2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Browns set for vital draft amid owner's troubles

By TOM WITHERS - AP Sports Writer
    2013-04-23 16:48

CLEVELAND (AP) - Browns owner Jimmy Haslam's first draft will be unlike any in team history. There's no guarantee it won't be his only one.

The endless speculation over what Cleveland might do with the No. 6 overall pick, whether they'll select another quarterback - maybe one to replace Brandon Weeden - in the first round or trade defensive linemen Jabaal Sheard or Ahtyba Rubin seems pretty trivial all of a sudden.

This year, ``being on the clock'' has new meaning for the Browns.

With Haslam embroiled in a deepening FBI investigation for fraud at his Pilot Flying J truck-stop chain empire, the team's revamped front office, new coach Rob Chudzinski along with his staff and newly signed high-priced free agents, enter this year's NFL draft facing more uncertainty.

Haslam, who bought the team last year from Randy Lerner, insists he has done nothing wrong. He has no plans to step aside as CEO of his family's business or as head of the Browns while federal authorities ascertain how much he knew about a widespread scheme by sales executives in his Knoxville, Tenn.-based company to defraud customers.

The NFL said it will respect the legal process and does not intend to request Haslam to step down from the team. However, if Haslam's legal troubles worsen, things could change.

In the meantime, the draft provides both a distraction and normalcy.

Haslam plans to help CEO Joe Banner and general manager Michael Lombardi prepare for their initial draft as they rebuild a team that went 5-11 last season. So it's business as usual for the Browns, who are typically dealing with some kind of clutter or chaos in the background.

Banner, Haslam's hand-picked CEO, offered few clues last week about the team's intentions with their seven picks. There are plenty of options with the sixth selection and Banner said the team has been exploring trading down in the first round to possibly recoup another early-round pick.

The Browns forfeited their second-round pick when they took wide receiver Josh Gordon in last year's supplemental draft.

``It's normal this time to be talking to teams,'' Banner said as he approached his first draft with the Browns. ``Some are teams you exchange some opinions on and some are teams you get a feel for: `Are you open to moving up or down?' As you get closer to the draft sometimes those conversations become more specific. We haven't had any specific conversations about trades or what would be involved in a trade.

``We have had conversations with teams either initiated by them or us, kind of feeling out: `Are you interested in going up or back? Are you open to it depending on who is there?' We have had those kinds of feel-each-other-out conversations.''

The Browns, who currently have seven picks to use in three days, could fill a pressing need with the No. 6 spot by taking a cornerback to play opposite Joe Haden.

That could be Alabama's Dee Milliner, who along with Haden would give Cleveland one of the top cornerback duos in the AFC, one to offset the quality quarterbacks and speedy wide receivers in its division. Milliner may be gone by the time the Browns pick, but there are other quality defensive players such as Oregon pass rusher Dion Jordan, Brigham Young end Ziggy Ansah or LSU's Barkevious Mingo for Cleveland to plug into new coordinator Ray Horton's attacking 3-4 alignment.

Milliner seemed like the safest pick until reports surfaced this week saying he might not be ready for training camp after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. Milliner is considered the top defensive back in this year's draft and he visited the Browns, who won't be scared off by his injury unless they get a red-flagged medical report.

Banner was asked if he would draft a player with Milliner's surgery.

``As long as the doctors tell us it's going to be fine it won't be a factor,'' he said.

What's always a factor for the Browns is quarterback talk.

With an uneven rookie season behind him, Weeden has a leg up over veteran Jason Campbell to start in 2013. But the front office's lukewarm endorsement of Weeden has driven speculation the Browns may take a quarterback, perhaps West Virginia's Geno Smith or Florida State's EJ Manuel, in the first round.

The Browns had private workouts for Smith, Manuel, Syracuse's Ryan Nassib, Southern California's Matt Barkley and Arizona's Matt Scott.

``You have to prepare yourself for any possibility,'' Banner said. ``You don't want to under-evaluate probably what everybody would agree is the most important position on the field.''

For a team that has feigned any strong interest in a QB, the Browns certainly have spent a lot of time and money evaluating the 2013 class in recent weeks. They've done their homework. It's worth noting that the new regime is not tied to Weeden, making it possible the Browns would consider a draft-day trade.

``There are quarterbacks in this draft that are intriguing,'' Banner said. ``We will have to make an evaluation between now and Thursday on just how intriguing. Other teams will be doing the same thing, so you will see what is available where. We are not going into it with a focus other than trying to build the team, especially at key positions that we think really, really good teams are strong at, and move forward that way.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Thaddeus LewisJul 22 10:33a

Buffalo Bills QBs Jeff Tuel and Thaddeus Lewis are alternating series with the second unit in team drills Tuesday, July 22.

Tyler BrayJul 22 09:13a

Kansas City Chiefs QBs Tyler Bray and Chase Daniel are likely to compete for one roster spot with QB Aaron Murray likely to make the team behind starting QB Alex Smith.

Navorro BowmanJul 22 12:13a

San Francisco 49ers LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) will likely return to action in Week 9 after the team's Week 8 bye, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

Jacques McClendonJul 21 11:03p

Jacksonville Jaguars OG Jacques McClendon is the frontrunner to start at right guard heading into training camp, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. OG Brandon Linder is the other candidate for the starting job.

Aaron ColvinJul 21 10:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Aaron Colvin (knee) will begin training camp and the regular season on the Physically Unable to Perform list as he recovers from a torn anterior cruciate [ More ]

Jeromy MilesJul 21 10:03p

Baltimore Ravens S Jeromy Miles has seen some reps with the first-team defense this offseason and is a dark horse candidate to win the starting free safety job, according to ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley.

Brandon MosleyJul 21 09:43p

New York Giants OT Brandon Mosley will be given the first chance to start in place of OG Chris Snee when the first-team offensive line takes the field Tuesday, [ More ]

T.J. GrahamJul 21 09:23p

Buffalo Bills WR T.J. Graham had a pass fall through his hands after beating his defender on a deep route in camp Monday, July 21.ESPN.com's Mike Rodak believes Graham [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsJul 21 09:02p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins made several big plays in practice Monday, July 21, according to ESPN.com's Mike Rodak. Watkins beat CB Leodis McKelvin deep, hauled in a pass [ More ]

Marvin JonesJul 21 07:03p

Cincinnati Bengals QB A.J. McCarron (shoulder), WR Marvin Jones (ankle) and CB Onterio McCalebb (knee) have been placed on the Non-Football Injury list.

Devon StillJul 21 07:03p

Cincinnati Bengals OG Clint Boling (knee), LB Marquis Flowers (hamstring), P Kevin Huber (neck), WR Colin Lockett (hamstring), DT Zach Minter (back), DT Devon Still (back) and WR Ryan [ More ]

Cordy GlennJul 21 06:53p

Buffalo Bills OT Cordy Glenn (illness) does not have a timetable for his return at this point, according to head coach Doug Marrone. 'I don't know that. It's a [ More ]

Mike CaussinJul 21 06:43p

The Washington Redskins have signed free-agent TE Mike Caussin (Bills). Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also waived LS Kyle Nelson.

Cheta OzougwuJul 21 06:32p

New Orleans Saints DE Cheta Ozougwu (undisclosed) and DT John Jenkins (pectoral) have been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Brennan WilliamsJul 21 06:22p

Houston Texans OT Brennan Williams (undisclosed) has been waived with a failed physical designation.

Brian CushingJul 21 06:22p

Houston Texans DT Louis Nix (undisclosed), LB Brian Cushing (undisclosed) and LB Trevardo Williams (undisclosed) have been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Eric HaggJul 21 06:13p

Denver Broncos SS Eric Hagg has informed the team that he has decided to retire from professional football.

Dominique EasleyJul 21 05:23p

New England Patriots DT Dominique Easley, RB Roy Finch, LB Deontae Skinner and OT Chris Martin have been placed on the team's non-football injury list.

Alfonzo DennardJul 21 05:23p

New England Patriots CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder), WR Aaron Dobson (foot), WR Jeremy Gallon (undisclosed), DT Tommy Kelly (knee) and WR Matthew Slater (undisclosed) will begin training camp on [ More ]

Leon HallJul 21 05:12p

Cincinnati Bengals DT Geno Atkins (knee) and CB Leon Hall (Achilles') will begin training camp on the team's physically unable to perform list.

Jon BeasonJul 21 05:12p

New York Giants LB Jon Beason (foot) will begin training camp on the team's physically unable to perform list.

John JerryJul 21 05:02p

New York Giants OT William Beatty (leg), OG John Jerry (knee) and WR Mario Manningham (knee) will be limited when training camp starts.

Kraig UrbikJul 21 04:33p

Buffalo Bills OT Chris Hairston and OG Kraig Urbik saw first-team repetitions at right guard Monday, July 21.

Dezmon BriscoeJul 21 04:03p

The Dallas Cowboys signed free-agent WR Dezmon Briscoe (Redskins), according to his agent. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Phillip HuntJul 21 03:12p

Former Philadelphia Eagles DE Phillip Hunt (knee) has recovered from anterior cruciate ligament surgery and should begin workouts with teams in the near future.

Chris ConteJul 21 02:12p

Chicago Bears FS Chris Conte said he feels good as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but is unsure of his availability for the start of training camp. He could [ More ]

Alameda Ta'amuJul 21 01:53p

Arizona Cardinals DT Alameda Ta'amu (knee) and FS Tyrann Mathieu (knee) are candidates to be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list at the start of training camp.

David WilsonJul 21 01:42p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) should be able to help the offense if he is able to stay healthy this upcoming season, according to former offensive coordinator [ More ]

Chris SneeJul 21 01:42p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants OG Chris Snee has officially announced his retirement from professional football.

Garrett CelekJul 21 01:22p

San Francisco 49ers TEs Derek Carrier and Garrett Celek will compete for the No. 3 tight end spot during training camp.

De'Anthony ThomasJul 21 01:22p

Kansas City Chiefs RB De'Anthony Thomas spent most of his time with the running backs during practice Monday, July 21. Thomas run a lot of passing routes out of [ More ]

Christopher OwensJul 21 01:13p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (knee), WR Kyle Williams (knee), WR A.J. Jenkins (hamstring) and CB Christopher Owens (hamstring) participated in practice Monday, July 21.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group