Last year, the Browns took running back Trent Richardson with their first of two round one picks. Who will it be this year?
The 2013 NFL draft is rapidly approaching, which means rumors and predictions about what teams will do are also picking up a similar quick pace. With the Cleveland Browns having the sixth-overall pick in the first round and a number of needs to address as they try to improve their team and, ultimately, their win-loss record, there's a lot to talk about.
Think of this as your go-to spot for everything about the Browns' upcoming draft. From rumors to an updated mock draft, trade possibilities and major stories surrounding their potential picks and pre-draft visits, it will all be updated here up until the first day of the draft.
E.J. Manuel gets an April 5 workout.
April 23: Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com says that the Cleveland Browns have contacted teams to see if they can trade back, out of the sixth-overall spot in the first round of the draft.
April 22: Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal cites a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer that potential Browns' first-round target, cornerback Dee Milliner, may not be healthy enough to participate in training camp initially, thanks to offseason shoulder surgery.
April 22: Oregon linebacker Dion Jordan, who visited the Browns last week, has nothing but praise for the Browns' defensive scheme under new coordinator Ray Horton, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot.
April 21: Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal takes a look at the linebackers the Browns may be considering in this year's draft.
April 19: Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports that the Browns are indeed open to trading down from sixth-overall in the first round.
April 16: Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal notes that NFL draft expert Tony Pauline said that his Browns sources have indicated that Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner is the team's first-round target and claims that outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo is their "contingency" plan. ESPN's Jon Gruden also said the same thing in a Monday conference call.
April 14: Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says that if the Browns' first-round selection were up to her, she'd take West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith with the pick were he still on the board.
April 12: Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that the Browns will meet with Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel on Monday, April 15.
April 12: Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports that Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien came to Cleveland and met with the Browns.
April 12: Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has compiled this useful running account of all of the Browns' pre-draft visits.
April 11: Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Browns will work out Valdosta State offensive guard Edmund Kugbila this weekend.
April 10: Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports that the Browns are hosting Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, LSU defensive end/outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo and Arizona quarterback Matt Scott on Wednesday.
April 9: Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Browns will hold a private workout with West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith on Saturday.
April 9: Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Browns will be hosting West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin this week.
April 8: Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Browns have signed free agent wide receiver David Nelson, which likely reduces the chances the Browns draft a receiver this year.
April 8: Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner and Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd will be meeting with the Browns on Monday and Tuesday.
April 8: Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports that the Browns will have visits with Oregon offensive lineman Kyle Long, BYU defensive end/outside linebacker Ziggy Ansah and San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar this week.
April 8: USC quarterback Matt Barkley tweeted that the Browns will be among his visits prior to the draft.
April 4: Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal says that ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper, Jr. believes the Browns will trade down in the first round of the draft if Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner is off the board.
April 1: ESPN's Adam Schefter has confirmed that the Browns have traded quarterback Colt McCoy and a sixth-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers for fifth- and seventh-round picks. Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan says that the Niners get Cleveland's 173rd overall pick, while the Browns get San Francisco's 164th and 237th overall selections.
April 1: Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal reports that the Cleveland Browns worked out University of Kentucky offensive guard Larry Warford last week. Warford is considered a second- or third-round prospect.
March 28: The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot reports that the Browns will work out Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel on April 5. North Carolina offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper, South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger and dual-threat Arizona quarterback Matt Scott will also be visiting the Browns for workouts.
March 27: Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal says that top cornerback prospect Dee Milliner of Alabama will be visiting the Browns for a workout in the second week of April. Ulrich also says that the Browns will be hosting cornerback Tyrann Mathieu as well as Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien.
March 27: Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says that the Browns have not ruled out the possibility of trading quarterback Colt McCoy now that they've signed free agent Jason Campbell to push Brandon Weeden and likely operate as his primary backup. Complicating matters further, Cabot reported that offensive coordinator Norv Turner is rather enamored with 2013 quarterback prospect Matt Barkley.
March 26: Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal reports that the Browns will be hosting first-round pass-rushing prospect Dion Jordan and University of Oklahoma wide receiver Kenny Stills. Ulrich notes that the Browns will not be publicizing their pre-draft visits, so all reports are on the condition of anonymity.
My first-round pick for the Browns: OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
The Browns currently have seven picks in the 2013 draft, having forfeited their second-round pick to grab Josh Gordon in 2012's supplemental draft. They also gave the Philadelphia Eagles their seventh-round pick for safety David Sims and got a sixth-rounder in return from them.
That sixth-round pick—their first in the round at 173rd overall—went to the San Francisco 49ers in the trade for Colt McCoy. In return, the Browns picked up a fifth and a seventh round pick from the Niners.
With all that in mind, here's my latest full-round mock draft for the Browns (updated April 15).
Round 1, Pick 6: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
Round 2: Forfeit (Josh Gordon, 2012 supplemental draft)
Round 3, Pick 6 (68 overall): OLB Jamie Collins, Southern Mississippi
Round 4, Pick 7 (104 overall): OG/C David Quessenberry, San Jose State
Round 5, Pick 6 (139 overall): S Josh Evans, Florida
Round 5, Pick 31 (164 overall): WR Marqise Goodwin, Texas (From 49ers; Colt McCoy)
Round 6, Pick 5 (173 overall): Traded to San Francisco 49ers (McCoy)
Round 6, Pick 7 (175 overall): K Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
Round 7, Pick 31 (237 overall): FB Lonnie Pryor, Florida State (From 49ers; McCoy)
Other options for the Browns in the first round include taking a pass rusher, such as Oregon's Dion Jordan, or they could trade down. The San Diego Chargers pick 11th overall and desperately need a starting left tackle, so the Browns may be a trade partner. That could then net Cleveland a second-round pick. If they do trade down, look for the Browns to take the best-available cornerback in the first round, either Xavier Rhodes or Desmond Trufant.
Colt McCoy may be on the trading block.
On March 27, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Cleveland Browns were open to trading backup quarterback Colt McCoy, as they have brought on Jason Campbell to push presumed starter Brandon Weeden and be his primary backup.
On April 1, the trade was completed, with ESPN's Adam Schefter reporting the Browns will trade McCoy and their 173rd-overall sixth-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers for their 164th-overall fifth-round and 237th-overall seventh-round 2013 picks. The move saves the Browns $2.5 million in cap space. McCoy, as the third-string quarterback, would have earned more money in 2013 than Weeden and Campbell ahead of him had he stuck around.
Dee Milliner at sixth overall?
Though NFL teams don't necessarily have to live and die by what they choose to do in the first round of the draft, the fact that the Cleveland Browns lack a second-round pick makes this selection carry that much more weight.
Add into that the fact that there appears to be very little universal agreement about who can be considered worthy of a top-10 selection this year, and the Browns' sixth-overall first-round pick becomes more of a guessing game than picks in that range have been in prior years.
The Browns' likeliest options with their first-round pick include pass-rushing outside linebacker—Oregon's Dion Jordan, Georgia's Jarvis Jones (if deemed healthy enough), BYU's Ziggy Ansah or LSU's Barkevious Mingo being the candidates to watch—or cornerback, if Alabama's Dee Milliner remains on the board after the first five picks.
Though Cleveland added two pass-rushers in free agency—linebacker Paul Kruger and defensive tackle Desmond Bryant—it doesn't mean they are set at the position. A switch to a 3-4 defense, as the Browns are undertaking, will require a greater trove of linebacker depth than they started with this offseason, and the amount of top-heavy talent at the position also helps put it squarely in play.
For what it's worth, Milliner said last week that if the Browns selected him, the tandem of himself and Joe Haden would be the best in the league. If that's not lobbying for being picked by Cleveland, then who knows what is. Milliner's enthusiasm for the Browns could compel the team to take him in the first round, as it fills and immediate need, provides them with a player who clearly has no problem working in Cleveland and certainly is worth the pick.
Trading down is also an option for the Browns, but it will take a committed trade partner to do that. In a year when the top 10 is a mixed bag of players, however, it might be quite a risk for someone to choose to do it. If that happens, however, the Browns would be more likely to take a cornerback like Xavier Rhodes, unless they are convinced that one of their pass-rushing targets could fall to the middle of the round.
Norv Turner is fond of Matt Barkley.
Presently, the Browns have three quarterbacks on their roster: 2012's starter and first-round draft pick Brandon Weeden, free-agent acquisition Jason Campbell and Thaddeus Lewis. Though three is a good number of quarterbacks for a team to have, that doesn't seem to fully rule out the team using one of its six draft picks on the position.
While the current state of the Browns' quarterback situation doesn't appear to point to the team using their first-round, sixth-overall pick on the position, it seems entirely possible they will take a quarterback in a later round. They'll be meeting with Florida State's E.J. Manuel on April 5, plan to host Arizona dual-threat Matt Scott soon thereafter and offensive coordinator Norv Turner soundly praised USC's Matt Barkley after his late-March pro day.
Barkley projects to be taken in the first round, so Turner's praise may be a smokescreen for other teams or genuine appreciation for his talents that nonetheless won't result in him playing for the Browns. Manuel, in particular, could be a great middle-round pickup for the Browns. However, it doesn't seem like he'll be on the board that long. The only realistic option seems to be Scott in either Round 5 or 6.
It would be strange for the Browns to use a pick on a quarterback with three already on the roster. However, the front office and coaching staff continue to appear ambivalent about Weeden. If they end up using a draft pick on the position, it will be easier to gauge their temperature on the soon-to-be 30-year old.