Director of Pro Personnel, Denver Broncos
Tom Heckert was named the Cleveland Browns’ general manager on January 11, 2010. He joined the club after spending the previous nine seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles (2001-09), including the final four as General Manager (2006-09).
In Heckert’s first year running Cleveland’s draft, three of the team’s top four draft choices finished the season as starters. Cornerback Joe Haden (1st round) and safety T.J. Ward (2a) were consensus all-rookie selections. In addition, three other rookies - including a pair of draft choices – were on the 53-man squad at season’s end. The veteran free agency market netted two starters in linebacker Scott Fujita and tight end Benjamin Watson, the team’s leading receiver last year. In addition, trades brought over three more starters in linebacker Chris Gocong, cornerback Sheldon Brown and running back Peyton Hillis, who rushed for a team-high 1,177 yards in 2010.
Heckert first went to the Eagles as Director of Player Personnel in 2001 before being promoted to Vice President of Player Personnel in 2003. He joined the Eagles following a 10-year stint with the Miami Dolphins (1991-2000), spending his first nine seasons there as both a pro and college scout. Heckert also served as the Dolphins’ Assistant Director of Pro Personnel/College Scout in 1999 before being promoted to Director of Pro Personnel in 2000.
During Heckert’s tenure with the Eagles, the team drafted or acquired 10 players who would go on to earn Pro Bowl status, including kicker David Akers, defensive lineman Trent Cole, wide receiver DeSean Jackson, offensive lineman Jason Peters, cornerback Asante Samuel and fullback Leonard Weaver, all of whom were selected to the Pro Bowl in Heckert’s final season in Philadelphia. Of the 22 Eagles starters at the end of the 2009 season, 13 were draft choices of the team during Heckert’s tenure while two more were signed as undrafted free agents. In fact, three players from the club’s 2009 draft class were among the 13.
Over the course of Heckert’s 20-year NFL career, the teams with which he has been associated have experienced 14 winning seasons, won eight division titles and made 14 postseason trips, including six Conference Championship game appearances (1992, 2001-04, 2008 seasons), in addition to representing the NFC at Super Bowl XXXIX following the 2004 season.
In his career, Heckert has had the opportunity to work for three of the most successful head coaches in NFL history, including Hall of Famer Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson and Andy Reid.
Heckert was appointed by the NFL to the College Advisory Committee in 2003, which advises college football juniors on their draft status. He was named to the General Managers Advisory Committee in 2008, which consults Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL football operations department on key issues regarding player development, scouting and technology.
A native of Adrian, Michigan, Heckert spent two seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Hillsdale (Mich.) College, where he also played defensive back. A second generation NFL executive, his father, Tom, spent 26 years in the NFL player personnel ranks, with his final 19 seasons as part of the Dolphins’ personnel department before retiring following the 2007 season. His father also spent five seasons as the Midwest scout for the Cleveland Browns from 1982-86.
Tom has a son, Griffin, and a daughter, Madison.