Reality Bytes: The Pre-Draft Buzz

With smoke and speculation spewing across the web, Lane Adkins brings us back to reality with what he's learned about the Browns draft approach. Team strategy and names to remember...

The Browns know they need to add a quarterback of the future. The question remains: "When?". The Browns will attempt to solidify the position if they can, begging the question of whether they will trade up for Sam Bradford of Oklahoma, select another developmental prospect later in the draft, or shoot for an promising QB just outside the upper reaches of the draft.

The draft is more than just quarterbacks, however. An aging defensive line, a need for quality and depth in the defensive backfield, a need for improved speed and quickness throughout the roster, and other priorities will drive the Browns throughout the upcoming April weekend. As fans, media and pundits contemplate the Browns moving up in the draft to select a potential offensive star, the whispers around the team suggest something else entirely...

- The Browns like the skill set and characteristics of QB Sam Bradford, but they do not appear inclined to pay the hefty price to trade up in the draft to select him. With each passing day, Bradford seemingly becomes more and more the odds-on favorite to be the first player selected in the draft. As with Reggie Bush, his potential reluctance to negotiate prior to the draft could change the complexion of the draft quickly. The Browns are going to be "all ears" when it comes to Bradford and trade opportunities.

- While jumping on the Bradford bandwagon is easy, one player the Browns organization really holds in high regard is defensive lineman Gerald McCoy also from Oklahoma. Although rarely mentioned in connection with the team, the Browns envision McCoy as a tremendous talent within the interior of a defensive line. Although it remains unlikely that McCoy will be available to the Browns at number seven in the first round, the organization will keep a keen eye on him.

- With the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins making deals to secure quarterbacks, the opportunity to either select Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame) or deal the selection to a QB-needy team has greatly improved. Presently, it does not appear the Browns have made an organizational decision on Clausen, but information provided to theOBR indicates selecting Clausen is unlikely.

- Another McCoy has garnered significant speculation as a target of the Browns -- Texas' Colt McCoy. While Bradford, Clausen and Tim Tebow (Florida) garner the majority of attention in the media, McCoy could ultimately be a very viable option for the Browns. The team likes McCoy and believe he could become a very good professional at the next level, but as many other teams speculate, McCoy's size (6-1 and 215-pounds) is somewhat of a concern.

- Another QB that garners nearly no press is Jonathan Crompton from the University of Tennessee. Crompton has been discussed numerous times in theOBR's, "Ask the Insiders" forum as an intriguing prospect that the Browns like and will consider as the draft plays out. No longer flying under the radar, Crompton could be an interesting pick for a team with a structured system that enables this young prospect to grow and develop. Crompton is an example of a player teams have said little about, but have kept tracking during his off-season work.

- Most discussions around the league place the Browns holding their pick or moving up on the first day of the draft. Still, there is a growing sentiment the organization may look to trade down slightly in the hopes of obtaining an additional second round draft selection. With the quality and depth of this draft class being very impressive, the Browns seek quantity within a quality draft.

- A trade back in the first round slots the team in a better position to select a defensive lineman, defensive back, or an outside linebacker offensive lineman. The Browns like CB Joe Haden, S Earl Thomas, DE/OLB Derrick Morgan, OT Bryan Bulaga, OG Mike Iupati, CB Devin McCourty and DE Jared Odrick -- but not with the seventh selection in the draft. If unable to find value in a trade, any of the before-mentioned could be the selection, Of course, this is dependent on the likes of Bradford, Eric Berry, etc being off the board.

- If the Browns are unable to position themselves to make a run at safeties Eric Berry or Earl Thomas, keep an eye on Nate Allen (South Florida) in the second round and Kam Chancellor (Virginia Tech). The Browns staff is impressed with the physical qualities of both players.

- Improving team speed is an area the Browns seek to improve and they have evaluated the WR's in this draft endlessly. What the Browns seek is an explosive presence on the offensive side of the ball that can be a deep threat on any given play. As the Browns offense lacks a consistent deep presence, the organization has a deep appreciation of the talents of Taylor Price (Ohio), Dexter McCluster (Mississippi) and Jacoby Ford (Clemson).

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