BEREA — Florida cornerback Joe Haden is the first pick of the Mike Holmgren Era.
With Tennessee safety Eric Berry gone to the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 5, Holmgren selected Haden at No. 7 on Thursday night. Holmgren was hired as president in January and quickly hired general manager Tom Heckert, who’s in charge of putting the draft board together.
ESPN’s Michael Smith reported the Browns were considering cornerback Kyle Wilson of Boise State, but chose Haden. At the scouting combine in February, Haden seemed a logical choice for the Browns, who were desperate to find a cornerback to pair with Eric Wright.
But Haden ran two subpar 40-yard dashes at the combine and the Browns later traded with Philadelphia for veteran cornerback Sheldon Brown. That appeared to reduce the need for a cornerback, and Haden’s name disappeared from most discussions involving the Browns.
Haden was a finalist for the Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back. He’s 5-foot-10 3/4, 193 pounds and had 68 tackles, 10 pass breakups and four interceptions in 2009 as a junior.
The scouting report says he’s physical and confident.
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