Cleveland Browns Sometimes knowing too much about a draft prospect can become harmful.
That's the lesson Butch Davis and his right-hand man, Pete Garcia, learned when they were running the Browns' draft room.
Cleveland desperately needed a running back in 2002, and Boston College's William Green and Miami's Clinton Portis had received similar marks in their evaluations. But when it came time to make the first-round selection the Browns went for the unknown, taking Green.
"We debated it for weeks in meetings. We wanted a back who was big and physical," said Garcia, who was the Browns' director of football development at the time. "Clinton was a bit on the small side, and we knew he'd had some injuries at Miami."
Garcia said right before the Browns made their first-round selection he called Portis to inform him of their choice.
"He told me, 'You're going to be sorry,'" Garcia said.
Green, who was selected with the 16th pick, was a huge flop. Portis, who was taken by Denver with the 51st pick, became the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
New York Jets The Jets wanted Marvin Jones, the Florida State linebacker.
"We loved Marvin," said Pat Kirwan, then a front-office executive.
And they knew they could get him. The Jets picked third in 1993. The two top picks, held by New England and Seattle, would almost certainly be quarterbacks Drew Bledsoe and Rick Mirer.
So the Jets could have just sat there and taken their guy. But that's never enough.
"The month leading up to the draft, we started to try to make it clear that we liked other players," Kirwan said. "We got the message out that we were strongly considering Garrison Hearst. Arizona, which picked fourth, wanted Hearst."
The night before the draft, the Cardinals called to see if they could switch spots.
They were concerned that the Jets could take Hearst or trade their pick to a team that would.
On draft day, Arizona blinked. To move up just one spot, the Cardinals sent over its own starting running back, Johnny Johnson.
"We ended up with the guy we wanted and a guy who played pretty well for us," Kirwan said.
Johnson rushed for 1,752 yards the next two seasons. Hearst rushed for 433.
Dallas Cowboys Retired scout Jim Garrett helped Cowboys coaches such as Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells stock the shelves with Pro Bowl players from 1987 to 2004.
But his most memorable draft-related memory came a day before the 1989 draft when Cowboys director of player personnel Gil Brandt summoned him to speak to Johnson about whether to take Michigan State coverboy tackle Tony Mandarich or UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman with their overall No. 1 pick.
"I asked Jimmy what the consensus of grades was and he said they were even," Garrett said. "I said if they're even you always have to take the quarterback.
"I scouted Michigan State and UCLA that year and gave Troy a grade of 9 A-1, the highest grade possible.
"I went into the locker room (at Michigan State) and saw the greatest body I ever saw in my life. Tony was cut," Garrett said. "But we know the difficult physical situation he went through.
"I told (owner Jerry Jones) that if you can't say your No. 1 pick is going to the Pro Bowl then don't waste your money. And Troy would lead you to a Super Bowl victory."
San Francisco 49ers Retired front-office executive Neal Dahlen owns seven Super Bowl rings while serving as the 49ers' director of player personnel under Bill Walsh during the Joe Montana-Steve Young glory years and then after he was promoted to general manager for the Broncos under coach Mike Shanahan
"We thought that Joe Montana and Jerry Rice were worth trading up for, but year after year Walsh traded down because he calculated he would get more value and more picks and it turned out he was right more often than wrong," Dahlen said.
Walsh felt that Montana would last until their last pick of the third round in 1979, but chief scout Tony Razzano had him rated higher than anyone else on the staff.
Three quarterbacks were taken before Montana that year, all in the first round, including Phil Simms.
The 49ers traded their first pick, took UCLA running back James Owens in the second round and acquired a third-round pick (No. 82) from Dallas to select Montana.
"Tony was ecstatic that Joe lasted that long in the third round and obviously he was one of the best of all time," Dahlen said. "Joe was like music on the field."
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