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Another trade brings CB help

Zac Jackson, Staff Writer

04.28.2007

The Browns came into the draft needing to address the cornerback position, and in the middle of the second round they made another trade with the Cowboys to do it.

A few hours after their first trade with the Cowboys included the 36th overall pick, the Browns traded back into the second round to get cornerback Eric Wright, an intriguing early entry prospect, with the 53rd pick.

To get Wright, the Browns gave up their third and fourth-round selections. The Browns and Cowboys also swapped picks in the sixth round, the Cowboys getting Pick 178 and the Browns getting Pick 195.

That essentially ended Day One of the draft for the Browns -- a day that started with the drafting of highly-touted offensive prospects Joe Thomas and Brady Quinn and ended with the addition of another talented player at a position of need.

Both Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage admitted the Browns probably wouldn't have been able to get Wright where they did if not for concerns over a March, 2005 incident in which he was initially charged with rape. The charges were later dropped, though Wright left USC and transferred to UNLV in the aftermath.

"Ever since that time he's had a clean bill of health, basically," Crennel said. "The charges were dropped. He understands that he made a mistake, and he told me that he's learned from it. I've had in my office and I've talked to him. I believe that he has learned from it.

"I think he'll be a good guy and a good player for us."

Wright (5-foot-11, 190) sat out 2005 per NCAA transfer rules and played in his only nine games for UNLV last fall. He played in 13 games at USC, making four starts as a redshirt freshman for the Trojans' 2004 national championship team.

"This is a really talented player," Savage said. "He has pretty good size and excellent speed. His outstanding workout at the combine really piqued our interest."

Wright was the fastest cornerback at the combine, posting a 4.32 40-yard dash. Savage said the concerns over Wright's past probably caused him to drop "half a round," but the Browns are confident that Wright is not a character concern going forward.

"If we weren't confident of that, we would have taken him off our board," Savage said. "We left him exactly where we thought he should be.

"We did background checks of the full-scale variety. We found no incidents prior to that and over the last two years he's lived in Las Vegas and has not been in trouble since."

Wright also has potential value as a kickoff and/or punt returner, and he'll have a shot to contribute as a rookie. The Browns' cornerbacks suffered through a nightmarish 2006 season due to injury, and adding depth and talent to the position has been an offseason priority.

"We might take another corner (Sunday)," Savage said. "We need them."