LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans throws a pass against the Washington Huskies at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. USC won 40-17. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

2012 NFL Mock Draft: With Draft Completed, Extremely Early Predictions For Next Year Are Out

The Browns added two big offensive pieces at the skills positions in the 1st Round. Will they continue on that route and get their wide receiver on the second day?

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2012 NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns Torn Between Justin Blackmon and Ryan Tannehill?

SI.com’s Peter King wrote in his recent Monday Morning Quarterback column that Cleveland Browns GM Tom Heckert likes Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, while Mike Holmgren is trying to decide whether or not to take Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Some have fudged those words into saying the Browns are “torn” between the two, but to me, it reads that the Browns are still undecided with what they will do with that fourth overall pick.

Will they shock the NFL world and take Tannehill? Will they make a huge reach and take Justin Blackmon? Or will they do what I believe to be the smart thing, and take Alabama’s Trent Richardson?

To me, Richardson is the most proven player of this group, both in terms of his performance on and off the field. Taking Blackmon would be a huge reach for need if you ask me, and grabbing Tannehill would be taking him about 20 picks too soon.

However, if the Browns decide that Tannehill can be a franchise quarterback someday, and Colt McCoy cannot, I think you have to make the pick. Cleveland is desperate for an identity as much as anything else, so snatching up a guy they believe could represent the franchise wouldn’t be a bad move. Despite their struggles as rookies, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder look like they will turn out to be pretty good picks.

For the Browns, though, Tannehill would have very high, very unfair expectations given the state of his current development. I don’t think you can expect him to come in and be awesome right away like Cam Newton was, but that’s certainly not out of the question.

Ryan Tannehill is, indeed, a great athlete, but to me, his upside is as a developmental player, not an immediate plug-and-play guy. I could be wrong there, certainly, but I’m not willing to bet that Ryan Tannehill would be an effective opening day starter in 2012, especially with the added pressure of being a top five selection.

I think the Browns need to keep building this team, and if they want a quarterback to come in and play sooner rather than later, wait until your second round pick and take Brandon Weeden from Oklahoma State.


2012 NFL Draft: What Direction Might The Browns Go If They Trade Down?

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that at least four teams, including the Eagles and Rams, have inquired about the Browns’ fourth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Depending on which team trades up, the Browns might be able to get a steal at the top of the draft if there are multiple players they are okay picking.

I’m not exactly sure why the Browns would want to trade down here, or why a team like the Rams would want to trade up, but if they do, both the Rams and Eagles have great ammo to move up.

So where would such a trade leave the Browns? If Cleveland trades down with St.Louis, their target list could very well stay the same—just take the best available between Justin Blackmon, Trent Richardson, Morris Claiborne, or Ryan Tannehill. It’s likely that St. Louis would want one of the first three names on that list, but I think the Eagles’ trading up would be much more pointed.

If Philadelphia makes a move into the top five, I think they would be targeting Tannehill as a quarterback of the future. It would be a move that would likely cost the Eagles a lot, and a move their fans probably wouldn’t like.

If the Browns traded down to the 15th pick, I’d be interested to see what they were planning to do. With all of their extra picks acquired from trades, they could probably use some to move up and acquire a third first round pick. Suppose they trade down to 15 overall and are able to select Michael Floyd, the wide receiver from Notre Dame. They could take Doug Martin with the pick they acquired from Atlanta and maybe trade back into the first round for Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden.

The options are pretty endless, but the Browns already have 13 picks in this year’s draft, so acquiring more would give them serious ammunition to trade up and get pretty much whoever they want.

With the new CBA cap rules on draft picks, this is a very interesting scenario to keep an eye on.

For more on the Cleveland Browns, check out Dawgs By Nature. For more on the NFL Draft, check out SB Nation's main Draft hub.


2012 NFL Draft Coverage: Cleveland Browns Doing Due Diligence on Boise State's RB Doug Martin

While the Cleveland Browns are widely expected to take Alabama’s star running back Trent Richardson, they are certainly doing their due diligence with the second best back in the draft—Boise State’s Doug Martin. Martin is a similar type of back to Richardson by many accounts, he’s just not quite as good at everything as Richardson is.

Martin was very productive for the Broncos the last couple of years, and has drawn comparisons to Ray Rice for not only his height deficiencies but his ability to use that low center of gravity to his advantage and his superb receiving skills.

Martin isn’t blazing fast, nor does he appear to be a big home run threat, but he could be the type of guy that comes in as a featured back and helps your team put points on the board, as he did so well for Boise State.

According to Pro Football Talk, the Browns are bringing in Martin for a visit as well as putting him through a private workout, so their interest is either legitimate or they’re trying to get someone to use a pick on him so they can have someone else. I think if they choose to go with Ryan Tannehill or Justin Blackmon at number four overall (a mistake, if you ask me) they could easily go with Martin with their 22nd overall pick.


2012 NFL Draft: Browns Keeping Their Options Open

Keeping your options open might be an understatement when talking about a team that has 13 selections in the up-coming NFL Draft, including two in the first round, but that is exactly what the Cleveland Browns are doing.

When day one of the draft comes to pass, the Browns likely will have at least one new offensive weapon, but the smart money right now has them adding a couple. There is a chance Cleveland could go for LSU’s star cornerback Morris Claiborne with the fourth overall pick, but right now the favorite appears to be Alabama’s Heisman candidate, running back Trent Richardson.

The Browns are also hosting a visit with USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil, and have a private workout in the works with Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, one of the hottest players out there right now.

What the Browns do with the fourth pick is a mystery, and that makes their second first round pick nearly impossible to guess. They could go a number of different directions, but there’s a very good chance they will wind up with a tailback in the first round. They have had visits lined up with Virginia Tech’s David Wilson and Boise State’s Doug Martin, both of whom are potential first round talents and potential featured backs.

As of right now, I think the absolute best case scenario for the Browns is to take the best possible player at both picks. In that case, right now I believe their picks should be Richardson and Baylor’s Kendall Wright, if he is available. Both would fit this team perfectly, and adding Richardson could be like adding a face to this franchise.

With the rest of the picks, the Browns can continue to upgrade the offensive side of the ball and add some more pass rush as well as depth at linebacker. The Browns have a ton of different options available to them, and right now, they are exploring all avenues.


NFL Draft 2012: Browns Potential Trade Partners With Rams, According To Jeff Fisher

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher says the Cleveland Browns are “a potential trade partner” with them on draft night. There have been rumors floating around that the Browns would like to move down, and that they have a few players in mind that they’d like to select with their first round pick, but that they also would not move out of the top 10, in all likelihood.

That would make the Rams a sensible trade destination, since it looks like the Rams want Justin Blackmon bad enough to trade up for him, and the Browns are potentially confident enough to keep Blackmon out of their future plans. It would be interesting for the Rams to trade back up after moving down with the Washington Redskins, but it would make sense and would allow the Browns to get one of their preferred targets, which likely at this point includes Blackmon, LSU CB Morris Claiborne, Alabama RB Trent Richardson, and Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill.

There have been rumors that the Browns could be interested in taking Tannehill at the fourth overall pick, but perhaps they feel like they can get a couple of extra picks out of the deal, still get Tannehill (in front of the Dolphins), and continue to be flexible throughout the process with 13 picks come April.

As inactive as the Browns have been in the free agency process, they could be an interesting team to watch on draft weekend.


Report: Cleveland Browns Listening to Offers for Fourth Overall Pick

At #NFL meetings, multiple teams expressing interest in #Browns No. 4 pick. #Browns are listening.
Mar 26 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

At the NFL meetings, there are multiple teams vying to the Browns' fourth overall pick, according to a report from ESPN Cleveland based reporter Tony Grossi. This is a very interesting scenario, as lots of ideas have been thrown around lately about what the Browns might do with that pick.

A lot of rumors right now are saying that Cleveland could take Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with that selection, while others believe they could go for either Morris Claiborne or Trent Richardson, possibly even a receiver like Justin Blackmon.

Obviously, Cleveland has not been active in free agency to this point, and they need to add as many players as they can. If they can get some extra picks in this draft out of the deal, it might be interesting for them to be able to move down and still get a player they like, perhaps another pass rusher.

The Browns have added defensive end Frostee Rucker, formerly of the Bengals over this free agent period, but perhaps the biggest move was the one they didn't make in not trading up for Baylor's Robert Griffin III, which many people believed not so long ago that they were the favorites to do.

With this development, it will not only be interesting to see who is trying to move up with the Browns, but how far down they are willing to go. Last year, we saw the Atlanta Falcons make a huge jump up to number six overall, ironically with the Cleveland Browns. The Falcons gave up five picks in that deal, including an additional first round pick which Cleveland owns in this year's draft.

The Browns were able to strike big on their first round pick despite moving up down and all around, netting Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor in the later portion of the first round.

Similarly the Browns could be looking at a receiver in the first round of this year's draft, or possibly a pass rusher, and the value is simply not there with the fourth overall pick and they might not value Richardson or Claiborne highly enough to take them with that selection if a great offer is out there.


Ryan Tannehill Could Be Option If The Cleveland Browns Don't Get Robert Griffin III

Clearly the Cleveland Browns are one of the front-runners to trade up and select Heisman trophy winner Robert Griffin III, but there is another quarterback who could entice them later in the first round if they’re not the team who makes a move to go and get him.

That player, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot, is former Texas A&M standout Ryan Tannehill, who has played quarterback for only 20 games but is considered the consensus third best quarterback by most analysts and experts.

If the Browns don’t go for Griffin, they’ll surely take a hard look at Tannehill later in the first round. But Tannehill’s stock is rising and he probably won’t be around at No. 22. Scouts won’t see him work out at the combine because he’s recovering from surgery to repair a broken foot. But he’s widely-regarded as the third-best quarterback in the draft behind Andrew Luck and Griffin and could easily go in the top 15. Did we mention he aspires to be an orthopedic surgeon?

With Tannehill, who played for former Mike Holmgren protege Mike Sherman in college, the Browns wouldn’t have to adapt their West Coast offense to accommodate him.

The inclusion of Tannehill in this discussion is interesting because he is the only one who is not considered a consensus top 10 prospect of the five players mentioned by Cabot, which were Griffin, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, and Tannehill.

It seems more and more like Colt McCoy is going to have serious competition for his job next season, if he is even still on the roster at that point. By the looks of it, the Browns are going to be in the market for a quarterback early, and they have a few guys they’re keeping an eye on.


Cleveland Browns likely to trade up for Robert Griffin III?

The Cleveland Browns are a franchise going through a bit of a rough transition, one where their sophomore quarterback—Colt McCoy—had a pretty down second season. That has led to a lot of rumors that the Browns, who are armed with the 4th and 22nd overall picks in the first round, could make a move for Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer thinks that at this juncture, the Browns are likely to make a move for RG3:

“If the Browns determine at the Combine next week and maybe through one or two more visits that RGIII is their man, I don’t think they would hesitate to give up their No. 4 and their No. 22 to pull off this deal,” said Cabot. “… It’s almost a perfect match. I think at this point it’s very likely that could happen.”

Not everyone thinks this is a great fit, though. Mike Mayock said on NFL Network that the Browns could potentially have to change their offense to fit his style and could potentially limit what Griffin’s talent should be able to allow him to do.

If the Browns are going to take Griffin in the first round and trade both of their first round picks to move up and get him, they need to take a page out of what the Carolina Panthers did last offseason and fit the offense to fit Griffin III’s strengths. He is a fantastic athlete with a ton of upside, but to limit him would be foolish in my opinion.

Griffin has the potential to be a superstar in the NFL with his athletic ability and the fact that he can not only make every throw, he can make every throw look easy. If the Browns are going to use valuable assets to take him, they need to make sure they put him in the best place to succeed early.


2012 NFL Mock Draft: Cleveland Browns First Round Mock

1. First Round, 4th overall: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

This pick is probably going to be mocked all offseason long until some team actually jumps Cleveland and makes a trade to get RG3 in the early portion of the first round. The Browns are in a really good position right now, because they have two first round picks but I don’t think they will have to use both to move up. I think the Browns could include their 2nd round pick and possibly a future 2nd or 3rd round pick and still make this move happen, keeping their other first round pick in the process.

If they are not able to keep their other first round pick, they will probably get additional picks in return, because while some think you can throw the “trade value chart” out the window here, I don’t think the Browns are going to pull some Ricky Williams type deal to get Griffin.

The Heisman Trophy winner would be a good fit for Cleveland, though I’m not 100 percent sold Colt McCoy can’t start. That doesn’t mean the Browns think the same way as I do, so there is a wide belief that they are going to draft a quarterback this year, bucking Mike Holmgren’s trend of looking for quarterbacks later on.

2. First Round, 22nd overall: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

With their second first round pick, the Browns upgrade the right side of their offensive line and get a local product in Mike Adams, who showed up at the Senior Bowl and had a pretty solid week.

Adams definitely looks the part of a first round pick at 6’7" and close to 325 pounds, and there are a lot of scouts who feel like he is a lock to be picked within the top 32.

He’s an athletic kid with long arms and big hands, but he can sometimes get caught playing high and let speed rushers by on occasion. The point with this pick is this kid has a lot of potential, and fortifying the offensive line has to take some kind of priority if you are going to take a quarterback in the top 5 of the draft.

Another area I think the Browns could upgrade here would be cornerback, linebacker, defensive line, or even running back or receiver. This second first round pick is really a wild card but I think Adams is a legit option.


Cleveland Browns 2012 NFL Draft Prospects: South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery

The Cleveland Browns are presumably the favorites right now to land Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, and rightfully so. Griffin won the Heisman trophy and has risen his draft stock a whole heck of a lot over the last couple of months, to the point where he is considered the second best quarterback in the draft only to Andrew Luck.

But if and/or when Griffin gets to Cleveland, the Heisman trophy winner is going to need some more targets. Greg Little had a solid rookie season for the Browns, but adding another receiver in the later part of the first round is certainly not out of the question.

One player who could add another dimension to the Browns’ offense is South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who was a sophomore phenom for the Gamecocks in 2010, taking college football by storm.

He was projected by many to be an easy top ten draft pick before a rough junior season that included his team losing their starting quarterback Stephen Garcia and arguably the entire second dimension to the offensive attack when running back Marcus Lattimore went down with an injury that ended his 2011 season.

Jeffery has great size at 6’4" 233 pounds, but some have questioned whether his speed is anything better than average or even below average, and he could slip in the first round because of it.

His loss could wind up being Cleveland’s gain, as Jeffery is an elite playmaker who can really make things happen in the red zone. He has a big body and knows how to shield defenders and go up and get jump balls. In short, he is the perfect type of playmaker for a young quarterback to develop with.

Currently, SB Nation’s NFL Draft site Mocking the Draft has him rated as the 21st best prospect available in 2012, and has a few pages of notes and analysis on him.

If the Browns can get Robert Griffin III and add Alshon Jeffery to the mix, they could be on the way to something special offensively.


Cleveland Browns NFL Draft Rumors: NFL.com's Steve Wyche Thinks Browns Could Trade Up

Well, it would go against the expected conservative approach, but there are many out there who feel like the Cleveland Browns are going to make a run at former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, and that could include using some of their assets to trade up.

Currently, the Browns hold the fourth pick, but in this mock draft on NFL.com, Steve Wyche thinks the Browns could trade up to acquire the Heisman Trophy winner with the 2nd overall pick:

PROJECTED TRADE: Several teams are going to try and move up to get Griffin but the Browns have the most ammo — the fourth overall pick and a late first-rounder or high picks in later rounds. Cleveland needs Griffin — and wants him, according to league sources — and the Rams will still get their man.

Wyche also has the Browns taking Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus in this mock draft, an All American who finished the year with the most sacks in FBS for the Fighting Illini.


Cleveland Browns NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Alabama Running Back Trent Richardson

Trent Richardson is one of the best running backs I have watched in college football, and he definitely didn’t disappoint those who had high expectations going into the 2011 season. This is a guy who is relentless, and not just on the field, but off. Richardson is an absolute beast in the weight room, and consistently puts in the time and effort required to be the superstar he has developed into.

He averaged over six yards per carry as a sophomore in 2010, and really developed as a receiver as well. He is one of the best players in the country, and he might be the best RB prospect to come along since Adrian Peterson in the class of 2007.

As a junior, the Heisman trophy finalist ran the ball 283 times for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also set a career high with 29 receptions, and showed in the national championship game what makes him such a valuable player.

Richardson’s intangibles are a huge reason why he will be selected in the top 10 of the draft, but the fact that he backs that up with the ability on the field is a reason why he will be an elite NFL running back before you know it.

This is a guy who runs extremely hard, and I saw him make a cut in the BCS title game that honestly reminded me so much of Peterson it is scary. He’s also a very effective player on third down in terms of blitz pickup, which was also on display in the Crimson Tide’s victory over Alabama.

He’s got great speed and quickness to the hole, and one of the things I love most about him is his second and third gear. I realize it was late in the game, but when Richardson scored the first touchdown of the season between both LSU and Alabama in their two games, he made a cut to the outside and then blew by the second and third level of defense like they were, well, not LSU.

He’s an elite prospect, and if the Browns decide to move on from Peyton Hillis, getting Richardson would be a great selection with their first first round pick.


Cleveland Browns NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Baylor Quarterback Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III came into his junior season with virtually no expectations, and he really blew everyone away with his performance. As a redshirt junior, Griffin displayed all the tools you look for in a franchise quarterback. He is poised, intelligent, insanely accurate, clutch, and he has a heck of an arm. For a majority of the season, Griffin III has been a Heisman candidate, and he actually came away with the first annual NFL Draft Expert Heisman Award, which was voted on by some of the most well-known and best NFL Draft experts on the web.

One of the things that I love the most about Griffin is his versatility. Like I mentioned before, he had a historic season in 2011 in terms of accuracy, but not only that, he has track star speed. He is an elite dual-threat quarterback and if he were Cam Newton’s size, there wouldn’t be any question in my mind he would be the top overall prospect in this entire draft. He makes good decisions, he has a strong arm, and he can make every NFL throw. Unlike other quarterbacks with his rare speed, Griffin likes to win games out of the pocket, and he’s extremely comfortable as a pocket passer. He’s still not experienced in a “pro-style” offense, but the kid is already in graduate school and has aspirations of going to Law school someday.

PROS: Smart, instinctive, clutch, strong arm, accurate, makes good decisions, athletic ability, track-star speed, size isn’t great, but good enough to be a dominant NFL player.

CONS: Hasn’t had experience in a pro-style offense, a little quick through his progressions, but with his plus Football IQ that’ll improve, forces a few too many throws especially on the move (but other wise makes great decisions), he could actually probably run more or throw it away

Player Comparison: Steve Young

Projected Round: 1st

BOTTOM LINE: Griffin has the potential to be a very rare prospect and could turn out to be the best and most entertaining player in this entire draft. If he continues to improve, I think the sky is the limit for this guy, and he could turn out to be a perennial Pro Bowler.


2012 NFL Mock Draft: Cleveland Browns Looking Defense?

The Cleveland Browns will end their season with a whimper this weekend, but the bright side is that the team will go right into NFL Draft mode as a way to forget about this year. In an interesting turn of events, there are plenty of sites that have already started publishing their 2012 NFL mock drafts.

Thursday's mock draft update comes courtesy of Russ Lande of Sporting News. The veteran football writer decided that the Browns will apparently be in the market for a player on the defensive end, too -- at least as far as the first round is concerned.

12. Cleveland Browns. Luke Kuechly*, LB, Boston College

While they would like to get a receiver for QB Colt McCoy, Kuechly brings explosive playmaking ability to a defense that needs it.

The Browns are known to be looking at quarterback Russell Wilson III this weekend, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to add a playmaker on the other side of the ball.

For more on the NFL Draft, be sure to visit Mocking The Draft. The best Browns community on the internet is over at Dawgs By Nature.

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