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Gruden to Browns: Take the back

By Pat McManamon

Jon Gruden had a conference call today when he talked draft, and ESPN sent a transcript of his comments. There was s nothing directly related to the Bengals, but a couple related to the Browns. Here’s the nuts and bolts, with Gruden’s answer in the fancy dotted line box:


Question: If you’re in Cleveland and you’re committed to supporting Colt McCoy, who better to do it with, Trent Richardson or Justin Blackmon at No. 4?

Can we get them both?  The easiest thing to do is to turn around and hand the ball to somebody 300 times a year.  Everybody says don’t take a running back, we can get those guys in the fifth and sixth and seventh round.  You go find Trent Richardson in the fifth or sixth or seventh round.  He’s a beast.  He broke all of Emmitt Smith’s high school rushing records there in Florida.  I’ve seen him run over people, run around people, he protects the ball, he can catch it, he can pick up blitzes.  He might be the strongest human being on the planet, and I think his weight lifting proves that.  He’s a team captain of a two-time National Championship team. No disrespect to Blackmon, but Adrian Peterson, Trent Richardson as prospects, they kind of remind me of each other, maybe AP had a little bit more home run speed, but these are punishing, difference-maker backs, and I think Richardson with Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly, in the history of great backs they’ve had in Cleveland, that would be pretty neat.

Question: Knowing what you know about Mike Holmgren and the system the Browns are using on offense, can you kind of break down the way you view their situation with Colt McCoy? Do you think that they should use — they have three picks in the top 37 in this year’s draft. Do you think they should use those picks to surround him with pieces like they said they’d be willing to do, or should they go for a Ryan Tannehill or Brandon Weeden, both of whom should be available to them at some point?


Well, I can’t speak for Coach Holmgren. I certainly don’t know what direction they’re heading. I know McCoy was injured and did not finish the season last year, and I saw the backup playing, Seneca Wallace, down the stretch, and I saw that they lost their back, their big back (Peyton) Hillis went to Kansas City. I think they’re waiting on seeing where their young receiving corps is. They could probably use some firepower around whoever the quarterback is. But to answer your question, I like Colt McCoy. He was down here a couple years ago. I think he’s done some really good things in pro football. Obviously he’s got to continue to get better, and I think a proven supporting cast would help any quarterback, let alone Colt McCoy. If I was a guessing man, that would be the way I would guess Cleveland would go, add a couple dynamic skilled players to Colt McCoy and see what happens.


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