Browns recall draft-day experiences

Posted Apr 24, 2013

Several Browns players talked with about their memories of the NFL Draft.

In a little more than 24 hours, the lives of 32 football players will change forever when they are selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

As those young men prepare for the NFL’s annual three-day selection meeting at famed Radio City Music Hall in New York City, several of the Cleveland Browns reflect on their draft-day experiences.

“It was crazy,” said Browns defensive back Joe Haden. “That day, you knew you were going to get drafted. You knew it was going to come, but you didn’t know where you were going to go. You didn’t know if you were going to be in Cleveland, San Fran, Miami. That whole experience of you finally making your dream come true and then, your whole family being there with you, it was just crazy. It was one of the best experiences ever, for sure.”

Haden was selected with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, and the next year, the Browns once again chose defensive players in the first and second rounds.

During the middle of a 132-work stoppage as the NFL and NFL Players Association worked out a new collective bargaining agreement, the Browns selected defensive tackle Phil Taylor in the first round. The following night, they chose defensive end Jabaal Sheard in the second round, and the former University of Pittsburgh star has gone on to lead the team in sacks in each of his first two seasons.

“You don’t know where you’re going,” Sheard said. “You have no idea where you’re going to be drafted, and everybody keeps asking you. It’s like they think you know, but you really have no idea. I just remember sitting with my family and (waiting for) that phone call from a number you don’t know. I’m watching San Francisco take a quarterback, and I was watching that as I was getting the call. It was the Cleveland Browns, and it was exciting. I was still in shock. There was a lockout going on, and I really didn’t know what to expect. Everybody was excited and screaming. Everybody was proud.

“It’s special. It really changes your life. Everybody’s expecting a lot out of you, and you actually made it. You’re here now. There was a lot of crying. We stopped immediately and said a prayer. I’ve got a very praying family, so we quickly did a prayer, and just everybody was excited. It was a good time, and I wouldn’t want to spend it with anybody else other than those people that were there.”

Much like Sheard, center Alex Mack (2009 first-round pick) and quarterback Brandon Weeden (2012 first-rounder) elected to spend draft night with their families.

“Draft Day was pretty exciting,” Mack said. “I was in California with friends and family at a low-key barbecue that we had and it started to get really stressful. I was a pretty early pick, and it was still really stressful. I only had to wait four or five picks from the time we thought I’d get picked. I was real happy and it was an exciting day.”

“I went to New York and did all the festivities, all the fun stuff before, and I decided I wanted to come back and spend it with my family,” Weeden said. “I wanted to spend it with my family, so I flew back the morning of the draft. We had a little get-together at my parents’ house. We had a bunch of people over, hung out, got the news, and celebrated after. The next morning, I was on a flight here to Berea.

“It was truly one of the best days of my life, not only to get drafted where I did, but to be able to spend it with everybody that was at the house. The memories I’ll have forever. It’s something that doesn’t happen very often, so I was very fortunate.”

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