The Browns are notorious for failing to draft elite players, especially in the first round, but it’s been obvious the past few years the organization got it right with the drafting of cornerback Joe Haden.
Taken 7th overall in 2010, Haden is paying out some serious dividends and is widely regarded as a shutdown corner. His on-field results were recently backed up when the NFL Network named the Pro Bowler the 39th best player in the league in its top 100 countdown.
Not bad for a player who bombed at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Haden isn’t the only player in history who went to the workout and had a bad day. But with all the attention paid to the Combine before this year’s draft, it’s worth noting the poking and prodding doesn’t always tell the whole story.
Haden bombed his vertical leap and his 40-time was in the 4.5 range, yet the Browns general manager at the time, Tom Heckert, gambled and drafted him anyways.
The Browns are hoping to strike defensive back gold again with its recent selection of Justin Gilbert, who by the way, was excellent at last winter’s Combine.
The cornerback position is becoming increasingly important as teams watched the Seahawks use the physical, press-man coverage style of play to vault their defense into Super Bowl champions.
The hope is Gilbert will join Haden in the top 100 as the Browns lockdown receivers and reap playoff appearances for many years to come.
Will Justin Gilbert live up the hype as lockdown corner? What do you think?