As the days pass in counting down to the college player draft, news and information becomes a muddled web. Organizations begin to posture, not wanting to show their true intent, while others simply go about their strategic planning and await one of the biggest festivities in the game.
In Cleveland, the Browns are playing both sides of the fence. With this Cleveland Browns organization, free agency and the draft are all about "value"; don't think for a minute there is a value placed on players often linked to trade speculation, as well as those who are garnering attention in the draft.
- From the "Say it isn't so, but..." department: yes, the Browns have taken the time to scout and delve into the playing and personal history of no less than three QB's in this draft class -- Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez and Pat White. Plenty of talk has surrounded the Browns and Sanchez in the past week, but interestingly, Stafford is quietly the choice of the draft-eligible QB's of some we will classify as close to the Browns organization. As for White, he is an interesting player and one who the Browns have looked at in the mold of Brad Smith, a former player for Eric Mangini while with the New York Jets and a former college QB.
- As for the QB's on the roster, the dilemma is as such: while the staff likes the intangibles Brady Quinn brings to the table, the organization is not overly impressed with his overall arm strength -- which has been described as "sufficient". The staff likes the physical qualities and experience Derek Anderson brings to the table, but questions his overall mindset and ability to play within the scheme and rise above certain situations when necessary.
- Anderson and WR Braylon Edwards continue to be names popping up in different draft-day scenario's. The Browns organization has done little to squash speculation about the availability of the two players in league circles. And yes, there appears to be more than one team interested in the WR.
- The Browns are looking to trade out of the fifth selection in the first round of the draft, but will only do so if they can gain additional first-day selections. If a trading partner is not found, the belief is the Browns will select the best available player, not the best available player at a position of perceived need.
- Selecting WR Michael Crabtree with the fifth selection appears unlikely, unless the organization trades Edwards. Even then, the selection of Crabtree is extremely questionable as far as we've been told.
- OLB Aaron Curry is one player the Browns would love to see available when their turn in the first round comes around. Curry projects to be a long-time, high-quality prospect. DE/OLB Brian Orakpo, another player of interest to the Browns, projects as a potential high reward-type prospect, with an increased rate of failure in comparison to Curry. Another pass rusher, Florida DE Everette Brown, rates as potentially the best pass-rushing prospect on the board, although he's a player who isn't evaluated to be able to transition to the OLB position -- a position the Browns have been linked to seeking immediate upgrade through the draft process.
- If the Browns are able to complete a trade-down in the first round -- one which may provide them a selection or two in the second half of round one -- the Browns could find a windfall of talent to fortify their immediate roster needs. The safety, offensive tackle, center, linebacker, running back and wide receiver positions are all in play; the quarterback position is not expected to be in play with a pick in the second half of round one, as Sanchez and Stafford are expected to be off the board.
- Safety Patrick Chung has made an impression on the organization. Chung projects as a solid safety in a defensive scheme such as the Browns. His ability to play going forward with a physical tone, while displaying qualities to play in space, has been recognized by those in Berea.
- While offensive tackle Andre Smith has taken some hits on draft boards due to his questionable combine behavior and less-than-stellar physical physique, the Browns are one team keeping tabs on the lineman. The reason being, he is a massive physical presence that those close to the Alabama program believe will be a very good fit in Eric Mangini's regimented system in Cleveland. You don't take Smith the fifth selection, but he becomes a large option if the Browns are able to trade down in the first round.
Lane Adkins' Draft Notes of Note
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