The clock is ticking and, with less than two weeks before the NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns continue to evaluate their opportunities.
- As it stands today, the Browns and Eagles have not gotten to the down-and-dirty on QB Sam Bradford, nor have the Browns and San Diego Chargers discussed QB Philip Rivers.
The Chargers and Tennessee Titans are rumored to have been discussing a Rivers to Tennessee for the number-two overall pick, which would be used to select Oregon QB Marcus Mariota.
- At the present time, the Browns are in the middle of trade rumors for the 2nd overall selection in the draft, which they could turn into Mariota.
The Browns have not decided whether they will continue to make a concerted run at Mariota, but the believed asking price of #12, #19 and a future draft selection leaves the Browns hedging against such a move.
As speculation points to the number-two slot in the draft as being where Mariota will land, many teams, including the Browns have mocked scenarios, which are showing Mariota landing between number-two and number-six. If teams draft to the best possible player available mantra, Mariota could fall a bit further, but not a drastic fall.
Teams are refusing to negotiate against themselves at this point, especially in light of the Rivers speculation.
Make no mistake, the Browns really like Mariota and he is graded as being the most stable, quality QB available in the draft. Anything Mariota will come down to cost and this is the facet which leaves the Browns uncertain, but acknowledging the necessity to secure ‘their’ guy.
- As the draft approaches, the Browns continue to look at the available quarterbacks. There is a belief within the Browns organization that adding a QB is a possibility if it falls within the scope of their draft board or if value opportunity presents itself.
- The sentiment within the Browns organization is that draft-eligible quarterbacks other than Mariota and Florida State QB Jameis Winston will be developmental types. TheOBR hears the Browns have Garrett Grayson (CSU) and Bryce Petty (Baylor) rated higher than draft reports have speculated.
- If the Browns decide to go the “true” developmental route, keep an eye on Brandon Bridge (SAU), Trevor Siemian (NU) and Mark Myers (JCU)
- Interestingly, one player in Philadelphia that has piqued the Browns interest is LB Kiko Alonzo, but the Eagles appear poised to retain the LB.
- The Browns would like to add a pass rusher to the equation heading toward the 2015 season. Bud Dupree (KEN) and Preston Smith (MSU) continue to be names we know the Browns are fond of.
A common belief coming out of the Browns organization is that DE Dante Fowler (FLA) could be the best defensive prospect in the draft. Citing his high motor, speed and explosiveness, Fowler could become the next dominant pass rushing presence off the edge.
- Some were surprised when the Browns did not get seriously involved securing a pass rusher early in free agency. TheOBR has been told free agent LB Justin Houston (KC - franchised) is/was the highest rated pass rusher available (prior to FA or draft) according to the Browns.
The Browns have done extensive evaluation work on Houston, who has stated he will not play in Kansas City and would like to be set free.
- Despite testing positive for marijuana, OLB Randy Gregory (NEB) is on the Browns draft board.
- The Browns love WR DeVante Parker (LOU) and believe he will be an impact player at the next level, but there is also a sentiment theOBR is hearing that Amari Cooper (ALA) is the WR the Browns believe would come in and be an impact player immediately, as he is the more polished route runner.
Three WRs the Browns have been reluctant to discuss are Nelson Agholor (USC), Breshad Perriman (UCF) and Devin Smith (OSU). There is a growing sentiment the Browns are very high on the over-the-top ability of Perriman and Smith and professional characteristics of Agholor.
The Browns, like many team personnel departments are of the belief the 2015 draft class at the WR position is deeper than the excellent class of 2014. Gaining a viable WR option doesn’t necessarily have to come in first round.
- Danny Shelton (WASH) has emerged as the #1 NT on the Browns draft board, but the distance between he and the likes of Eddie Goldman (FSU) and Jordan Phillips (OKLA) isn’t monumental.
With that, the Browns are very high on Malcom Brown (DT - TEX) and believe he can be very good as a zero, as well as highly productive/versatile as a three tech.
If the Browns pass on the defensive line early, keep an eye on Carl Davis (Iowa). While Davis’ motor isn’t that of a Shelton, he is viewed as a definite two-down type player entering the league.
Notes on OL’men in the next notes installment
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