Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Heckert concedes draft mistakes with Eagles

Browns general manager Tom Heckert enters this year's draft with plenty of ammunition -- 13 overall picks, including three in the top 37 and six in the top 118.

Heckert concedes draft mistakes with Eagles

Browns general manager Tom Heckert. (Amy Sancetta/AP)
Browns general manager Tom Heckert. (Amy Sancetta/AP)

Browns general manager Tom Heckert enters this year's draft with plenty of ammunition -- 13 overall picks, including three in the top 37 and six in the top 118.

He also told reporters that he carries the lessons learned from mistakes he made with the Eagles, when he said he was influenced by pressure from within the organization and from outside with fans and media to make picks he should not have made.

The two he pointed to are trading up in the first round in 2003 to take Jerome McDougle from Miami with the 15th overall pick. Four years later, the Eagles took Victor Abiamiri in the second round after trading away their first-round pick.

"You just can't panic," Heckert said this week. "I've done it. I've made bad mistakes for that exact reason. I've traded up in the first round for both [pass rusher and defensive tackle] and they were bad moves. It was strictly for a need. It was something we never should have done.

"I am trying to avoid that. That was a long time ago when we did those, but we've learned from it. There's a lot of pressure from media, fans, people in your building, scouts, and it's my job to say, 'Wait a minute. It's not the right thing to do.

"I think that is the hardest thing to convey to the fans. It's not like we don't want those guys -- we want them just as bad as they do -- but we don't want to make a mistake doing it."

He also, though, has the benefit of two secod-round picks who have become Pro Bowlers - in DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy.

“I’m not tooting my own horn, but, if you can get those two guys in the second round ...”, Heckert said, not finishing the sentence.

**

The Eagles' DeSean Jackson and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and former Eagle Donovan McNabb were among the NFLers scheduled to take part in second annual Double Play Celebrity Softball Game on Saturday.

The event, held in Scottsdale, Ariz., is hosted by Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and benefits the Larry Fitzgerald First Down Fund, which supports youth organizations, and the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund, named his mother, who died of breast cancer.

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