Browns Get Their Big Back

Can Montario Hardesty follow in the footsteps of another big Tennessee back? The Browns hope he comes back from injury with a similar vengeance, as the team makes their first pick on offense.

BEREA—The Browns finally made their first trade of this year's draft.

There was much talk about using their 10 draft picks to move up. After selecting T.J. Ward in the second round, the Browns moved up to the end of the second- round (59th overall) and selected running back Montario Hardesty from Tennessee.

The Browns traded three picks in order to move up from their first pick in the third round at number 71. In addition, they gave the Eagles their first two picks in the fifth-round (134th and 146th overall).

When the trade was announced the initial speculation was that Colt McCoy would be the pick.

However, Heckert made the move to go get a big back to off -set Jerome Harrison. By selecting Hardesty in the second-round, the Browns are thinking Hardesty could be their feature back.

"We felt comfortable going up and getting him," Heckert said. "That's what we envision him (being a featured back).

"There's no question he's very physical," he said. "He's more than just a banger. He ran a 4.4 something."

The Browns are hoping Hardesty will turn out like another former Volunteer running back, Jamal Lewis, who had an outstanding career with the Ravens and Browns after recovering from knee injuries in college.

Hardesty (6-0, 225) underwent multiple surgeries to repair anterior cruciate ligament damage in his right knee in 2006. In 2009, Hardesty rushed for 1,345 yards, the fourth-best season total in Tennessee history. He averaged over 103 yards a game in 2009 and carried the ball 282 times. His season best production was 179 yards and three touchdowns against Kentucky. He had 171 yards and a score the week prior against Vanderbilt.

In his career, Hardesty gained 2,391 yards with 26 touchdowns on 556 carries (4.3 avg.). He also caught 38 passes for 405 yards.

Heckert said there is no concern about Hardesty being healthy.

"He is a very talented guy," Heckert said. "We think he is healthy. That's why we have doctors and trainers and they feel comfortable with him."

Heckert said the Browns have been true to their pre draft assessments.

"We said we were going to take the best available players and we've done that."


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