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]