Pro Day season is has come and gone and a week or so of player visits are in the books. Twenty-one days separates us from an incredibly important draft for the Cleveland Browns. [
So, now, we wait.
Here are four questions and answers to pass the time on a gloomy Thursday.
Would you be opposed to trading up for Malik Hooker or Jamal Adams? Also, what do you believe it would cost to do so? -- Rick A., Huntington, West Virginia
It's not often you hear a safety getting tabbed as a potential top-five pick. It's even rarer when there are two in the discussion, but that's certainly the case this year with Ohio State's Malik Hooker and LSU's Jamal Adams garnering those sorts of lofty projections. They're two very different players -- Adams is more of a thumper while Hooker has drawn comparisons to Ed Reed for his ability to track down and disrupt deep passes -- but the common thinking is both are poised to do some serious damage in the NFL. Not even a serious injury that prevented Hooker from participating at the Combine or his Pro Day has seemed to hurt his draft stock. So, yes, even if the Browns didn't have a need at safety, I'd be high on these players and would love to see them on the roster. And if the price is right, I'd support a move up to acquire one of them.
The price, of course, is the important part. Moving up from 12 to, say, 4, is significant. We're going with four because teams such as San Francisco, Chicago and Jacksonville could feasibly use a player like Adams or Hooker in their secondary. We've referenced this trade in the past, and it's probably dangerous to do so, but Miami parted with its 12th overall pick and its second-round pick (No. 42) to Oakland in exchange for the No. 3 pick in 2013. It's dangerous to use this as a reference point because the 2013 draft was known -- even at the time -- to be light on elite talent while this year's draft is regarded as one of the deepest. According to Jimmy Johnson's oft-referenced draft chart, a move up from 12 to 4 would be the difference of 600 draft points -- which equates to the No. 31 pick. So, in theory, the starting point of negotiations might be the Browns' No. 33 pick and some additional assets. Either way, the Browns are positioned to mull these kinds of moves because of their bounty of assets -- eight picks in the first two rounds of the next two drafts.
"A handful of people at the meetings in the last couple of days have mentioned that they are really envious of all of our picks and I think our response has been we're envious of some of your players," Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta said at last week's owners meetings. "At some point we need to turn those assets into players and that's been the goal all along."
Do you think the Browns are fooling everyone and plan on keeping Brock, then drafting Davis Webb in the second? Both seem to fit Hue's mold. -- Tony G., Austin, Texas
Hue Jackson laid out the situation with Osweiler at last week's owners meetings.
"I do know that he's on our team now, today," Jackson said. "When the 17th of April comes he'll be in the building and we're going to treat him and coach just like he's one of ours as I've said until he's not. I think that's the way you have to go into this. I'm the coach. I got to take the players and help them become the best they can become. Outside of that, decisions that the organization makes together as a staff, we'll make those as we go forward."
As for Webb, he's an ascending name who has had a very good few months leading up to the draft. He's got a big arm and proved as much at the Senior Bowl, where he was also tasked with adapting to a pro-style offense in a hurry. Webb's college background is exclusively in an Air Raid/spread type of offense but he's confident he can overcome those hurdles in the NFL. If the Browns are still looking for a quarterback at 33, he's certainly a name to consider.
Do you think the Browns will take a bigger back in the mid- to late rounds of the draft? I like Crowell and Johnson, too, but believe the Browns could upgrade the unit with a real thumper in the draft. A back like that would be very valuable in short yardage situations and help the play-action game. -- Craig R., Prescott Valley, Arizona
It's certainly a possibility, though I wouldn't discount Crowell's ability to push the pile and get the tough yards. Some names to know on Day 3 who could fit this mold are Samaje Perine (Oklahoma), D'Onta Foreman (Texas) and James Conner (Pittsburgh).
Would it be a huge mistake to trade down from 1 even if the price is unreal to pass up. -- Marvin M., Dennison
The Browns have made it clear they're willing to listen while stressing that there are some options that they strongly believe will make the team better at the No. 1 spot. For the history buffs, the No. 1 pick has never been traded in back-to-back years but has been swapped six times since 1990. The last time a team traded to the top to draft a non-quarterback was 1997, when St. Louis selected OL Orlando Pace.
"We will always listen if teams want to call us, I think that's our MO as most teams do," Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said last week. "But we do feel good about some of the players that will be available at the top of the draft. We haven't made our decision yet but we have a number of players that we do feel like can really help us there but we do know there will be a couple teams interested in talking to us about that."