John Taylor's Draft Truth & Rumors: 4/23

As the draft nears, the smoke thickens. John Taylor is here with his Fan of Truth to clear it away.

(Almost) Each day leading up to the April 28th-29th NFL draft, The OBR will take a look at some of the rumors floating around the world of football, rumors that come from both our vast network of sources and those emanating from the "mainstream"—or "real"—media. This running diary will keep track of not only rumors and whispers directly involving the Cleveland Browns, but also those that could have an effect on the Browns as well as draft talk that has nothing to do with the team.

We'll give you the rumor, than our take on the rumor based on talks with people around the league.

RUMOR: The Browns have a more-than-passing interest in Louisville running back Michael Bush and would take a serious look at him should he be available in the third round.

TRUTH: There is a very good chance that is indeed the case. The Browns are one of several clubs that have been very encouraged by the recent reports on the Bush's rehab from a broken leg. There's growing sentiment around the league, however, that the glowing reports could push the one-time first-round talent back into the second round and out of reach of Cleveland.

RUMOR: The Raiders have entered into contract talks with both Jamarcus Russell and Calvin Johnson.

TRUTH: Based on what we've been told, that is not the case. In fact, sources have told The OBR, there is still a small but vocal faction within the Raiders organization leading the charge for the club to select Brady Quinn with the first overall pick. It's believed that new head coach Lane Kiffin is part of that group and the organization has yet to narrow down their choices to two, let alone one. That being said, it's highly, highly unlikely that the first player off the board won't come from the talented duo of Russell and Johnson. It is likely, however, that discussions

RUMOR: The Browns are one of the four teams Chargers general manager A.J. Smith refuses to name but have an interest in restricted free-agent running back Michael Turner.

TRUTH: "Nope," a Browns source succinctly told The OBR. While Turner is tendered at a first- and third-round pick level, it's a widely held belief that the Chargers would be willing to let the back bolt for a second rounder. Even at that seemingly bargain price, the Browns still consider it too steep an amount to pay for a talented—albeit largely unproven—backup.

RUMOR: The Bills would look to trade up from the 12th spot in the draft should Adrian Peterson fall out of the top five.

TRUTH: This is one rumor that could actually have some legs. After trading Willis McGahee to the Ravens, the Bills have a hole at the running back position. And should Peterson fall out of the top five, the Redskins would be sitting there in the sixth spot looking to trade down. The Redskins have zero picks from the second to fourth round, and are looking to replenish their 2007 stockpile by trading out of the sixth spot. The Bills have an extra third-round pick courtesy of the McGahee trade, so coupling their own third-round pick with their first-round pick might be enough and would fit the draft pick value chart.

RUMOR: If the Raiders bypass Johnson and select Russell #1 overall, the Falcons will make an attempt to trade up with the Lions for the receiver.

TRUTH: The Falcons are privately trying to spread word around the league that they are not as interested in Johnson as some believe and that there is almost no chance that they would seek to trade up to grab the Georgia Tech product. "Don't buy it and don't believe it for a second," one source told The OBR. "They are eyeing Johnson and think he can be the one to help (Michael) Vick reach the next level.".

RUMOR: Joe Thomas will not make it past the Cardinals, who own the fifth-overall pick in the draft.

TRUTH: "You can take that one to the bank. Or, as close to the bank as you can get this time of the year," a league source familiar with Arizona's intentions. Of course, the offensive lineman could very well be gone before then, as both the Lions and Bucs will give serious consideration to the Wisconsin product. And, yes, I'm fully aware that there was no mention of the Browns.

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