As the clock ticks down toward the college player draft, speculation is running rampant in numerous NFL cities. Presently holding the seventh overall selection in the first round of the draft, which kicks off Thursday evening, the Cleveland Browns could be a major player when the excitement begins.
With the majority of talks surrounding the Browns attempting to trade-up in the draft, it is more likely that a any trade involving the Browns in the first round will be one to move down. The Browns have been very diligent in exploring a solid number of trade down possibilities in recent days, which would provide value and additional draft selections while still landing a top-end talent.
A trade down could also enable the Browns to gain an additional second round draft selection, which theOBR has learned the Browns appear to be seeking. With the front office perceiving a dearth of quality talent and depth at numerous positions, the Browns are yet again seeking to fortify the roster.
If anything, the Browns appear poised to make a splash starting Thursday evening in New York.
- Despite continued speculation, theOBR has learned it remains unlikely the Browns will trade-up into the first position in the draft to obtain QB Sam Bradford. At the present, the Rams seek more in return than the often mentioned draft value chart would appear to indicate.
- It has been often said that if a team has an opportunity to acquire a franchise type QB, they have to pursue it. This is what the discussions between the Rams and Browns have been directed toward, as the Browns do believe Bradford is that type of talent. In their first draft with the Browns, team president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert would like to make a monumental move to define the organization under their watch. In Cleveland, unlike some of the recent mock national mock drafts, Bradford is the consensus top-rated QB. Do they like him enough to mortgage a number of draft selections to secure his services?
- Additional intrigue as to the direction the Browns will take if they remain in the number-seven slot in the first round could come into play Thursday evening. No player has helped his draft status more in the past week than QB Jimmy Clausen. Fully healthy following toe surgery, an injury which hampered the QB throughout the 2009 season at Notre Dame, Clausen was very good in his recent well-attended workout session. Questions regarding his ability to come through the ball, his footwork, and his accuracy/velocity were answered by the now-healthy Clausen, despite a handful of negative reports from the session.
- Just to clarify, Clausen remains a player of interest to the Browns, but is not the front-runner if available at number-seven, according to a team source.
- Holmgren has made numerous glowing comments regarding QB Colt McCoy of Texas. At a time when teams are known to stretch the truth to gain an edge during the draft, theOBR is told Holmgren honestly likes the Texas QB and he should not be discounted if the Browns do not obtain Bradford or Clausen. As reported over the past six weeks, there was no less than one and potentially three teams believing the Texas QB could move in the later portion of the first round. At present, McCoy appears to be solidly in the second round, at worst, but the Browns have some risk in waiting for their turn in that round.
- Another scenario to watch is one surrounding QB Tim Tebow. The Browns are interested, but indications are the Browns won't jump at the opportunity to select the project QB any earlier than the third round. There are grumblings throughout the league that a team may look at him late in the first round.
- Safety Eric Berry has been consistently viewed as the top rated free safety on the Browns draft board. As the weeks have passed, FS Earl Thomas (Texas) has elevated his stock by displaying better speed and quickness than anticipated, as well as being more cerebral than expected. TheOBR has learned, unsurprisingly, that Berry remains a solid potential target of the Browns at number-seven, but the organization believes he is going to be off the board prior to their selection. As reported first by theOBR, the Browns maintain a keen interest in safety Nate Allen of South Florida. Allen is a big, physical, and speedy defensive back who could end up being the answer to fill a gaping hole in the Browns secondary.
- With the addition of very capable veteran CB Sheldon Brown, the urgency to draft a cornerback has diminished to a degree. Though the starting roles for the Browns have been established at the position, quality and depth remains in question. Early in the off-season, Florida CB Joe Haden appeared to be a lock as the first CB off the board. As of this writing, Kyle Wilson and Devin McCourty have closed in Haden, with the Browns believed to like the more physical Wilson and McCourty, especially in a trade down situation.
- While pass rushing types such as DE/OLB Derrick Morgan, Brandon Graham and Sergio Kindle have drawn plenty of attention from the Browns, the urgency to select this type of player may have diminished with the addition of OLB Chris Gocong from the Philadelphia Eagles.