What We've Been Told: Stacking the Board

Lane Adkins relays the latest buzz from inside Berea on the upcoming NFL Draft. Is the team really down on Jimmy Clausen? How does the safety board stack? Are running backs truly off the table?

- It's been widely assumed the Cleveland Browns will not utilize the seventh pick in the college player draft on a quarterback. Disarmingly candid Team President Mike Holmgren informed the media that picking a QB with the seventh selection would be difficult due to others areas of need within the player roster.

While some fans may assume that Holmgren is filling the air with smoke, feedback from within the Browns organization is consistent with what the Team President is saying. The Browns do need help along the offensive line and in the defensive backfield, but the organization has not discounted the notion they could trade up in the draft for a player or even trade down slightly.

At present, with nearly a month to go until the college player draft, the Browns front office, including head coach Eric Mangini, have been in discussion regarding the slotting of players, trade opportunities and potential free agents. Some of the buzz we've heard surrounding these players is below.

-  The hottest topic of discussion, both inside and outside the organization, centers around the QB position. The departures of Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson provides a clean slate for this Browns offense heading into the 2010 spring sessions.

While the signing of veteran QB Jake Delhomme and addition of Seneca Wallace provides stability for the present, the Browns are geared to select a QB in the draft.

Which QB and when to select one is the question everyone within the organization and those following the team would like answered. As a result, a great amount of time, research and evaluation is being spent on the available QB's in this draft class.

The results have been mixed, theOBR has learned.

While Holmgren leads the public and others in the league to believe he doesn't like QB Jimmy Clausen from Notre Dame much, theOBR has been informed the Browns have yet to make such a determination.

At presen,t Sam Bradford and Clausen are generally considered to be the cream of the crop. But there are a couple other QBs which have gained the eye of the Browns: Colt McCoy from Texas and Mike Kafka from Northwestern.

- The Browns are understandably high on safety Eric Berry from Tennessee. Berry, a very athletic defensive back who possesses the coverage skills, quickness in recognition and fluid technique the Cleveland coaching staff would like to see in their defensive backfield. Berry is the top-rated safety, but the second-rated safety when it comes to the Browns is far from conclusive.

Taylor Mays from U.S.C. and Earl Thomas from Texas should be categorized as 2A and 2B. Mays has the size, speed, and body structure a team loves to see at the safety position. Physically imposing and quick, Mays has the physical tools to be a playmaker, not only against the pass, but as a solid run support safety. A season ago Mays did not play up to expectations.

TheOBR has learned, Mays suffered with some nagging physical issues last season as USC, as well as some inconsistency in his game and the surrounding talent.

Earl Thomas is cat-like quick, demonstrates recovery speed, solid recognition skills and though not a physical safety, does possess adequate tackling and technique. Thomas covers ground and has the potential to be a ball-hawk type safety at the next level due to an ever-improving skill-set.

- While the majority of draft pundits across the land have slotted Russell Okung from Oklahoma State as the top-rated tackle in the draft, the Browns may have other ideas.

Offensive tackle Trent Williams from Oklahoma has gotten some serious play and is viewed as potentially a high ceiling player. Also, the Browns are high on tackle Bruce Campbell from Maryland.

- In acquiring RB/FB Peyton Hillis from the Denver Broncos this off-season the Browns are supposedly set at running back. Teaming Hillis with RFA Jerome Harrison, Chris Jennings and James Davis, the belief is the organization now can exclude the RB position from being an immediate need in the draft.

Not so fast there... the Browns are believed to have a real interest in a couple of the RB's in the draft, not named Spiller. Three names to be considered are Jahvid Best, Ryan Matthews and Charles Scott. If the opportunity presents itself to get value at the position, don't count them out.

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