The Cleveland Browns are certainly staying coy with their plans for the NFL Draft. The team has two first-round picks thanks to a trading of Trent Richardson during the 2013 season. After stating a quarterback is a priority and they could easily draft two this coming May, the Browns might also be eyeing other players in the first round. Still dealing with multiple roster holes in free agency, could defense actually take the spotlight in the first round?
The Browns will make their first pick at No. 4. Most mock drafts have the Browns grabbing a quarterback with that first pick. They could easily end up with Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles, whichever quarterback Houston does not grab. However, head coach Mike Pettine cannot get over what he sees in Jadeveon Clowney and understands he will not be around at No. 26 when the team drafts again.
"Freakish athlete," Pettine said, via cleveland.com. "I think he could take over a game. I think he could change a game. He's proven that. I had good interaction with him (at the NFL Scouting Combine) in Indianapolis. As a defensive head coach, I don't know if I'd be all that upset to turn the card in on Clowney with the fourth pick."
The Browns are not the only team eyeing Clowney. It is hard to see the Texans, Rams or Jaguars passing on the defensive star. The Atlanta Falcons are also hoping to jump up and grab the South Carolina defensive end. Unless the Browns trade up, they will not get him. Preparing a backup plan, the Browns also favor wide receiver Sammy Watkins as an option at No. 4 because again, he will not be available past the top 10-15.
"To me what jumps off the tape is his passion. He loves football. We interviewed him in Indianapolis and you can tell he absolutely loves the game," Pettine said. "He's a guy that I think you want to find a variety of ways to get the ball in his hands because he's special."
The Browns have opted not to discuss which quarterback they appear to be favoring. NFL.com reports Cleveland will not have a scout at Manziel's Pro Day. Pettine already said the Browns needed to grab two more quarterbacks this season. Could one come in a later round in the draft while another comes via a trade?
Terrelle Pryor is up for grabs and the Browns could make a move for him. Pryor will not be an expensive acquisition and would be a quality back to place on the roster with Brian Hoyer and a rookie. The team could then look to players like Aaron Murray or AJ McCarron as options for depth. Those quarterbacks will still be around come the third round, giving the Browns some flexibility.
It appears the Browns are literally looking at every player in the draft. The team could go a number of ways with the No. 4 pick and are saying all the right things to keep everyone guessing.