It is that time of the year. News and rumors begin circulating about players that may be looking for a new home next season and the college players are at the tip of everybodies tongue.
Well, this corner has been no exception in the "tell people what you know" category.
Looking back several weeks now, there has been mention about specific Browns players that may be exposed in the expansion draft, in danger of being released, salary restructures, and players that will be demoted, signed, and possibly drafted.
If you subscribe to the Bernie's Insiders: The Magazine, you would have been on top of much of the above for quite a long time by reading the "What We've Been Told" column.
The "What We've Been Told" column by Lane Adkins started as a column in the magazine, providing news that you don't read in your local newspaper and now will be a feature on the website as well.
We would like to thank everyone that has made their way to the new Rumor Central Forum. Keep those questions and rumors coming, the off-season may be approaching, but the excitement doesn't stop when the games are all played.
"What We've Been Told"
Sixty-minutes and gone?
According to sources close to the team, a few players will be wearing a Browns uniform, possibly for the last time.
"I don't believe that Roman Oben will be back next season. His salary (4+ million dollars) his lack of strength at the point of atack, and his game don't fit into the Browns scheme," the sources said. "A guy like Rainer (Wali) may not be offered a contract, others like Orpheus Roye, Dave Wohlabaugh, and Corey Fuller may be asked to restructure their deals."
Just where will Browns Director of Football Operations be in the 2002 season?
According to a team source, Clark has a couple of options.
"There were some problems when (Butch) Davis and (Pete) Garcia arrived. It was a slap in the face of Dwight. Lets say that there was not a smooth transition in the front-office," the source said. "Now, we hear rumors that Dwight (Clark) could join the Panthers (Carolina) front-office. Right now, I don't expect Dwight to leave Cleveland, but he has ties with the Panthers and he could regain his identity, which he was stripped of in Cleveland."
With the hoopla from the Holiday season college bowl games concluded, this is the time of year when speculation about the draft begins to warm-up.
There is no exception here, following the players, talking to athletic directors and coaches have been the norm for the past few months.
Now, "What We've Been Told" has some information from an national scout for a high-profile agent.
This scout and agent has provided us with their exclusive listing of the top three college players, by position that they expect to be available for the NFL draft in April.
The listing/ranking by position for the players on the offensive side of the ball and quotes on these players by the scout are as follows:
Quarterbacks: 1) Joey Harrington, Oregon. 2) David Carr, Fresno State. 3) Kurt Kittner, Illinois.
"There is no reason for the Browns to look for a quarterback, Tim Couch will be a good one, once he gets some players around him," the scout said.
Running Backs: 1) Willie Green, Boston College. 2) T.J. Duckett, Michigan State. 3) DeShaun Foster, UCLA.
"This is one area that the Browns need to seriously look at. All three backs are different. Green brings speed, some power, and good hands in the passing game. Foster can be a tremendous back, but is inconsistent and tends to put the ball on the turf. Duckett is a large about, almost 260 pounds that can run through you and at times around you," the scout said. "We are hearing that Green is their top choice at running back, followed closely by Duckett."
Fullbacks: 1) Najeh Davenport, Miami, Fla. 2) Jamar Martin, Ohio State. 3) Charles Stackhouse, Mississippi.
"Hands down, Davenport has the most upside of the group at fullback," the scout said. "He can run with power, has good speed, can catch the ball, and his blocking has improved. He is almost fully recovered from the knee injury and his broken foot will likely cause his stock to drop, but he will play in the league.Martin is a tremendous blocker at the point of attack, but could have problems in the open-field and Stackhouse is a servicable player, but has some upside.
Tight-Ends: 1) Jeremy Shockey, Miami, Fla. 2) Daniel Graham, Colorado. 3) Jerramy Stephens, Washington.
"The evolution of the tight-end position continues in this draft," the scout said. "Shockey is a lanky kid that runs and catches the ball like a wide receiver, creates mismatches, and works hard. Graham is a good receiver, looks like an ideal H-back and Stephens has all the tools but doesn't apply himself."
Wide Receivers: 1) Antonio Bryant, Pittsburgh. 2) Andre Davis, Virginia Tech. 3) Josh Reed, LSU.
"Not as talented a group as in recent drafts. There really isn't much top-end speed and we have issues will almost every receiver in this draft," the scout said. "On talent alone, Bryant is a great talent, too bad he is a major problem off the field. Andre Davis has tremendous upside, runs very well, but has been injury prone. If he can stay healthy, he will be a player. Reed on the other hand is dynamite. Makes all the catches, runs great routes, is a solid kid, but he doesn't have that burner speed that teams crave. We have no doubt that he will be successful in the league."
Offensive Tackles: 1) Bryant McKinnie, Miami, Fla. 2) Mike Pearson, Florida. 3) Mike Williams, Texas.
"McKinnie is rock solid and could be the best left tackle since Anthony the Great in Cincinnati. He moves well, is strong, and his technique keeps improving," the scout said. "If it weren't for McKinnie, Pearson would easily be one of the better tackles that have come out in awhile. He plays strong, runs and pass blockes well, definitely a solid pro player. Williams is massive and is really nimble on his feet. Very consistent, can blow up a defensive tackle and guard, if you want a right tackle, Williams is your man."
Offensive Guards: 1) Toniu Fonoti, Nebraska. 2) Andre Gurode, Colorado. 3) Terrence Metcalf, Mississippi.
"This is a deep draft for offensive guards. If he does declare, Fonoti is the top talent in a rich pool. He is a mauler, just a beast inside, we see him as an all-pro," the scout said. "Gurode can play both center and guard, he is a dominating talent that drives people off the ball, needs some work in pass protection, but is a player. Metcalf projects at guard, though played tackle at Mississippi. Has great strength and power, plug him in at guard and let him play."
Centers: 1) LeCharles Bentley, Ohio State. 2) Seth McKinney, Texas A&M. 3) Melvin Fowler, Maryland.
"The top three players at this position are very closely rated, there is not one dominant center," the scout said. "Bentley is extremely aggressive, sometimes too aggressive, this is where he gets into trouble. Has played tackle and guard at Ohio State, he is a physical player that should improve at the next level. McKinney is a solid technician, very solid, needs to improve strength to be successful at the next level. Fowler has improved every season at Maryland, has gotten stronger, plays well in close space and can reach blockers in the open field. Injury history raises concerns.