So Who Really Runs the Browns’ Draft?


Just so we are clear, president Mike Holmgren is not the guy calling the shots when the Browns embark on the journey that is the annual NFL Draft.

It’s a common misconception among Browns fans and even some of the national media it seems. Maybe it’s because Holmgren is such a big personality, and writing stories on him might be more entertaining than ones on the guy who is actually running the team’s draft, general manager Tom Heckert.

This question came up in a recent “Hey, Tony!” column (a column in which Browns beat writer Tony Grossi answers fans’ questions) and Grossi answered it the same way. He notes that Heckert prefers to stay out of the limelight, which makes his position with the Browns a great fit. But it doesn’t mean we should be giving credit where it isn’t due.

There is no doubt that you saw a lot of “In Holmgren We Trust” messages circulating around Facebook and Twitter during the course of the draft, especially when the Browns made their big first round trade to the Atlanta Falcons. It’s understandable, not only because Holmgren does in fact oversee the operations of the organization, but because he’s such a household name. But when the Browns make moves in the draft, it’s Heckert that we can hold accountable. Other than the 2010 draft, when Holmgren stepped in to make sure the Browns selected quarterback Colt McCoy, he essentially stays out of Heckert’s way.

It’s great that fans are finally able to get behind the front office of the Cleveland Browns. So far, it’s hard to argue that they aren’t guiding the team in the right direction, given its holes and crushing need for depth. It’s just important that we start throwing out the “In Heckert We Trust” slogans as well, especially around draft time.