Sifting Through the Browns' Smokescreens: What Will Cleveland Do on Draft Day?

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Sifting Through the Browns' Smokescreens: What Will Cleveland Do on Draft Day?
(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

The 2009 NFL Draft is just days away, and as it's been more often than not, the Browns have a top five pick.

However, this year there seems to be less news about who Cleveland intends to draft and more dealing with what they'll do to gain extra picks. In fact, the rumor mill has been teeming with Browns trade winds for the past few months.

So which trades should Browns fans expect? Are there actually going to be two quarterbacks to participate in coach Eric Mangini's offseason competition? Will some of us be taking a jersey we bought with pride a couple years ago and chucking it into the closet?

I'm here to break down some of these potential draft day trades, to see which moves make sense and should happen, or which ones will happen even if it seems like a terrible idea (it is Cleveland we're talking about).

Here are a few options the Browns may look to take this Saturday.

 

The Pick Itself

Let's face it, the Browns don't want to draft top five. Honestly, nobody does, but that's what a 4-12 record gets you. Because of this, management is going to try their hardest to trade down.

But is this a likely scenario? That all depends, really.

As mentioned, no one wants to draft this early, as top picks always come with a hefty price tag. You could draft a place kicker and still have to pay him seven figures or more. Unless mid-round teams are eager to draft a high-grade player, the Browns may struggle to move down from their current position.

This, I believe, is where Mark Sanchez comes in.

Until I hear Roger Goodell state that the Browns have drafted the USC quarterback with the fifth overall pick, and he's still on the roster come nightfall, then I'll buy the "Sanchez to Browns" draft rumors. As of now, I'm not sold.

Why would the Browns spoil a top five pick on one of the few positions where they actually have more than enough players? With gaping holes in so many other places, this move would define "draft blunder." Again, though, stupid drafting isn't something that would shock too many Browns fans (see: Davis, Butch).

Instead, I think the Browns are "fawning" over Mark Sanchez only because so many teams below them are obsessed with the underclassman QB. The Broncos, Jets, and Redskins have all professed their love for Sanchez. New York is even rumored to be trying to move up to take him.

It seems as though Cleveland may be trying to see which of these teams will flinch and, out of the fear of having to start Kyle Orton or Kellen Clemens, trade up with the Browns.

Unfortunately for Cleveland, Sanchez looks like the only out-pitch they have in trying to move down. They might just draft him and attempt a Manning-for-Rivers swap with another team. However, I still believe Mark Sanchez might be the only way to successfully collect some mid-round picks.

Trade Probability: 55 percent

 

Braylon Edwards

It's the trade rumor that just won't die. Sports analysts and "sources" everywhere have been feasting on Edwards-to-New York for the past month, and it's been heating up by the day.

The reason for this is that it's almost a sure thing now.

Several sources are claiming the Edwards deal is practically done and the two parties will make the announcement on draft day. While this trade would practically decimate our receiving core, it makes a lot of sense at the same time.

In 2010, Braylon Edwards becomes a free agent (apparently somebody else in Cleveland is a free agent that year, too). Edwards has also voiced his displeasure with Cleveland, leaving many to believe it would take a miracle for him to stay in town. So why not get rid of the bad chemistry when you can actually get something back in return?

 

The possibility of this trade has increased with the fact that teams are slowly realizing they don't necessarily have to shell out a new contract for Edwards upon trading for him (a la Kellen Winslow).

Of all the trade winds circling Berea, this one seems to be gusting more than others. Honestly, I would be more surprised if Edwards was still a Brown by the end of the weekend.

One has to wonder, though, if Braylon Edwards thinks Cleveland fans and media are too hard on him, does he really think New York is the best place to go to avoid that?

Trade Probability: 95 percent

 

Brady Quinn/Derek Anderson

Both Cleveland quarterbacks have had to deal with trade rumors even before Mangini and George Kokinis were brought in. Now, as we near draft day, you can't help but think somebody's future might be getting decided come Saturday.

A rumor came about a few weeks ago claiming the Browns were sitting on an offer for a first-round pick for Quinn, but no team was mentioned. Since then, the rumors involving the former Golden Domer seem to have calmed down a bit.

Oddly enough, team officials have reportedly been telling Brady Quinn he is in fact NOT trade bait, which has lead him to be a little displeased about the fact that rumors still circulate. Either way, a large amount of the fanbase would hate to see Quinn shipped away.

Derek Anderson, however, doesn't have quite the same amount of support in Browns Town. He knows the fans don't like him, and said fans have done enough to make sure he won't forget that. Unfortunately for them, he might be the safest of the two QBs.

This is simply because the market for Anderson is pretty weak. Coaches know he can throw the long ball, but last season's downfall didn't do much to build up his stock. Sure, some of the blame can be handed to Braylon Edwards dropping every Anderson pass as if it bit him on the hands, yet DA still deserves a little criticism.

If you were asking which Browns quarterback has the best chance of surviving the draft, it's most likely Anderson. Oddly enough, the reason Quinn is the most tradable is the same reason the Browns regime isn't psyched about him—he's untested, therefore you can't really prove whether or not he'll be a solid starter.

It should be noted that some believe Mangini might be setting up an in-house smokescreen with Quinn. By flooding the buzz lines claiming you want get rid of one of the few marketable players on the Browns, it could just be Mangini sending a message to his team, stating that nobody's safe and no one should take his status with the team for granted. 

One could also point out the fact that no specific team has claimed to be after Quinn the same way the Giants have confirmed the Edwards talks. Rumor had it San Francisco was the mystery team, but they've since claimed otherwise. Whether this means anything is still unclear, but it's merely food for thought.

Trade Probability: Quinn 60 percent, Anderson 35 percent

 

When it comes to the draft, nothing is too predictable. Mock drafts, rumors, and the messages team sources send out can become trash in mere seconds. 

All we can really say is at least there'll be more intrigue than last year's Cleveland draft.

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