Cleveland Browns NFL Draft Live Blog (Day 1) - Rumors, Picks, and More

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 NFL Draft officially begins for the Cleveland Browns and the rest of the teams in the NFL at 8:00 PM EST. We've been busy the past few days preparing for our draft coverage and speculating about which players the Browns might be interested in drafting. The mock drafts that are staff complete for the first round can be found here. We also did Cleveland Browns Big Boards, ranking the top 40 players we'd like to see our team draft.

We will have all of the Browns-related coverage on the draft here at Dawgs By Nature throughout the weekend. We will have individual posts about each draft pick that Cleveland makes, or any other relevant news. This thread will act as a "live blog" of sorts, with short one-liners about the latest small rumors, picks, or trades involving Cleveland or other NFL teams. You should also use the comments section as your NFL Draft open thread! (Newest updates will be at the top of the live blog below)

Browns NFL Draft Live Blog

[NOTE: THE LIVE BLOG HAS MOVED HERE FOR THE FIRST ROUND]

6:55 PM: This will probably be our last update in this blog before we shift over to the new thread -- just a tweet from Tony Rizzo that circles back to a cornerback at No. 6 overall:

6:36 PM: Just a quick word, at 7:00 PM EST, we will be starting a new open thread / live blog. I will post a link to it when it is up.

6:21 PM: Joe Banner has appeared on FM 92.3 The Fan, and is discussing the draft. A couple of quick snippets:

- Browns not discussing trades for current players.

- Browns brass has a guy they have like at #6: 65/35% chance that he'll be available still when the Browns are on the clock.

- Browns have discussed trades that would allow them to do whatever they want to do.

5:07 PM: More feed for the QB to Cleveland engine:

The Browns are certainly exhausting all avenues. If the Browns are sniffing around the bottom of the first, it could be a huge indication that they are in on EJ Manuel. Most of the teams at the bottom of the first wouldn't be interested in a Quarterback, and by moving down to the teens in a (Matt Wood) style trade down, they'd clear all of the largest competition.

The extra year of control from being a first round pick could add some value to EJ at the end of the first, instead of in the front end of the second round.

4:36 PM: And.....the staff's mock drafts appear to be ruined with the first pick.

What does this mean for the Browns? Very little, except that the OT the Browns would potentially deal in a trade down could Joeckel, and not Fisher or Lane Johnson.

4:27 PM: A source tells DBN's Matt Wood hat he believes the Browns are trying to find a way to get CB D.J. Hayden. Matt tweeted out the following:

4:13 PM: This is kind of random, but if you want a chance to win tickets to the first NFL game (Baltimore vs. Denver), compete in the NFL's Mock Draft Challenge -- just try to predict the first round!

3:35 PM: Will Burge from ESPN Cleveland has sources telling him that Browns CEO Joe Banner is playing the field extensively, contacting almost every team about multiple scenarios. Here are a couple of snippets:

“When Joe (Banner) came back into the league with (the Browns) everyone knew they were going to have to deal with him. I don’t think anyone expected it to be on this level,” said the league source. “He has every team thinking something different, he has every media outlet reporting something different, and he is loving every second of it.”

“He has contacted almost every team in the draft about a multitude of different scenarios,” said the league source. “He is playing them like a fiddle.”

In an ideal world, this will inevitably be the case. In disaster-scenario, we played our cards too well and don't know which decision to ultimately settle with.

3:29 PM: This is more of a free agency-related update, coming from Adam Caplan of SiriusXM: fans had been wondering if the Browns would pursue WR Danario Alexander a few weeks back, and he says they considered it:

3:00 PM: Everyone must be on their lunch breaks, because things have sort of slowed down a bit. T.J. Ward did tweet, "I'm anxious to see who we draft today and the following days. Not every gem Is a first round pick. I'm sure whoever it is will be a great addition to the team."

Also, make sure you tune in to Bull & Fox on 92.3 The Fan to get hyped up for the draft. They have an interviewed lined up with Browns CEO Joe Banner at 6:15 PM tonight:

That's less than two hours before the draft begins, so we'll see if there's any sense of urgency to his tone.

2:20 PM (RUMORS): It's not often that we claim our own sources, but it's draft day, so what the heck, right? Several sources have been in contact with Dawgs By Nature with a couple of very interesting nuggets related to the quarterback position for the Cleveland Browns:

  • One source tells us that, despite what he has said to the local media, Michael Lombardi "will stop at nothing" to make sure that Brandon Weeden is not the Browns' starting quarterback in 2013.

    Keep in mind that four people are supposed to have an equal say in the matter, though. If Lombardi/Banner want a QB early, they would also need either Chudzinski or Farmer to both approve of it as well. This might be the reason why we haven't heard stronger rumors about the Browns getting a first-round quarterback.
  • Another source tells us that the Browns aren't going to be taking QB Geno Smith at No. 6 overall, but that there is something wild brewing behind-the-scenes and that if it ends up going down, "lots of fans will be going crazy." Hopefully that is good-crazy.
  • Lastly, our final source tells us that QB E.J. Manuel is the "crown jewel target" for the Browns if they are able to trade down. The source also says that the Browns are trying to address, in no particular order, safety, cornerback, and tight end in the subsequent rounds.

Exiting stuff. I still hope we don't get a quarterback, but I'll be on the edge of my seat. We may have some other stuff coming up soon, so stay with us.

1:55 PM: Funny how things change quickly, eh?

We're close to publishing some information from sources of our own; I'm just waiting on the final details. Stay tuned.

1:22 PM: Solomon Wilcots and Pro Football Talk are busy discussing the rumors of the Browns moving up to No. 3, and taking Geno Smith. Each source goes off in a different direction from each other, illustrating the fact perfectly that no one knows what is going on -- not just for Cleveland, but for most of the teams in the NFL.

1:02 PM: ...and we're back. I hope to have some juicy rumors to talk about in the next couple of minutes, so stay tuned.

12:40 PM: We'll be back in a second. If you haven't done so already, be sure to follow us on Twitter.

12:22 PM: Ugh, LET IT DIE ALREADY!

12:15 PM: Thanks to one of our SB Nation affiliates for passing along a great scouting report on QB E.J. Manuel. Check it out while you have some free time. Although Manuel hasn't been discussed a lot by the media for Cleveland, in the back of my mind for the past few weeks, I've wondered if Cleveland would pick him if they had a second-round pick.

12:14 PM: On my Browns Big Board, I considered value in my rankings -- for example, I'd love to see the Browns get TE Tyler Eifert, but not-so-much at No. 6 overall. Let's forget about the value of the pick position: here are four first-round selections who compel me because I think they can fulfill an opening-day starting position, in no particular order:

  • TE Tyler Eifert - Chud loves tight ends, where Browns still lack experience
  • OG Chance Warmack - We'd have the best offensive line in football
  • OLB Dion Jordan - Not a starter right away, but heavy rotational player
  • S Kenny Vaccaro - We only have one starting safety

12:00 PM: As we approach the noon hour, I can't believe how many of my colleagues here at DBN are saying they are "growing nervous" that we are going to end up in some disastrous situation due to something that Lombardi and company do. I am more giddy than anything -- it's draft day, and the Browns appear to be in great position regardless of what they do. I guess the one thing that would irritate me is if a quarterback goes to Cleveland in the first round. Also, as a reminder, if you're in Cleveland, you can attend a free draft party at the stadium:

11:44 AM: I've been thinking of something for the past few days, and one of our members here at DBN brought up a similar scenario yesterday. Here it is: OLB Dion Jordan seems to be the favored person to take among Browns fans who have done the research. However, a lot of people would love to move down to No. 12 or so and pick up a second-round pick.

What do you do if Jordan is on the board still, and a team like Miami wants to trade up? I think I would just take Jordan, but it's a tough decision, knowing the other guys (Barkevious Mingo, Ezekiel Ansah, Jarvis Jones, Sheldon Richardson, Dee Milliner) would could potentially still be there a little later.

11:30 AM: For anyone into graphical features, SB Nation put out a "team needs" graphic for the Cleveland Browns. Check it out here. Also, each year, Dan Kadar of Mocking the Draft is one of the top professional mock drafters in the country. He released his final mock draft today, and has OLB Barkevious Mingo going to Cleveland.

11:24 AM: Ah, yes -- it wouldn't be draft day without the Ryan Mallett-to-Cleveland rumor re-surfacing, would it? Mary Kay Cabot was the source of speculation within the hour. Some may dismiss her rumors, but she was spot on in calling the Browns' free agency targets a week before the signings happened. Zach Miller has the story up on the Mallett rumor here.

11:20 AM: Adding to my earlier speculation about Bess, John Clayton of ESPN says the Dolphins would be willing to part with No. 54 overall for Albert, but not their earlier second-round pick. A way they could sweeten the deal, though?

I'd rather the Browns not be the middle man in a Bess acquisition, just so we can help the Dolphins pick up an offensive tackle. Bess isn't worth a mid-round pick to the Browns if they don't gain other picks in return. Cleveland also has enough receivers that they shouldn't have to worry about the position.

11:08 AM: Because Miami has been linked to Cleveland as trade partners in multiple scenarios, talking them is relevant to the Browns today. They have reportedly been trying to trade for Chiefs offensive tackle Branden Albert, but a reporter from the Palm Beach Post says that the Dolphins don't feel he is worth a second-round pick:

If that is the case, then Miami may say "forget about Albert, let's draft a left tackle by trading up to No. 6 with Cleveland." That scenario would also require them giving up a second-round pick, but guess how it could be offset if they are hesitant?

Hmmm. I'm just trying to connect the dots here, but maybe we could see Bess involved in the same trade, with the Browns and Dolphins exchanging fifth- and sixth-round picks or something.

11:00 AM: If you read Matt Wood's mock draft, he has a scenario in which the Browns trade down twice to eventually end up with No. 31 overall and three second-round picks. That would have to involve the 49ers trading down, which Adam Schefter hears they are still into doing.

Reports earlier in the week had them interested in Dee Milliner, but maybe they have their eye on another defensive prospect. The 49ers definitely have the ammunition to move up.

10:57 AM: The local media is getting ready for tonight in Berea, where Joe Banner, Michael Lombardi, Ray Farmer, and Rob Chudzinski will come to a consensus on who the team should pick or what trades should be made. Jimmy Haslam is also expected to be with them, but as more of a bystander.

10:55 AM: The sexy pick all of a sudden for the Browns in mock drafts seems to be Geno Smith. Personally, I don't think that means we're going to take him, but the media has settled on that as their stance. Mel Kiper had us with cornerback Dee Milliner as of Wednesday:

Kiper: The Browns are really desperate for another corner to play opposite Joe Haden. If they get Milliner, that's a solid No. 2 option, also allowing them to move Buster Skrine inside to cover the slot, a position where he's far better. The need for a pass-rusher could certainly have them engaging in some debate here, but Milliner provides assurances. There's been talk that the Browns could move in either direction on the board, so plenty to wait for on that front as well. And yes, I do believe a QB such as Geno Smith could be in play here.

Mike Mayock from NFL Network does just one mock draft annually, which he published Wednesday. He was one of the guys going in on the Geno-to-Browns mentality:

Mayock: When I look at Geno, I see a kid who's got everything you want to see in a franchise quarterback, but there's just too much bad tape. I would not take him this early; I would go for an edge or a corner. However, I really think Joe Banner might pull the trigger on the quarterback from West Virginia.

How sad would it be to draft a first-round quarterback for the second year in a row?

10:30 AM: Let's start off with some basic news for tonight. The first round of the draft takes place THURSDAY, APRIL 25 at 8:00 PM EST. The Browns only have 1 pick -- No. 6 overall -- but that could change if a trade is made. It's hard to see a scenario in which the Browns would get two first-round picks; if anything happens, they would move down and pick up at least a second-round pick.

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