTH is this anyway?  Let some other chump team take him at that spot.  We need a freakin’ legit WR who is bigger than your average poodle (sorry Travis B.).  Considering we gave up a lot for T. Rich (it is a lot when you have a suck team like us), they should have made getting that WR the #1 priority.  But noooooo….T. Huckleberry-Heckert is so much smarter than the rest of us.  These guys are such

  • Joelmcclurg

    Maybe Heckert is running rumor central; every rumor comes across his desk and he acts. Every time he’s questioned about a pick, it’s “we heard a rumor”, and they select lesser players too high.
    Weeden, too high, but we heard someone was interested in him, so we moved.
    Swartz, too high, but we heard someone was going to take him.
    Hughes, too high, but we heard someone was interested in taking him.
    Does anyone besides me see a pattern here?
    How is it we have this deep insider pipeline to who’s going to take someone that we are always jumping early?
    Then, we hear Heckert was bluffed into three picks to get Richardson; what am I to think? All these unverifiable rumors and each time we don’t appear to get the value we should be getting at that pick; and it’s the analysts saying it, not me.
    With the Richardson pick, they did the right thing, even if they were bluffed! We got a great player; from there on, too little, too early.

  • ac

    No one, and I mean no one, should listen to that morning show.  They are perpetually negative and just sound like whining babies.  Imagine how Hughes felt during the interview.  Nice welcome to Cleveland!

  • ac

    the most productive dt’s are productive for that exact reason.  They can stay fresh throughout the entire game

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Kinda funny how this information comes out days later I’d treat it just like all of the other rumors, with a grain of salt.  Lets see what he does on the field.

  • Gbwoy

    I did not say that they “don’t matter”.  I said it’s a “crap shoot”, and that the players who make no impact far and away outnumber those who do.  And if you bothered to look at the actual players selected recently in the 3rd round and on instead of just putting up a list of HOF players, you would see that.  I also said that we don’t know what Hughes is yet.

    It’d be nice if you actually read the post before responding.

  • Harv 21

    the other thing about the Browns picking a strong but underachieving d-lineman is this: I think the Browns think Ahytiba Rubin is one of their few leader-by-example guys who gets those playing next to him to play harder. If your current linemen all tend to wait for inspiration to strike a’la Gerard Warren and Shaun Rogers drafting another one this high probably is a waste.  

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    pfft.  for me, ‘not getting worked up over’ is synonymous with ‘doesnt matter.’  but apologies.

    the whole draft is a crap shoot guy. here’s a spreadsheet with all first rounders going back to 85, tabbed by position and with players who wash-out identified. yes the draft is a crap shoot. thanks for that.

    >>>And if you bothered to look at the actual players selected recently in the 3rd round >>>
    seriously?  ok.  you want to talk about recent 3rd round players.  let’s start last year with the pick the browns gave up to move five slots to get the now 75%* defensive tackle.  the chiefs used our pick to get their starting OLB justin houston; their team’s rookie of the year.  the pick after him was the demarco murray current holder of ‘most rushing yards, game’ for the cowboys.

    i dont know what to tell you.. facts are hard things.  3rd round picks are worth more than you seem to think, that’s all im saying.

    *flagging myself for excessive trolling.

  • BIKI024

    fact is, we’re thin at DL, we overworked the guys last year and were fortunate nobody got hurt. but their motors definitely slowed down not only as the season went along, but as the game went along as well.  the Giants have proven that a 8 deep DL rotation proves it’s worth, obviously they have absolute monsters at ends, but in Philly they did the same thing when Heckert was there, building depth to the DL.   whether we could’ve got someone in free agency or not, it seems to me that in the months and months of preparation, the pro personnel guys got with the college guys and heckert and compared the ratings of what’s available, and they felt that Hughes is the guy they can plug in rotation for next 4 years (or more).  as opposed to a FA who may only be here for a year.   building continuuity and chemistry on the DL is very important as well, and now we’ll see how hard the guys work in camp and if Hughes wins the 3rd DT spot.

  • Gbwoy

    Let’s see: post opinion on WFNY-check.

    Get trolled by someone who picks one sentence out of my post and then builds straw man arguments that actually have little to do with what I posted-check.

    Respond to poster politely, asking them to please re-read the post-check.

    Que obnoxious retort designed to make the original misinterpretation look totally justified, with even more snark-check.

    Reminds me why I don’t post here often.

  • http://www.backupquarterbackblog.blogspot.com/ Backup Quarterback Blog

    Have to agree with those who say Hughes was a reach: http://www.backupquarterbackblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-browns-blew-draft.html

  • Edrunk

    agreed. our front office has drafted extremely well. everyone needs to relax. we were worst in the leauge against the run and everyones pissed cause we drafted a guy who specializes in stopping the run. really people????? when the other team has the lead late in the game and the are running the ball to kill time, hughs will be in there. thats why we drafted him. you use the front of the draft to draft starters and the back to draft depth. when we drafted defense high the last two years we drafted offense low. now its time for the offense to get staters and the d to get depth. the plan of bulding throught the draft is quite obvious and its working.

  • Edrunk

    once again….relax. every year our draft gets rated a “C” by everyone, and every year this regime keeps pumping out quality starters. we r in the toughest division in football. its not going to happen overnight. but this is the most progress internally i have seen from the browns in a loooooooonnnggg time. everyone thought they were nuts for taking phil taylor and jabaal sheard. honestly i never heard of sheard!! that turned out pretty good. top 10 overall defense without being able to stop anyone from running on us.