Joe Haden & Maurkice Pouncey Taken in First Round
Joe Haden's slow times in the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine didn't scare away the Cleveland Browns. Once on the clock, they didn't waste one second before taking the cornerback.
Unable to move in the first round, the Browns selected Haden, a
two-time All-American at Florida, with the No. 7 overall pick in
Thursday's first round.
"We thought he was the best fit for us at No. 7," Browns general manager Tom Heckert said. "He was a guy we spent a lot of time with and evaluating. He's a bigger corner that can really play the run, has good cover ability, is a smart kid and he's tough.
"We liked Joe all along in the process." Haden is the first player taken by Cleveland's new regime of Heckert and Browns president Mike Holmgren, who was brought in to restore this troubled franchise. Haden is also the second addition to Cleveland's shaky secondary after the Browns acquired former Pro Bowler Sheldon Brown in a trade from Philadelphia earlier this month.
The 5-foot-10, 193-pound Haden wept when he received the phone call in New York from the Browns. "Those were tears of joy," Haden said.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected Florida center Maurkice Pouncey with the 18th pick in the NFL draft, the first center they've drafted in the first round in 73 years. The Steelers hadn't taken a center with their first pick since Mike Basrak of Duquesne in 1937.
The Steelers had two of the best centers in NFL history, Hall of
Famer Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson, but neither was a first-round pick. Pouncey, who is 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds, can play guard or
center. The Steelers could play him initially at guard - just as
they did with Dawson - until he is ready to replace Justin Hartwig
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