With less than 48 hours remaining until NFL Draft 2010 commences, one would think that the proliferation of smoke would be on the precipice of clearing and that the intentions of the Cleveland Browns would be coming into focus.
Of course, one would be wrong. Sort of.
I've been doing this for nearly fifteen years – both for the league in general and the Browns specifically – and I can't ever remember things being as muddled as they are this close to the gun going off to start the draft festivities. Top of the draft, middle of the draft, it doesn't matter; the smoke is flying fast and furious, but we'll offer up some notes that we've been able to obtain over the past 24-48 hours anyway.
-- Even given all of the rumors and speculation connecting a certain Notre Dame quarterback to the Browns, I'm still getting the impression that the club is still leaning away from selecting Jimmy Clausen with the No. 7 pick. That being said, it's not nearly as much of a lean as it was just two weeks ago, and the lean toward the pro-Clausen side of the ledger could continue and ultimately end up with the former Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback becoming the current Cleveland Browns quarterback. In other words, Clausen-to-the-Browns has gone from "absolutely stunning" to "mildly shocking".
-- "Possibility", not a "probability". That would be another way to describe Clausen to the Browns. It makes your head hurt sometimes, trying to sift through all of the smoke masquerading as bullspit, doesn't it? Speaking of which…
-- The following is part of the reason why I absolutely love this time of the year, and by "absolutely love" I mean "loathe with every fiber of my being": I spoke with a source in the last 24 hours, and he told me, point blank, "any love directed at [Colt] McCoy [by the Browns] is misguided at best." And this is a source who, for the most part, has not steered me too wrong in the past. It should also be noted, though, that this source is not a member of the organization.
-- My guess on the above note? It's nothing but the type of dense smoke that tends to waft around this time of the year. Based on everything I've been told, Mike Holmgren and a good chunk of the organization is really, really in like with the former Texas QB.
-- Now, the million-dollar question for the second round, before moving on to the mind-numbing possibilities in the first: would the Browns move up into the first round to select Colt McCoy? One source has told me in the past that the Browns "would do almost anything" to land the ex-UT QB. As we get closer to D(ecision)-Day, the vibe I'm getting is that the club may not be willing to move up into the first day to ensure they nab McCoy. Now, if they were to trade down from No. 7 and acquire an extra pick or two? That might be something that could change the moving-back-up-into-the-first dynamic.
-- McCoy has stated on multiple occasions that he would love to wind up as a member of the Browns. I've been told by a source close to McCoy that his public comments are "not BS", and that he has a real fondness for Holmgren and everyone in the organization he's come into contact with in the months leading up to the draft.
-- If the Browns are forced to stay at No. 7 – the consensus around the league is the organization prefers above all else to move back – and Eric Berry is there, I'm 90-percent certain at this point in time that he will be the pick. Of course, that's assuming Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy – all rated higher on the Browns' draft board – don't inexplicably tumble out of the top three spots in the drafts.
-- One thing I'm 99-percent about: the Browns will not move up more than one spot for anyone other than Sam Bradford. In other words, it could be interesting if Berry is sitting there at No. 6 with the Seattle Seahawks on the clock.
-- Now, if Berry is not there and, despite their best efforts, they simply cannot move down? That would be this club's absolute worst nightmare, because at that point they'd be reaching for a player, a source told me, that's deemed "not quite worthy" of the seventh-overall selection. But, if their hand is forced and they need to send a piece of paper up to the podium to the commissioner with a draft-eligible player's name on it? Again, it would depend on who remains after the first six picks, but the two names I keep hearing in the scenario laid out in this note are C.J. Spiller and Earl Thomas, in that order.
-- At this point in time, I feel the need to remind people that these pre-draft conjectures are just that – conjecture. Nobody – including the Browns – has any idea how the draft will unfold, and one little unexpected glitch (i.e. Bradford tumbling) could send the the first third of the draft into full "Holy Crap!!!" mode.