BEREA—Mike Holmgren talked about drafting a homerun hitter at the NFL Combine and the Browns hope they found one in Greg Little.
The Browns obtained the pick in the trade with the Falcons (59th overall). The extra second-round pick was the key in the trade that moved the Browns from sixth overall to the 27th spot in the first round. The Falcons traded the Browns their first-, second- and fourth-round picks this year in order to draft Julio Jones. In addition, the Browns will get the Falcons' first- and fourth-round picks next year.
Pat Shurmur is excited to add Little to the receiving corps.
"You are looking for a guy that can beat bump and run and can get down the field and can catch the football," he said. "You're always looking for guys who are big, strong and fast, who can catch the ball and run with it."
Little (6-2, 231) sat out the 2010 season along with Robert Quinn at North Carolina for NCAA rules infractions, but still was named a Biletnikoff Award candidate, an award given to the nation's premier collegiate receiver.
Despite missing his senior season, Tom Heckert said it wasn't hard to evaluate Little.
"It's not hard to evaluate him," Heckert said. "It's just older tape."
Shurmur was asked if Little could be the Browns' No. 1 receiver, eventually.
"We feel like he has a chance to be a (No. 1)," Shurmur said.
Little says you have to earn that status, but hopes to achieve that level.
"Quite frankly, I think that's something that's earned, especially in this league," he said. "It's a challenge that I'm willing to accept.
"I think the sky is the limit for me since I've only played the position for one complete year."
Despite missing the 2010 season, Little said he stayed sharp by catching 100 passes a day. He said he is excited to continue to play in the West Coast offense.
"I prided myself on trying to catch 100 balls a day," he said. "I come from the West Coast offense and it's the same terminology and calls."
Heckert likes Little's ability to get up and get the ball in a crowd.
"I think he can get down the field and one of the best things he can do is go up and get the ball," Heckert said. "I think he can make big plays for us."
Little amassed 2,282 all-purpose yards at North Carolina. He caught 86 passes for 969 yards in his three seasons for the Tar Heels with six touchdowns. He also rushed for 805 yards on 166 carries (4.85 avg.) with six touchdowns. He started as a running back when Hakeem Nicks was still playing for North Carolina to get Little on the field as a freshman.
Little feels his time as a running back has helped him after the catch.
"I think I developed my physical, downhill style from being a running back earlier in my career."
Little isn't characterized as a speed guy, running in the 4.5 range in the 40-yard dash, but he says there are other things that help him.
"I think a lot of things come into play as a receiver," he said. "I feel like route running and the ability to separate is an area that I flourish."
"He's got a lot of the attributes we look for in a receiver," Shurmur said. "He finds a way to separate and he finds a way to get into the end zone."
Ironically, Little played for former Browns coach Butch Davis.
"(Davis) said it was a remarkable organization to be a part of."
The Browns were not concerned with his character issues.
"We spent a lot of time with him here and at his personal workout," Shurmur said. "We feel we've done our due diligence on these guys and feel good about it."
Little said he learned from the missed season and is hungry to play football again.
"I think I've grown from sitting out," Little said. "I'm so hungry to get back out there and play."
Little said he can't wait to hook up with Colt McCoy.
"I sent a text out to Colt and am waiting to talk to him."