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Browns announce signing of 18 undrafted free agents

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 30, 2013

The Browns have signed 18 undrafted free agents, the team announced today.

Here is the official list: Eastern Kentucky offensive tackle Aaron Adams; Northern Illinois wide receiver Perez Ashford, a Shaker Heights High School graduate; Stephen F. Austin cornerback Josh Aubrey; Notre Dame center Braxston Cave; Youngstown State running back Jamaine Cook, a Midpark High School graduate; Central Arkansas wide receiver Dominique Croom; Iowa wide receiver Keenan Davis; UTEP wide receiver Michael Edwards; Hawaii defensive end Paipai Falemalu; Louisiana State offensive tackle Chris Faulk; Florida International offensive tackle Caylin Hauptmann; Eastern Michigan tight end Garrett Hoskins; Utah defensive tackle Dave Kruger, the younger brother of Browns linebacker Paul Kruger; Stephen F. Austin wide receiver Cordell Roberson; Illinois defensive end Justin Staples, a Lakewood St. Edward High School graduate; Kansas State tight end Travis Tannahill; Delaware safety Kenny Tunstall; and Temple offensive tackle Martin Wallace.

Below is information about each of the aforementioned players provided by the Browns.

Aaron Adams – Four year letterman at Eastern Kentucky University (2009-12)… Appeared in 44 games, as he started contests at both right and left tackle… Helped the Colonels finish No. 16 in FCS coaches poll in 2012 en route to earning a third team AP All-America selection… Attended John I. Leonard High School in Florida, and Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia.

Perez Ashford – Appeared in 48 career games at Northern Illinois University (2009-12)… Totaled 110 career receptions for 1,192 yards, while adding 83 yards rushing and 410 return yards for 1,685 all-purpose yards… Added four receiving touchdowns and one punt return for a score… Caught 34 passes for 373 yards and one touchdown as a senior… Attended Shaker Heights (Ohio) High School.

Josh Aubrey – A four-time all-conference selection at Stephen F. Austin University (2009-12)… Started 46 of the 47 games in which he saw action and totaled 255 tackles, seven interceptions, 29 passes defensed and 3.5 sacks… As a senior, recorded 65 tackles, two interceptions, eight passes defensed, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble… Attended Lee High School in Houston, Texas.

Braxston Cave – Four year letterman at the University of Notre Dame (2009-12)… Started 35 of 48 career games and also served as the team’s long snapper… Part of an offensive line that helped the Irish average more than 200 yards per game in both rushing and receiving during the 2012 regular season… Attended Penn High School in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Jamaine Cook – Played four years Youngtown State University (2009-12) and finished second in school history with 4,052 rushing yards and 20 individual 100-yard rushing performances, while adding 39 touchdowns on 811 attempts… Totaled more than 1,200 rushing yards and 11 rushing scores in each of his three seasons as a starter… Rushed for 1,279 yards with 15 touchdowns on 279 carries in 2012… Attended Midpark High School in Middleburg Heights, Ohio.

Dominique Croom – Finished career at the University of Central Arkansas (2009-12) fifth in school history in receptions (153) and sixth in receiving yards (1,941), while appearing in 47 games… As a senior, caught 53 passes for 711 yards and eight touchdowns… Attended Cherokee (Indiana) High School.

Keenan Davis – Appeared in 48 games at the University of Iowa (2009-12)… Totaled 112 career receptions for 1,470 yards and seven touchdowns… As a senior, registered 47 receptions for 571 yards with one touchdown… Attended Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Mike Edwards – Two-year starter at the University of Texas-El Paso (2011-12) after transferring from Mt. San Antonio College (2010) in Walnut, California… Compiled 101 receptions for 1,477 yards and 11 touchdowns in two seasons at UTEP… Helped Mt. San Antonio College to the 2010 state and national championship… Attended Glendora (California) High School.

Paipai Falemalu – Four year letterman at the University of Hawaii (2009-12)… Totaled 161 career tackles, 16.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumble in 41 contests… Tied for the team lead with 56 tackles as a senior, while adding five sacks… Attended Kahuku High School on the island of O‘ahu in Hawaii.

Chris Faulk – Appeared in 26 games at LSU (2009, 2011-12) with 16 starts… Spent time at both left and right tackle… Appeared in just one game as a junior (2012) after suffering a knee injury in practice… Attended Northshore High School in Slidell, Louisiana.

Caylin Hauptmann – Started all 37 games he played at Florida International University (2010-12) at left tackle… Spent one season at the College of Canyons (2009) in Santa Clarita, California, before transferring to FIU… Attended Beverly Hills (California) High School.

Garrett Hoskins – Four year letterman at Eastern Michigan University (2009-12)… Finished career with 74 catches for 1,135 yards and eight touchdowns… As a senior, led the Eagles in receptions with 38, while adding 542 yards and three touchdowns… Attended Creston High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Dave Kruger – Started 37 of 49 career games at the University of Utah (2009-12)… Totaled 116 career tackles, 3.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble… Brother, Paul, is a linebacker for the Browns and brother, Joe, was selected by Philadelphia in the seventh round in this year’s draft… Attended Timpanogos High School in Orem, Utah.

Cordell Roberson – Finished career at Stephen F. Austin University (2009-12) as the school's all-time leader in receptions (221), receiving yards (3,191) and touchdown catches (39)… His 39 touchdown receptions also set a Southland Conference record… Recorded 77 receptions for 1,006 yards and 10 touchdowns in nine games as a senior… Attended Jefferson (Texas) High School.

Justin Staples – Appeared in 48 games at the University of Illinois (2009-12)… Totaled 62 career tackles, 2.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery… Attended St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio.

Travis Tannahill – Four year letterman at Kansas State University (2009-12)… Appeared in 51 games recording 42 receptions for 528 yards with three touchdowns… Earned first team All-Big 12 honors (Coaches, AP) as a senior and earned honorable mention All-America honors from Sports Illustrated… Attended Olathe East High School in Overland Park, Kansas.

Ricky Tunstall – Four year letterman at the University of Delaware (2009-12)… Saw action in 44 contests with 12 starts, registering 101 tackles, nine interceptions, eight passes defensed and one sack… Returned two of his interceptions for touchdowns, including a 91-yard return… Native of Bridgeton, N.J., who attended Glassboro (N.J.) High School.

Martin Wallace – Three year letterman at Temple University (2010-12), where he started in all 36 games that he appeared at both right and left tackle… Transferred to Temple from Northeastern after the school dropped its football program… Second-team All-Big East selection at right tackle as a senior… Native of New York, N.Y., where he attended the Beacon School.

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Browns part ways with senior national scout Pat Roberts

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 29, 2013

The Browns have parted ways with senior national scout Pat Roberts, a source confirmed for the Beacon Journal.

ESPN Cleveland WKNR (850-AM) first reported the news today.

Roberts joined the Browns in 2005 as a national scout. He became their director of college scouting in 2009 and served as their senior national scout the past three years. He spent seven years working in the Chicago Bears' scouting department before coming to Cleveland.

The departure of Roberts is likely the beginning of a shakeup in the organization’s scouting department. Scouts typically have contracts that expire shortly after the NFL Draft, which ended this past weekend.

The new regime has brought in plenty of new people since its arrival, and the scouting department obviously won’t be an exception.

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New Browns WR Davone Bess: 'To jump ship to Cleveland was a great opportunity'

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 29, 2013

The Browns recently acquired wide receiver Davone Bess in a trade with the Miami Dolphins and signed him to a three-year contract extension that secures him through the 2016 season.

Bess addressed reporters this afternoon for the first time since the trade unfolded. Below is a transcript from the conference call. 

What was your reaction when you learned you had been traded?: “My initial reaction was it was bittersweet. Obviously, being down here in Miami since my rookie year, having developed a relationship with the organization, the fans and kind of embracing my opportunity was something special here. But all good things, they say, must come to an end. To jump ship to Cleveland was a great opportunity, a great stepping-stone for myself in my career. So personally it was a great move for me. I’m thankful for the future and I’m looking forward to being a Brown.”

Describe yourself as a receiver: “A get-it-done type of guy whether it’s inside or outside. Whatever the coaches want my role to be, I’m going to give 110 percent and maximize it to the best of my ability.”

What do you think your role will be with the Browns?: “Obviously they have a bunch of young guys there who had pretty good seasons last year. [They’re] young, hungry, intelligent, athletically, physically, mentally. To come in and just share my knowledge and be able to help out a group not only from a physical, playmaking standpoint, but just more mental and just understanding the game of football from an Xs and Os standpoint. From what I heard, the guys are great, and I’m looking forward to meeting them all and jelling this team together.”

How much of a mentor role did you play in Miami?: “Looking back and being undrafted and kind of just being thrown in the fire my rookie year and then having an opportunity to play, I’m just very, very thankful and appreciative. We all know hard and how frustrating this league can be. We know that without opportunity, who knows where I’d be or whoever else would be, and opportunity is a big part of this league. So I’m very thankful for the Miami Dolphins for giving me that shot. From that standpoint, it was just a matter of never looking back and just understanding and knowing that I can play and be productive in this league.”

Why did Miami let you go?: “I don’t know. I don’t know. But what I can say is coach [Joe] Philbin and the Miami Dolphins, they are great guys. I enjoyed every bit of them last year and up until this point. But I didn’t come in with that regime. Obviously every coach, every organization, whenever they bring in a new coach, everybody’s got their own guys. I understood that when I signed up to join the business, and that’s just the way this league is built. So you can’t have any hard feelings. You’ve got to take it for what it is and just give it your all and just try to not look back.”

You sat out the last three games of the 2012 season with a back injury and the coaches were reportedly angry about that. Was that a factor in the trade?: “To be honest, I have no idea. I kind of left that in last season. It was a touchy situation, but we let bygones be bygones. We squashed it, you know? We moved forward and that's the end of that.”

Do you know much about the Browns?: “Not much, but I know somewhat of the tradition it holds. Obviously Jim Brown's in there who's a Hall of Famer, legendary icon in the city, and I've always been a fan of football, so I know a bunch of players on each team in the league that I follow. Also, I'm really looking forward to joining this group of receivers. I've been watching this group of receivers and they're young, talented, and I'm just looking forward to being part of the mix.”

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Free-agent offensive tackle Winston Justice scheduled to visit Browns on Wednesday, ESPN reports

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 29, 2013

Free-agent offensive tackle Winston Justice is scheduled to visit the Browns on Wednesday after spending time with the Pittsburgh Steelers today, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Justice, a right tackle, started all 12 games in which he appeared last season with the Indianapolis Colts.

The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Justice, 28, in the second round (No. 39 overall) in 2006, and he spent his first six NFL seasons with them. Browns CEO Joe Banner served as the Eagles’ president while Justice was in Philadelphia.

On March 14, 2012, the Eagles traded Justice and a 2012 sixth-round pick (No. 187) to the Colts in exchange for another sixth-round choice (No. 172).

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2013 NFL Draft: A look at what the Browns' in-division rivals did on draft day

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 29, 2013

Grading a draft not even 24 hours after its completion is a pretty ridiculous exercise. Busts become booms, first-round blue-chippers and second-round steals never see their potential. 

What we can do is take a look at how teams addressed certain needs, how they evaluated particular players during the draft and what those moves mean. The decisions during the draft are only on paper at this point, which isn't everything, but it is something. 

At first glance, the AFC North as a division had a strong weekend. The Pittsburgh Steelers have long had a reputation as a solid organization when it comes to the draft, and Baltimore Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome is developing a reputation as one of the best minds in the game. Here's a look at what each in-division team did. 

Baltimore Ravens

1. (32) Matt Elam, S, Florida
2. (56) Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas St. 
3. (94) Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern St. 
4. (129) John Simon, DE/OLB, Ohio State
4. (130) Kyle Juszczyk, FB, Harvard
5. (168) Ricky Wagner, G, Wisconsin
6. (200) Kapton Lewis-Moore, DE, Notre Dame
6. (203) Ryan Jensen, C, Colorado St-Pueblo
7. (238) Aaron Mellette, WR, Elon
7. (247) Marc Anthony, CB, California  

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Tracking undrafted free agents heading to Browns

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 28, 2013

After the NFL Draft wrapped up Saturday night, Browns CEO Joe Banner said the organization had agreed to deals with 17 undrafted free agents and would pursue a few more.

Banner also said the Browns wouldn’t release the names of those prospects until all of them have officially signed. The online world, though, doesn’t have patience for paperwork, so the identities of the players have surfaced.

Below is an unofficial list I have compiled.

Eastern Kentucky offensive tackle Aaron Adams

Northern Illinois wide receiver Perez Ashford (Shaker Heights High School graduate)

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2013 NFL Draft: Transcript from wrap-up news conference with Browns CEO Banner, coach Chudzinski

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 27, 2013

Browns CEO Joe Banner and coach Rob Chudzinski met with reports tonight after the NFL Draft wrapped up. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

Joe Banner

(Opening statement)- “A couple things I think you already know. We signed (Davone) Bess to a three-year contract extension, so including the year he already has that’s four years. We have agreements with, we won’t have them signed so we won’t release any of the names yet, 17 undrafted free agents. We’ll get you those names as soon as we get the contracts back but until we do that we don’t want to put them out. That probably won’t be until tomorrow morning. We’re still working, we probably have two more spots to fill. I just want to talk a little philosophically about what we did. We view Bess as part of the draft and we were fortunate being able to trade back a couple spots to acquire him, keep the same number of picks and then as you know we were able to take those picks and trade them for future picks. The philosophy really is to treat everything we have, whether it’s a draft pick, an undrafted free agent, cap space, whatever it is as an asset and try to maximize the value we can get for it. We took our fourth round pick for example, traded back to pay for part of Bess and then traded that for a future third round pick. We feel like, for a fourth round pick that’s about as much value as you can possibly hope to get. He’s a good player, still good enough to contribute for a while. Again, he’s very high character, all the things that we keep talking about that we’re looking for. Then we were able to trade the pick and have the asset of a third round pick next year. That’s how we’re thinking about those things, what’s the best value that we can get out of each of those assets, with having in mind the idea of building a really good team over two to three years as opposed to just worrying about filling every single need that we could identify for this moment. That’s just kind of an overview behind the moves you saw us make today.”

Joe Banner

(On if they stuck with their plan going into the draft)- “We were open to the idea of trading for future picks if we could get the right value, but we also went in, I mean frankly I think if you had asked us this morning we would have thought we were going to use those picks. We thought we had good players identified but you start getting into the fourth and fifth round, I’m not going to tell you they’re guys you know that are going to be stars. But as we were able to go through and finalize the best trades, we were a little further in the fourth round as we got an offer that we thought was really good value for the pick as we looked at who was available, I think we had open mindedness about that possibility and then made the decision to use it that way.”

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Videos: Browns CEO Joe Banner, Head Coach Rob Chudzinski on the draft and quarterback situation

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 27, 2013

Following the conclusion of the 2013 NFL Draft, Browns CEO Joe Banner and Head Coach Rob Chudzinski spoke with reporters about the draft and the quarterback situation heading into next season. 

 

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2013 NFL Draft: Transcript of conference call with Browns 6th-round pick Jamoris Slaughter

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 27, 2013

The Browns selected Notre Dame safety Jamoris Slaughter in the sixth round (175th overall) of the NFL Draft on Saturday. Here's a transcript of his conference call with reporters. 

(On what his injury status is)- “With my injury, I’m about 90 percent now.  I’m able to do sprinting and cutting and I’ve been doing back drills.  Pretty much everything, position drills.  So it’s all coming back in line.  The main thing for me now is getting my power and explosion back.  I’ve been doing that by doing some single leg weights and workouts and those types of things.  It’s been coming along pretty well and I think I should be ready, 100 percent, by training camp.”

(On if he expected to go undrafted)- “I was expecting to go undrafted just due to my injury and getting hurt the third game of the season.  I know I did well in my senior year, but my fifth year, sitting out the the entire time, I knew that it would affect me. It was a surprise to me that I did get drafted.  I’m excited to be a Cleveland Brown and I’m just ready to get back out there and get to work.”

(On if he knew the Browns had interest in him)- “I spoke with my agent throughout this whole process.  He let me know that the Browns were interested in me.  They had been calling him a couple of days before the draft and saying that they really like my tape and they really thought that I was an exceptional player and they were thinking about picking me up.  I just kept my mind in the moment, not knowing if I would get drafted or not.  But my agent gave me a good idea that they were very interested in me.  So them drafting me, to me, is a big deal.”

(On how his injury happened)- “It happened the third game of the season.  We were playing Michigan State, first play of the second half, I was literally just back pedaling and I planted on my left leg to break forward and I just felt something that felt like a pop.  It didn’t hurt, but I went straight to the ground.  I didn’t know exactly what it was, I felt like I twisted my ankle.  When the trainers came over to look at it, they told me that I tore my Achilles and I was just heart-broken because I knew I was going to be out for the rest of the season.  It’s just something that comes along with the game and you just have to pick up from where you left off and just rehab and keep working until you get back.”

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2013 NFL Draft: Transcript of press conference with Browns 3rd-round pick Leon McFadden

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 27, 2013

Browns third-round draft pick, San Diego St. cornerback Leon McFadden, was introduced in a press conference in Berea on Saturday. 

(On what he knows about the Browns) - “I know that the team has a great fan base. Since 1999, it has been kind of tough, but the fans have stuck by their side.  I keep hearing about this ‘Dawg Pound’ and that’s something I want to be part of.  I’m looking forward to that and I’m just excited to be here.”

(On why he chose football over baseball) - “I just loved playing football, I’m very passionate about it.  Baseball was the first sport I started playing obviously, because my dad played professional baseball.  But, he didn’t push me to it.  He let me live my own dream and he’s happy for me.”

(On his father playing in the MLB) - “He played four years in the majors and four years in the minors.”

(On competing for a starting job at right cornerback) - “I’m just going to come in and compete and give my all. Show my butt off and from there, we’re going to see what happens.”

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2013 NFL Draft: Transcript of conference call with Browns 7th-round pick Armonty Bryant

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 27, 2013

The Browns took East Central Oklahoma defensive end/outside linebacker Armonty Bryant in the seventh-round (217th overall). Here's a transcript of his teleconference with reporters on Saturday. 

(On what he brings to the table as a player) - “What I bring to the table is just a relentless attitude. I want to get to the quarterback and I want to make a big play. I feel like I’m that guy who you can count on. I want to be that person, that when we’re in a hard situation, you can come to me and say we need this. I feel like I can be that guy that goes out there and deliver.”

(On his collegiate journey) - “Out of high school I started at Abilene Christian, where I redshirted my first year. I had some academic issues. I ended up transferring down the street to a Cisco Junior College where I played my first year of football. After that year, I transferred to East Central where I finished up my collegiate career.”

(On his arrest and what can he tell the Browns to help them feel that he won’t be a problem) - “Good people make mistakes, is something that I’ve always been told by my head coach. I feel like it was just a stupid move on my part. I should have been more mature about the situation and be more focused on football, which is something I really want to do with my life. Now that I’ve gotten that second chance, I feel like I won’t let anyone down. I won’t let myself, the people around me or the Cleveland Browns down. I appreciate them for taking this chance on me.”

(On his health) - “I feel like I’m 100% right now. I just had a minor tweaking after the Texas vs. Nation All-Star game. I feel 100% right now, no issues whatsoever now.”

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2013 NFL Draft: Transcript of conference call with Browns 7th-round pick Garrett Gilkey

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 27, 2013

The Browns took Chadron St. offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey in the seventh round (227th overall). Here's a transcript of his teleconference with reporters on Saturday. 

(On if he feels more comfortable at guard or tackle) - “I think something that allows me to be versatile is that I played tackle in college and then at the Senior Bowl I played guard. So really I have the mindset that I was going to play guard. I’m ready to play either or, or both. I’m ready to be versatile.”

(On what he expects in regards to the step up from Division II to the NFL) - “I’m very excited about it. It allows me to really reach the potential that I want to reach. Having the limitation of being in Division II, obviously, has its differences in competition, but I’m very excited about the step up. I think that there has been a knock on me for a long time because of my competition level. I have a chip on my shoulder and I’m as excited to be as successful as I can be and help get the Browns to a Super Bowl. It isn’t anything that I’m intimidated about. I’m very excited about it. There is a lot of great opportunity and I’m ready to walk into camp and compete for a job.”

(On having a heart operation and his appendix bursting while in high school) - “Going into my freshman year of high school I had a heart operation. I had a syndrome called WPW (Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome), which was easily fixed. I had a cardiac ablation that fixed my condition. It prevented me from participating in any athletic sports during my freshman year. It helped me excel academically. Actually, it was a rough year because I was bullied severely and I had a rough time. My parents decided to move me to Aurora Christian and that’s how I got there, which is how I got to Chadron. With the appendicitis, my junior year, three hours before our first game in North Dakota, I had that. That was a big upset, and I walked into my junior year knowing that I had to go lights out and play very well. It was hard to bounce back from that, especially because I was out the first two games. I bounced back well and it’s just very exciting because I had a good senior year.”

(On playing with Joe Thomas) - “I’m excited, I’m very excited to learn from him.  He’s unanimously considered the best tackle in the league.  I know he’s one of the highest paid, he’s one of the best tackles. I’ve actually looked up to him for a while. When he was drafted, he was drafted in the first round, but he was knocked down because of his arm length.  That’s what a lot of people have knocked on me about, was my arm length as well.  But I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys in the room.  I know Coach (George) Warhop is great, I was able to spend some time with him.  But I’m very excited to learn from the rest of the guys, to be a student of the game, to just grow in knowledge and wisdom of the game from the other guys in the room. Joe Thomas is a guy I’m especially looking forward to spending time with.”

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2013 NFL Draft: Browns pick Chadron State OL Garrett Gilkey in seventh round

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 27, 2013

The Browns selected Chadron State offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey this afternoon in the seventh round (No. 227) of the NFL Draft.

The 6-foot-6, 318-pound Gilkey started all 12 games at left tackle last season, but projects as an NFL guard. The Browns entered the draft in need of depth at guard, and Gilkey played the position during the Senior Bowl.

Gilkey’s medical history is a concern. He had heart surgery going into his freshman year of high school that prevented him from playing sports early on. In 2011, his appendix burst.

Pro Football Weekly’s draft guide describes Gilkey as a “Division II left tackle best suited to kick inside to guard in the pros. Has added 70 pounds since exiting high school and is still growing into his body and has enough physical talent to stick as a swing backup.”

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2013 NFL Draft: Browns pick East Central DE/OLB Armonty Bryant in seventh round

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 27, 2013

The Browns selected East Central University defensive end/outside linebacker Armonty Bryant this afternoon in the seventh round (No. 217) of the NFL Draft.

Bryant brings a significant amount of baggage to the NFL. He was arrested twice in October for selling marijuana to an undercover officer, according to Pro Football Weekly's annual draft guide. He did not bench press at the NFL Scouting Combine in February because he underwent shoulder surgery on his right labrum in January 2012 and recently tweaked it.

Bryant left East Central, a Division II school in Ada, Okla., as its career leader with 26½ sacks. The 6-foot-4, 263-pound Bryant compiled 54 tackles, including 17½ for loss and 10½ sacks, last season.

The Browns have one pick remaining in the seventh and final round (No. 227).

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Browns sign WR Davone Bess to three-year contract extension

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 27, 2013

The Browns have signed wide receiver Davone Bess to a three-year contract extension, the team announced today.

Bess, 27, had one year left his existing contract, so he is signed through 2016. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.

Bess passed his physical with the Browns this morning to make their trade with the Miami Dolphins official. The Browns traded picks in the fourth (No. 104) and fifth (No. 164) rounds in exchange for Bess and selections in the fourth (No. 111) and seventh (No. 217) rounds.

The 5-foot-10, 193-pound Bess caught 61 passes for 778 yards and one touchdown in 13 starts this past season, missing the last three games because of a back injury. In 2010, Bess established career highs in catches (79), receiving yards (820) and touchdowns (five). He has never had fewer than 50 catches in a season.

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2013 NFL Draft: Browns pick Notre Dame safety Jamoris Slaughter in 6th round

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 27, 2013

The Browns selected Notre Dame safety Jamoris Slaughter this afternoon in the sixth round (No. 175) of the NFL Draft.

The 6-foot, 195-pound Slaughter missed 10 games this past season as a senior after rupturing the Achilles’ tendon in his left leg Sept. 15 against Michigan State. During a conference call, Slaughter said he's about 90 percent now. He expects to be 100 percent by training camp and compete for the starting free safety job.

Slaughter started 10 of the 13 games in which he appeared in 2011 and compiled 45 tackles, two pass breakups, one interception and a forced fumble.

The Browns need help at free safety, where Tashaun Gipson and Eric Hagg are in the mix for a starting job. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock believes Slaughter will compete for the job, too.

“Ultimately he’ll compete for a starting free safety job,” Mayock said during NFL Network’s broadcast. “That’s an excellent pick for the Cleveland Browns.”

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Cardinals willing to trade backup QB Brian Hoyer, Browns interested, NFL Network reports

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 27, 2013

The Arizona Cardinals are open to trading backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, and the Browns are interested, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported.

Hoyer, a North Olmsted native and graduate of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, has been in the NFL for four seasons but has only one career start on his resume. In his lone start, Hoyer, 27, completed 19-of-34 passes (55.9 percent) for 225 yards and one touchdown with an interception in the Cardinals’ 27-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17 last season.

In 2009, Hoyer signed with the New England Patriots as an undrafted rookie from Michigan State and served as Tom Brady’s backup. After the Patriots cut him last year, he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was eventually released Dec. 8.

The Cardinals claimed Hoyer off waivers and signed him to a second-round tender as a restricted free agent in March. However, the Cardinals are willing to deal Hoyer, according to the report.

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2013 NFL Draft: Browns trade 5th-round pick to Colts in exchange for 4th-round pick in 2014

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 27, 2013

The Browns are wheeling and dealing this afternoon in the NFL Draft instead of picking players.

The Browns announced they traded a fifth-round pick (No. 139) to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a fourth-round selection in 2014. The Colts then selected Tennessee-Martin defensive tackle Montori Hughes at No. 139.

Earlier today, the Browns traded a fourth-round pick (No. 111) to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a third-round selection in 2014. It was the first time the Browns traded with the Steelers since May 14, 1968.

The Browns have the following three picks left in the third and final day of the Browns: sixth round (No. 175) and seventh (Nos. 217 and 227).

Barring another trade, the Browns will end up picking only two players – Louisiana State University outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo (No. 6 overall) and San Diego State cornerback Leon McFadden (No. 68 overall) – through the first 174 selections this year.

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2013 NFL Draft: Browns trade 4th-round pick to Steelers in exchange for 3rd-round pick next year

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 27, 2013

The Browns announced they traded a fourth-round draft pick (No. 111) to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a third-round pick in 2014.

It was the first time the Browns traded with the archrival Steelers since May 14, 1968, according to the Browns' media guide. The Steelers used pick No. 111 to select Syracuse University safety Shamarko Thomas.

The Browns have the following four picks left in the third and final day of the Browns: fifth round (No. 139); sixth (No. 175); and seventh (Nos. 217 and 227).

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WR Davone Bess passes physical with Browns, agent says

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 27, 2013

Wide receiver Davone Bess has passed his physical with the Browns, his agent, Kenny Zuckerman, told the Beacon Journal this morning.

The Browns' trade with the Miami Dolphins for Bess was contingent upon him passing a physical.

The Browns traded picks in the fourth (No. 104) and fifth (No. 164) rounds in exchange for Bess, 27, and selections in the fourth (No. 111) and seventh (No. 217) rounds.

The fourth round of the NFL Draft resumes at noon today. The Browns have the following five picks: fourth round (No. 111); fifth (No. 139); sixth (No. 175); and seventh (Nos. 217 and 227).

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2013 NFL Draft: Browns Draft-Day Notes

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 26, 2013

 

-- Defensive back Leon McFadden is the seventh player selected by the Browns from San Diego State and first since wide receiver Patrick Rowe was selected in the second round of the 1992 draft.

-- McFadden’s father, Leon, played nine seasons of professional baseball as a pitcher, shortstop and outfielder. He appeared in 62 games for the Houston Astros over the course of three major-league seasons (1968-70).

-- Former Browns quarterback Brian Sipe served as an assistant coach at San Diego State during all four of McFadden’s seasons with the team (2009-12). Sipe played 10 seasons (1974-83) with the Browns and was selected to the 1981 Pro Bowl.

-- The Browns have now selected a cornerback in each of the last five NFL drafts. In 2009, the club drafted Coye Francies in the sixth round. Joe Haden was selected in the first round in 2010. In 2011, Buster Skrine was tabbed in the fifth round. Last year, Cleveland drafted Trevin Wade in the seventh round.

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Video/transcript: Browns GM Michael Lombardi on the first three rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 26, 2013

On what he likes about McFadden: "I think Leon's a four-year starter. He's got good mirror skills. He's competitive, can make plays on the football. I think he's got the attributes that we're looking for certainly at the position. I think he brought the dimensions that we wanted in terms of players that we want to bring into the organization."

On the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu: "I think you do the research on all the players and you make a decision on kind of what you really feel is the best for your organization, and we just felt Leon was ideally suited. He played a lot of football in college. He's competitive, and he's been productive."

On where he envisions McFadden will play, inside or outside: "I think that's a coach's call. I think he's got the skills to certainly compete and whoever wins the job will be determined based on their play on the field."

On McFadden playing inside our outside, again: "He's done both at San Diego State, so I think he can play either. He's got the skill set to do that. He came to San Diego State as a receiver, and they moved him to corner. I think he can see the game through both eyes and I think he can play in or out."

On the thought of taking a quarterback in the third round: "No, we were more focused on trying to improve the positions of the secondary, defensive line, offensive line, those areas."

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Browns officially announce trade with Miami for Davone Bess

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 26, 2013

The Cleveland Browns today agreed to a trade with the Miami Dolphins in which they acquired wide receiver Davone Bess. In addition, the Browns traded fourth (104th) and fifth (164th) round draft picks while receiving fourth (111th) and seventh (217th) round draft choices. The trade is contingent on Bess passing a physical.

“Davone is a proven receiver who has been extremely productive throughout his career,” said Browns Head Coach Rob Chudzinski.  “He possesses outstanding hands and separation skills, while also showing the ability to pick up yards in key situations.  Because of his talent and experience, we feel as though he can come in and help us right away.”

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2013 NFL Draft: transcript of teleconference with Browns third-round pick Leon McFadden

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 26, 2013

The Browns took San Diego St. cornerback Leon McFadden in the third round (No. 68 overall) of the NFL Draft on Friday night. McFadden spoke with reporters via telephone. 

On being drafted - I’m very excited. Words can’t explain how excited I am to be a part of the Cleveland Browns organization. I’m looking forward to working my butt off on the field and helping the team get wins.

On a personal scouting report - I believe my ball skills are very good, my man-to-man coverage, I became a lot more aggressive in the last couple years. My IQ for football, studying my opponent is really big for me. The main thing I would like to work on is my press man and polishing up my technique and keeping my eye discipline.

On being on the Browns rader and being a starter - I didn’t really speak to the Cleveland Browns. This was a big surprise to me. I didn’t talk to them much, probably some basic questionnaires. Other than that I didn’t know their interest in me at all.

Did Brian Sipe put in a good word? -  Probably so. I just thought about that when I got the phone call, the first guy who came to my mind was Brian Sipe, him being part of the organization.

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2013 NFL Draft: Browns pick San Diego State CB Leon McFadden in 3rd round

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 26, 2013

The Browns selected San Diego State cornerback Leon McFadden tonight in the third round (No. 68 overall) of the NFL Draft.

The 5-foot-10, 193-pound McFadden started all 39 games in the past three seasons and 45 of the 51 games in which he appeared in college. McFadden compiled eight interceptions in his career, including three this past season. He compiled 61 tackles and a forced fumble as a senior in 2012.

Three notable quarterbacks – Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib, Southern California’s Matt Barkley, and North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon – were on the board. Louisiana State cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, otherwise known as “Honey Badger,” was also available, and the Arizona Cardinals nabbed him with the next pick, No. 69 overall.

The Browns had a dire need for a starting cornerback and addressed the position by taking McFadden. His father, Leon, played baseball for the Houston Astros’ organization.

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Browns trade for Miami Dolphins WR Davone Bess, agree to 3-year contract extension, agent says

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 26, 2013

The Browns have acquired wide receiver Davone Bess in a trade with the Miami Dolphins and reached an agreement with him on a three-year contract extension, his agent, Kenny Zuckerman, confirmed tonight for the Beacon Journal.

The Browns traded a fourth-round pick (No. 104) and a fifth-round selection (No. 164) in exchange for a fourth-round pick (No. 111), a seventh-round choice (No. 217) and Bess, the team announced.

General Manager Mike Lombardi said the trade is contingent upon Bess passing a physical, which he's expected to take Saturday. Lombardi said the three-year contract extension has yet to be finalized.

Bess, who served as the Dolphins' primary slot receiver, was entering the final year of his old contract.

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2013 NFL Draft: Transcript of Browns 1st-round pick Barkevious Mingo's introductory news conference

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 26, 2013

New Browns outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo, the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft, was introducted today at the team's headquarters. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

Rob Chudzinski

(Opening statement)- “Thanks for coming today. We are thrilled to introduce our newest Cleveland Brown Barkevious Mingo. A couple special guests that KeKe brought along with him, his mother Barbara is here, as well as his girlfriend Lauren is joining us today. We’re excited about KeKe being here and come on up KeKe, now is your time.”

Barkevious Mingo

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2013 NFL Draft: Barkevious Mingo confident he can switch to OLB for Browns, avoid bust label

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 26, 2013

Barkevious Mingo weighs only 237 pounds and doesn’t have experience dropping back in pass coverage, but during his introductory news conference with the Browns, he oozed confidence about switching from defensive end at Louisiana State University to outside linebacker in the NFL.

The Browns hope Mingo conquers the transition. They drafted him sixth overall Thursday night and are counting on him to become an elite pass rusher in defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s 3-4, multi-front scheme.

The 6-foot-4 Mingo is convinced his work ethic will prevent him from becoming a bust.

“At LSU, I played with a high motor,” Mingo said this afternoon. “I wanted to get there. Every play, I wanted a sack. I wanted to be in the backfield. Just having that mindset helps everything else.”

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Video: First-round pick Barkevious Mingo introduced with the Browns

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 26, 2013

Browns first-round pick Barkevious Mingo talks about his expectations and former LSU teammate Tyrann Mathieu. 

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2013 NFL Draft: Browns not slated to pick again until 3rd round, secondary tops list of needs

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 26, 2013

After selecting Louisiana State outside linebacker/defensive end Barkevious Mingo sixth overall Thursday night in the first round of the NFL Draft, the Browns aren’t scheduled to pick again until early in the third round.

The second and third rounds will be held today with the draft resuming at 6:30 p.m. Teams will have seven minutes per selection in round two and five minutes per choice in round three.

The Browns don’t have a second-round pick this year because former General Manager Tom Heckert exercised it by nabbing wide receiver Josh Gordon last summer in the supplemental draft. In March at the NFL owners meeting, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said he believes Gordon has the tools needed to evolve into a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver. In other words, the new regime should be grateful for Heckert's gamble, provided Gordon continues to develop.

Regardless, CEO Joe Banner said the Browns had a trade in place Thursday night but chose not to execute it because Mingo was available at No. 6. Banner would not divulge the details of the deal, but there’s certainly a chance it could have yielded a second-round selection for the Browns.

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2013 NFL Draft: Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Rob Chudzinski, CEO Joe Banner

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 26, 2013

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski and CEO Joe Banner held a news conference tonight to discuss picking Louisiana State outside linebacker/defensive end Barkevious Mingo sixth overall. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

Rob Chudzinski

(Opening statement)- “We just want to come out and get a chance to announce, obviously, that we have drafted (Barkevious) Kiki Mingo.  We’re extremely excited about Kiki.  The thing that stood out to us was the kind of person that he is. He has outstanding character, extremely highly recommended from the people down there that you talked to.  We had a chance, he came in for a visit, and spent the day with him. He’s anHe’sh extremely impressive young man - somebody that we felt like we strongly wanted be able to put in our locker room and become part of the team.  His athleticism speaks for itself.  He’s an extremely gifted athlete, explosive, great speed off the edge and a developing player.  Obviously, he’s been battle tested in the SEC.  He has played a lot.  He still has plenty of room for growth.  But, we really see him as an outstanding pass rusher and somebody that is going to be able to bring that to our team.”

Joe Banner

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2013 NFL Draft: Transcript from conference call with new Browns outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 26, 2013

The Browns drafted Louisiana State University outside linebacker/defensive end Barkevious Mingo sixth overall tonight. Here is a transcript from a conference call with Mingo:

(On his reaction of coming to Cleveland) - “I just had a really good visit. Going there, the coaches, obviously were very impressed. I fell in love with the city and now I have a chance to play there.”

(On if he met with Ray Horton during his visit) - “Yes, I talked to coach Horton. We pretty much went over how they want to use me in their scheme. We talked about football, we talked about how they wanted to get to know me as a person, obviously, and that’s pretty much the extent of my visit there.”

(On how are they going to use him in the 3-4 scheme) - “They needed pass rushers. They want somebody to get to the quarterback and help on the defense.”

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Video: Browns CEO Joe Banner, Head Coach Rob Chudzinski discuss the selection of Barkevious Mingo

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 25, 2013

Below are excerpts from the Browns' press conference following the selection of Louisiana State defensive end/outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo with the No. 6 overall pick. 

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2013 NFL Draft: transcript of Browns No. 6 overall pick Barkevious Mingo's teleconference

By Stephanie Storm Published: April 25, 2013

Transcript from Barkevious Mingo's teleconference after being selected by the Browns with the No. 6 overall pick:

Q) What’s your reaction to coming to Cleveland?

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2013 NFL Draft: Browns select Louisiana State OLB/DE Barkevious Mingo at No. 6

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 25, 2013

The Browns selected Louisiana State University outside linebacker/defensive end Barkevious Mingo tonight with the sixth overall selection in the NFL Draft.

The 6-foot-4, 241 pound Mingo will be expected to become a pass-rushing force in new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s 3-4, multi-front scheme.

Mingo, who played defensive end in college, compiled 38 tackles, including 8½ for loss and 4½ sacks, to go along with a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries last season as a junior. As a sophomore, Mingo tallied 46 tackles, including 15 for loss and eight sacks.

The Browns chose Mingo over Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner and West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. The Browns also opted to stay put and take Mingo instead of trading down, which they were open to doing if their top target wasn't available.

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Owner Jimmy Haslam surfaces at Browns' headquarters despite being embroiled in federal probe

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 25, 2013

Despite his truck-stop empire being at the center of a federal investigation, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam surfaced at the team’s headquarters for his first NFL Draft with the organization.

Haslam addressed a group of sponsors in the field house tonight but did not take questions from the crowd or meet with the media.

Haslam did not mention the scandal in which he’s embroiled. He stuck to football, expressing his pleasure in the Browns’ free-agency moves and optimism about the draft and the new coaching staff.

The FBI and Internal Revenue Service raided the headquarters of Pilot Flying J, Haslam’s family business, April 15 in Knoxville, Tenn. In court documents, the FBI accuses Pilot Flying J of using a fraud scheme to keep millions of dollars owed to trucking companies as gas rebates -- and that Haslam knew about it. Haslam has maintained his innocence since the raid.

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CEO Joe Banner says Browns have trade options, 65 percent chance top target to be available at No. 6

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 25, 2013

CEO Joe Banner said the Browns have options to trade out of the No. 6 overall pick, but he estimates there’s a 65 percent chance the prospect they want will be available in that slot.

Banner made the comments during a radio interview with 92.3 The Fan less than two hours before the start of the NFL Draft, which begins at 8 p.m. today. He said there are three or four teams the Browns have had “back-and-forth or ongoing conversations with” during the past 24 hours.

“There are things out there we could do if we wanted to,” Banner said when asked if the Browns have a trade in place. “I don’t think we want to do anything until we see exactly how the first five picks fall ‘cause, as I said, there a couple of players that if they were sitting there when we went to pick, we would probably just pick them and regardless of what we were offered, just feel really good about the outcome.”

Rumblings began surfacing Wednesday night about the Browns possibly trading up, which owner Jimmy Haslam said in March would be “doubtful.” This evening, NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported the Browns aren’t planning to trade up.

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2013 NFL Draft: Ohio State first-round picks becoming scarce

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 25, 2013

Ohio State has had about as good a track record in the NFL Draft as any program in the country, but a recent trend has seen fewer and fewer Buckeyes taken in the first round than even four or five years ago. 

Since 2000, Ohio State leads the country with 82 total draft picks, one more than Miami's 81 and two more than Southern California's 80. The Buckeyes have the third-most first-round picks in that time with 17. USC has 18 and Miami is the runaway leader with 26. 

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Contrary to report, Browns not interested in Patriots QB Ryan Mallett, source says

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 25, 2013

The Browns are not interested in trading for New England Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, a league source confirmed today for the Beacon Journal.

Earlier this afternoon, the Boston Herald reported that the Browns had called the Patriots about Mallett.

The Patriots want at least a second-round draft pick in exchange for Mallett, a third-round selection (No. 74 overall) in 2011, according to the Boston Herald. The Browns don’t have a second-round pick this year, so they would need to acquire one in a separate trade or offer a future one to pull off such a deal. Regardless, the Browns are not interested, the source said.

The NFL Draft begins at 8 p.m. today.

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2013 NFL Draft: Browns analysis, preview stories, prospect videos to prepare you for tonight

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 25, 2013

The NFL Draft is finally here. If you’re looking for a primer before the action begins at 8 tonight on ESPN and NFL Network, follow the links below for some of our pre-draft Browns coverage.

Recent rumblings

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Report: Raiders looking to trade down from No. 3 overall in draft, Browns possible partner

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 24, 2013

The Oakland Raiders might be trying to trade down from the third overall pick in the NFL Draft with the Browns as a possible trade partner, Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports reported tonight.

If the Browns make the move, Silver speculated they would be targetting Brigham Young defensive end/outside linebacker Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah.

The Browns have the sixth overall pick in the draft, which runs Thursday through Saturday. They have a total of seven selections but lack a second-round selection.

Browns CEO Joe Banner made it clear last week during a pre-draft news conference the organization is open to trading down. Trading up, though, would be a suprise.

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Report: Browns considering trade for Dolphins WR Davone Bess

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 24, 2013

The Browns are seriously considering a trade for Miami Dolphins wide receiver Davone Bess, the Chicago Sun-Times reported tonight.

Several teams are in the mix for Bess, and the compensation would be mid-round draft picks, according to the report.

The Miami Herald reported the Dolphins want a fourth- or fifth-round pick. The Dolphins also called the Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets, the Miami Herald reported.

"Sources tell me 99.9% receiver Davone Bess from Miami to Cleveland Browns for mid round picks," Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net reported.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell meets with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam about federal investigation

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 24, 2013

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters he met with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam on Tuesday about the federal investigation into the Tennessee billionaire’s family business, Pilot Flying J.

As part of the league's pre-draft festivities, Goodell addressed the media today during an NFL Play 60 youth football clinic in New York. Goodell was asked if he's concerned about the investigation involving Haslam.

"Well, of course, when you have that type of thing, but I’ve spoken with Jimmy several times and met with him," Goodell said. "Jimmy is doing everything he’s asked. He’s cooperating. He wants to make sure that he is doing all of the right things in that regard and he has assured us that he is going to."

 

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Browns linebacker Quentin Groves arrested, charged with solicitation

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 24, 2013

Browns outside linebacker Quentin Groves was arrested April 17 and charged with solicitation, according to a police report obtained by the Beacon Journal.

The Orange Village and Beachwood police departments along with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office conducted a prostitution sting operation in which 14 other men were arrested during a three-day span, according to Scene Magazine, which first reported Groves’ arrest. During the operation a female officer acting as an escort received several sex-for-hire phone calls, according to the police report.

Groves called, requested “full service” and said he would bring condoms, according to the police report. He agreed to one hour of time for $100 and was told an additional service would cost $20.

Groves, 28, arrived at room 231 of the Homestead Guest Studios in Orange Village at approximately 10:28 p.m., knocked on the door and was then taken into custody without incident, according to the police report. He was given a court date of May 10 in Bedford Municipal Court and released. Police seized $195.70 and a box of condoms as evidence.

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Scout Bob Welton leaves Browns to become University of Tennessee's director of player personnel

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 23, 2013

The University of Tennessee has hired former Browns college area scout Bob Welton as its football program's director of player personnel, Volunteers coach Butch Jones announced today.

Welton, who was born in Toledo, spent the past nine seasons as a scout for the Browns.

"We are extremely excited to welcome Bob and his family into our Tennessee football family," Jones said in a statement. "Bob brings a wealth of experience to our program and will be a great resource for our current players. He will play a vital role in aiding and overseeing our recruiting efforts to attract the highest caliber student-athletes to Tennessee. The experience he gained in his nine years in the National Football League and his time as a head high school football coach will serve our football program well."

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Browns owner Jimmy Haslam: Members of Pilot Flying J sales team put on administrative leave

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 22, 2013

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam met with reporters today at the headquarters of Pilot Flying J in Knoxville, Tenn., to issue a statement about the how truck-stop empire is responding to an ongoing federal investigation into an alleged fraud scheme.

Haslam did not mention the Browns or take questions from the media. Instead, he outlined five steps Pilot Flying J is taking to address the issues raised by the investigation. One of the steps, Haslam said, was putting several members of the company's diesel-fuel sales team on administrative leave.

Here is a text version of the prepared statement:

Thanks again for coming out today.

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Former Browns LB Scott Fujita signs one-day deal to retire as member of Saints

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 22, 2013

Scott Fujita signed a one-day contract with the New Orleans Saints so he could retire as a member of the organization, the team announced today.

Fujita, who will turn 34 Sunday, spent the past three seasons playing linebacker for the Browns after signing with Cleveland as an unrestricted free agent in 2010. He suffered a neck injury last year that forced him to sit out the majority of the season and foreshadowed his retirement.

Fujita signed his one-day deal with the Saints while overlooking Machu Picchu, Peru, in the Andes Mountains alongside former teammate Steve Gleason, who suffers from ALS and is raising awareness about the disease with Fujita’s help.

“I’ve been fortunate to play in this league for a long time and for some great organizations, but there is no doubt that my times spent in New Orleans were some of the best years of my life,” Fujita said in a statement released by the Saints. “The way the team and the community embraced us when we first arrived, and the way they continue to do so, even today, shows how deep this connection is. I’m honored to be a part of this organization and so proud to retire as a New Orleans Saint.”

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Browns owner Jimmy Haslam to meet with reporters in Knoxville about Pilot Flying J

By Ron Ledgard Published: April 22, 2013

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is scheduled to make a public statement this afternoon, the third time he has met with reporters since federal agents raided his Pilot Flying J CEO company last week. According to a media advisory, Haslam will make a statement at 3 p.m. at Pilot headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., but will not take questions.

"Due to the ongoing investigation, Haslam will not take questions, but his statement about the actions the company plans to take is significant and should help to answer the media’s questions," a media advisory said.

Federal agents raided Pilot facilities on April 15 in Knoxville. In an affidavit unsealed last Thursday, the government released documents in which recorded conversations and information from unnamed informants were used to allege that certain Pilot employees have conspired and schemed to engage in rebate fraud for many years.

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2013 NFL Draft: Alabama CB Dee Milliner may not be ready for camp after surgery, according to report

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 22, 2013

University of Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, a candidate to be drafted by the Browns sixth overall on Thursday, might not be ready for training camp because of offseason shoulder surgery, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

In February at the NFL Scouting Combine, Milliner said he suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder Nov. 10 against Texas A&M and would have it surgically repaired March 12. Milliner said it would take him “probably two months” to rehabilitate.

However, Milliner told the Inquirer the pre-draft process might have interfered with his recovery time. Milliner has visited several teams, including the Browns.

“We haven't been able to do the rehab like I want to because I've been going to different teams,” Milliner said. “But once the draft is over, I'll be able to start to rehab it and try to get back on track.”

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Browns attend Florida State DE Tank Carradine’s pro day in Cincinnati

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 20, 2013

The Browns were one of 11 teams in attendance today for Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine’s pro day in Cincinnati, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal.

The Cincinnati Enquirer first reported the news.

The Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers were the other teams, according to the Enquirer.

Carradine, a Cincinnati native, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Florida in November and had surgery in December. Still, just 135 days after the surgery, Carradine ran the 40-yard dash between 4.75 and 4.85 seconds at his pro day, the Baltimore Sun reported.

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NFL has no plans to ask Jimmy Haslam to remove himself as Browns owner during federal investigation

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 19, 2013

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam addressed the media this afternoon at the headquarters of Pilot Flying J in Knoxville, Tenn., and maintained his innocence despite his family’s truck-stop empire being at the center of a federal investigation.

“Somebody asked me today if I was going to step down as [CEO of Pilot Flying J],” Haslam said. “I thought to myself, ‘Why would I do that?’ Candidly, I haven’t done anything wrong, No. 1. And No. 2, if there’s ever a time the company needs our leadership, it’s right now. So our plans are to remain CEO for a long time, candidly.”

Haslam made no mention of the Browns during his statement and did not take questions from reporters. However, as Haslam walked out of the boardroom, one reporter shouted, “Are you going to take the Browns to the Super Bowl?” Haslam turned, smiled and said, “Eventually, yes.”

The NFL has no plans to ask Haslam to remove himself from operational control of the franchise during the investigation, league spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed this morning for the Beacon Journal.

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2013 NFL Draft: Transcript from pre-draft news conference with Browns CEO Banner, GM Lombardi

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 18, 2013

Browns CEO Joe Banner and General Manager Mike Lombardi held a pre-draft news conference today. For the highlights, click here. For the entire transcript, read below.

Joe Banner       

(On if he can give an update on what has happened recently with Jimmy Haslam) - “I think that Jimmy made a statement the other day. There is not much I can add to it. He is here today. He will be here tomorrow, which was the plan all along. Browns operations are the same as they have always been, will be the same. As he expressed, he is very confident that this will take some time but it will all work out and that they’ve done nothing wrong. Really, beyond reiterating what he said, there is nothing we can add.”

Michael Lombardi         

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2013 NFL schedule release: Browns to open season at home vs. Dolphins

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 18, 2013

The NFL unveiled the regular-season schedules for all 32 teams tonight. Here is the Browns' schedule for the 2013 season:

Regular season

Sun., Sept. 8: MIAMI DOLPHINS FIRSTENERGY STADIUM CBS 1 p.m.

Sun., Sept. 15: at Baltimore Ravens M & T Bank Stadium CBS 1 p.m.

Sun., Sept. 22: at Minnesota Vikings Mall of America Field CBS 1 p.m.

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2013 NFL Draft: Browns CEO Banner, GM Lombardi discuss potential trade, QBs, CBs and pass rushers

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 18, 2013

Browns CEO Joe Banner and General Manager Mike Lombardi addressed the media today during a pre-draft news conference.

The Browns own the sixth overall pick, and they have 18-20 prospects with first-round grades, Banner said. The draft begins at 8 p.m. April 25.

“There’s a lot of pressure, mostly self-imposed, frankly, for us to be successful,” Banner said.

Below are some highlights, broken down by topic.

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Browns minicamp: Transcript from news conference with coach Rob Chudzinski

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 18, 2013

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski spoke to reporters today as the team wrapped up its three-day voluntary minicamp. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “I’m really pleased with what we have been able to accomplish these last three days. Putting the foundation in place and really working to get the guys to understand where we want to go in terms of a practice standpoint, getting some of our base offense, defense and special teams put in. We’re working to build that foundation and build a winning team.”

(On if they will use this camp to judge some of the players before the draft)- “Really, this was more for learning purposes – a teaching, learning camp more so than an evaluation camp. There are a lot of things that are new. Guys are kind of feeling their way through. You don’t really get the true evaluation of players and with it only being three days it’s pretty preliminary. From a draft standpoint, our boards are set and we are working through our boards. This camp really has little effect on that.”

(On if it’s tough having to evaluate without seeing the players in person too much)- “A little bit, you have a little bit of a feel for that. Obviously, you don’t have every opportunity to know the guys like you would like to know them. Hopefully, we know them well enough.”

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2013 NFL Mock Draft: If it comes down to cornerback or pass rusher, which way will Browns go?

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 18, 2013

As Super Bowl-winning coach and ESPN analyst Jon Gruden conducted a conference call Monday, I asked him which position he considers more valuable – cornerback or pass rusher.

“Al Davis used to ask me that question,” Gruden said. “Do we value a pass rusher or a corner? And I would say, ‘Well, who’s better?’ If it’s Deion Sanders, I’d probably say corner. That’s a tough question.”

It’s a question the Browns will likely need to answer April 25 during the first round of the NFL Draft, provided they don’t play a wild card and select a quarterback. And it’s a question Ryan Lewis and I continue to explore in our mock drafts.

In our third mock, I had the Browns trading the sixth overall pick to the Miami Dolphins, moving down to No. 12 and picking Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Ryan, meanwhile, continued to pair the Browns with Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner at No. 6.

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Video: Browns LB D'Qwell Jackson, WR Greg Little speak following voluntary minicamp

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 17, 2013

Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson talked about new defensive coordinator Ray Horton and the team's new 3-4 multi-front scheme following the second practice of voluntary minicamp. 

Receiver Greg Little also spoke about Brandon Weeden and his role in the Browns' new offense. 

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Browns minicamp: Transcript from news conference with coach Rob Chudzinski

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 17, 2013

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski addressed the media today after the second practice of this week's three-day voluntary minicamp. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “I’m pleased, we’ve had two great days. We’ve got a lot of work done these last two days. Guys are really, really showing up. They are hungry, ready to go and there’s a lot of energy and excitement out there. We’ve thrown a lot at them, this is the second day. We’ve mixed in and worked some different situations, introduced some third down. That has been good from that standpoint. We will continue to work on our install, but the guys have had a lot of energy and it’s been good. Hopefully tomorrow we will get a chance to get out on the practice field and get outside instead of being inside.”

(On if Jordan Cameron is ready to be the top tight end)- “Well he’s not ready right now, we are working through that with him. He is learning the offense obviously. This is an offense that has featured tight ends and tight ends have always been a big part of it. He has the skill set that fits and he has had a good couple days. It’s a learning process right now and he has to keep progressing, but we feel good about him and where he is at right now.”

(On how he envisions using Trent Richardson)- “Trent will be our primary runner. We will use him on first-second down and Trent has some unique skills. He can actually catch the ball well and run routes well out of the backfield. That’s one thing out of the last few days that we have been able to see. He is a guy that we could play on three downs. Obviously, we just have to keep him fresh. ”

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Browns minicamp: A sneak peek at Ray Horton’s 3-4 base defense

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 17, 2013

It’s only April, so the starting lineup for the 2013 season isn’t even close to being set.

However, it’s still interesting to examine which personnel the Browns are using as they convert from a 4-3 system to new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s 3-4 multi-front scheme.

One thing is for sure: Horton is hell-bent on pressuring the quarterback.

Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson has played in 3-4 schemes before, but he said he has never been in an attacking-style defense like the one Horton is installing.

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Browns minicamp: Transcript from news conference with coach Rob Chudzinski

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 16, 2013

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski met with reporters today after the team's first minicamp practice of his tenure. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(On what chance Jason Campbell has to compete with Brandon Weeden for the starting role)- “Right now we are going through and Brandon got the reps with the ones today. We are taking a look at it. It’s early in the process, just seeing what guys are taking from the meeting room out to the field. We will work through that process. Campbell will get some reps with the ones as well along the way. But this is a long, long process that we are going to have and there is a long time between now and our opener. We’ve got plenty of time and this is just the first step.”

(On when he would like to have that figured out)- “We’ll see how they do and how that works. I am not going to put a date or a time that it is has to be done by.”

(On his impressions of the first day)- “It’s great to be out there. Finally, we get a chance to get out with these guys and get on the field. You watch tape and you are in the office hanging around the coaches and we get sick of each other of a while (joking) so seeing these guys out for the first day – I was impressed with the team. I thought the energy, the effort and the focus were all outstanding. This is a hungry group and that’s something to work with for sure.”

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Browns minicamp: QB Brandon Weeden takes reps with starters, says 'it’s my job to take control'

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 16, 2013

Quarterback Brandon Weeden took the reps with the first-team offense today as the Browns opened their voluntary minicamp, coach Rob Chudzinski said this evening after practice.

Weeden is now looking to take charge.

“Now that it’s my second year, it’s my job to take control, be the guy, be the leader, be the leader on offense, be the leader in the locker room,” Weeden said. “I lead by example, but there’s a comfort level there now that maybe wasn’t there last year just because I was still learning.”

Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in last year’s draft, is penciled in as the starting quarterback, but veteran Jason Campbell was signed this offseason to push him.

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Video: Browns RB Trent Richardson discusses new coaching staff, his health and more

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 16, 2013

Browns running back Trent Richardson addressed the media today after the team's first practice of voluntary minicamp. Below is a video.

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Browns minicamp: LG Jason Pinkston, WR David Nelson sit out practice

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 16, 2013

Left guard Jason Pinkston and wide receiver David Nelson sat out practice today as the Browns opened their first minicamp under coach Rob Chudzinski.

Pinkston’s 2012 season was cut short after doctors discovered a blood clot in his lung. He tweeted Monday that he had been medically cleared. However, he was still not expected to participate in minicamp this week.

Nelson, who signed with the Browns on April 8, is continuing to rehabilitate from a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered last season as a member of the Buffalo Bills.

With Pinkston and Nelson sidelined, the Browns had 65 of the 67 players on their roster practicing.

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Jimmy Haslam says Pilot Flying J being investigated by FBI, IRS over rebates to trucking companies

By staff and wire reports Published: April 16, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn.: A truck stop company owned by the family of Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says it is under criminal investigation after an FBI raid.

Jimmy Haslam, the CEO of Pilot Flying J, said Tuesday during a news conference in Knoxville that the investigation appears to involve what he called a small number of trucking customers who were owed rebates that weren’t paid. Jimmy Haslam says the company disputes that.

Jimmy Haslam also said “it’s business as usual” for the Browns as they opened their voluntary minicamp Tuesday and continued to prepare for the NFL Draft, which runs April 25-27.

“I apologize because the last thing we ever want to do is put any kind of blemish on the city of Cleveland, which we’ve grown to love, or the Browns,” Jimmy Haslam said. “So I personally feel bad about that, even though I don’t think we’ve done anything wrong.”

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Browns notes: Alabama CB Dee Milliner reportedly No. 1 draft priority, then LSU OLB Barkevious Mingo

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 16, 2013

The Browns have the sixth overall pick in the draft and a glaring hole in the starting lineup at cornerback, so selecting Alabama’s Dee Milliner, the top-rated player at the position, would make perfect sense if he’s available.

It also would be logical for the Browns to target a pass rusher at No. 6 if Milliner isn’t available.

Well, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net reported that’s the strategy the Browns have adopted.

“Sources close to situation tell me Dee Milliner/CB/Alabama is #1 priority for Cleveland Browns with Barkevious Mingo/LB/LSU the contingency,” Pauline wrote today on Twitter.

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Browns sign veteran kicker Shayne Graham

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 15, 2013

Kicker Shayne Graham became the front-runner to fill Phil Dawson's shoes Monday when the Browns signed him as an unrestricted free agent.

Graham received a one-year deal worth $940,000, the minimum salary for a player with at least 10 seasons of NFL experience.

Graham, 35, ranks fifth in NFL history with a field-goal percentage of 85.4 (245-of-297). A veteran of 12 seasons, Graham has played for eight teams.

Last season, Graham appeared in 16 regular-season games with the Houston Texans, made 31-of-38 field goals (81.5 percent) and set a career-high with 28 touchbacks on kickoffs. He also made all six of his field-goal attempts in the playoffs.

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FBI locks down headquarters of Browns owner Jimmy Haslam's company, Pilot Flying J

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 15, 2013

The FBI and Internal Revenue Service locked down Pilot Flying J headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., this afternoon while executing a search warrant, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

“All I can say is that the FBI asked us to have some officers assist them with a search warrant,” Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch told the News Sentinel. Media were barred from Pilot Flying J’s campus, and employees were being escorted off the grounds, according to the report.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is the CEO of Pilot Flying J. He and his family own the truck-stop empire.

“The FBI secured our headquarters today and informed us they are investigating Pilot Flying J,” Haslam said in an e-mail to the News Sentinel. “We will cooperate appropriately with any and all external investigations and conduct our own. I believe and trust there has been no wrongdoing. The integrity of our company always has been job number one.”

Moxley Carmichael, a public relations firm, released the following statement from Pilot Flying J this afternoon:

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2013 NFL Draft: Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden thinks Browns should stick with Brandon Weeden

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 15, 2013

As the Browns head into their first minicamp with the new regime, quarterback Brandon Weeden has a Super Bowl-winning coach in his corner.

Jon Gruden, who won the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003 and now serves as ESPN’s Monday Night Football analyst, praised Weeden this afternoon during a conference call. The Browns have the sixth overall pick in the draft, which runs April 25-27, and have thoroughly studied this year’s class of quarterbacks.

They have conducted private workouts with West Virginia's Geno Smith and Syracuse's Ryan Nassib. They're hosting Florida State's EJ Manuel today for a pre-draft visit and have also met with Southern California's Matt Barkley and Arizona's Matt Scott at their headquarters in Berea.

Gruden, though, believes the organization should stick with Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in last year’s draft, and give him a chance to improve from his rookie season. The Browns’ first minicamp under coach Rob Chudzinski starts Tuesday and ends Thursday.

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Browns awarded LB Ryan Rau off waivers from Eagles

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 12, 2013

The Browns were awarded linebacker Ryan Rau off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles, the team announced today.

Last year, Rau spent 13 weeks on the Eagles’ practice squad and appeared in four regular-season games. Rau, 22, compiled three special-teams tackles.

The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Rau was a four-year letterman at Portland State from 2008-11. He signed with the Eagles last year as an undrafted free agent.

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2013 NFL Draft: Prospects from Cleveland area work out for Browns today

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 12, 2013

Fourteen prospects from the Cleveland area worked out Friday at the Browns’ training facility in front of members of the coaching staff and front office, according to the team’s website.

University of Cincinnati tight end Travis Kelce, a Cleveland Heights High School graduate, headlined the list. NFLDraftScout.com projects Kelce, the younger brother of Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, as a third-round pick.

NFLDraftScout.com projects two others on the list to be drafted – Hawaii cornerback and Glenville High School graduate Mike Edwards (sixth or seventh round) and Toledo linebacker and Parma Padua product Daniel Molls (seventh round).

Here is the rest of the list: tight end Cordale Scott (Glenville/Toledo); defensive backs Jamel Johnson (Glenville/Louisiana Tech) and Ashante Williams (Mayfield/Illinois); defensive end Justin Staples (Lakewood St. Edward/Illinois); defensive tackle Steve Bigach (Cleveland St. Ignatius/Iowa); inside linebacker Steve Greer (Solon/Virginia); center Matthew Mihalik (Gilmour Academy/Virginia); kickers Matt Weller (Twinsburg/Ohio) and Kevin Harper (Mentor/Pittsburgh); running back Jamaine Cooke (Midpark/Youngstown State); and wide receiver Perez Ashford (Shaker Heights/Northern Illinois).

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2013 NFL Draft: S Johnathan Cyprien visiting Browns today, QB EJ Manuel set to meet with team Monday

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 12, 2013

Florida International University safety Johnathan Cyprien has a pre-draft visit with the Browns today, a league source told the Beacon Journal.

Cyprien used Twitter last night to hint he would visit the team.

“Bye bye Tennessee, Hello Cleveland!” he wrote.

The Browns need a free safety to start opposite strong safety T.J. Ward. Some draft analysts project Cyprien as a strong safety in the NFL, the same position he played in college, but NFL Network's Mike Mayock is an exception. During a conference call in February, Mayock said he believes Cyprien would be better suited as a free safety at the next level.

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Browns owner Jimmy Haslam completes sale of his stake in Steelers

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 11, 2013

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has completed the sale of his stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers announced the formality today in a news release.

Haslam struck a deal in August to buy the Browns from Randy Lerner for about $1 billion. NFL owners unanimously approved Haslam’s purchase on Oct. 16.

In 2008, Haslam bought a minority stake in the Steelers, a reported 12.5 percent share. As a result of buying the Browns, Haslam had to divest his piece of the Steelers.

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2013 NFL Mock Draft: Whom would Browns pick in trade-down scenario?

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 11, 2013

In our second mock draft, I had the Browns picking Oregon outside linebacker/defensive end Dion Jordan sixth overall because Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner was off the board. On the other hand, Ryan Lewis remained convinced Milliner would be available at No. 6 and paired him with the Browns.

This time, I chose to explore the possibility of the Browns trading down while Ryan couldn’t find a reason to budge. The draft begins April 25, and we’ll do two more mocks between now and then.

In the meantime, here is our third version:

Nate Ulrich

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Browns trade LB Emmanuel Acho to Eagles in exchange for RB Dion Lewis

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 11, 2013

The Browns have traded linebacker Emmanuel Acho to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for running back Dion Lewis, league sources confirmed for the Beacon Journal this morning.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the move. The Eagles later announced the deal, and a Browns spokesman confirmed it.

It's the second trade the Browns' new regime has made this month -- quarterback Colt McCoy was shipped to the San Francisco 49ers last week in exchange for late-round draft picks. This time, Browns CEO Joe Banner found a partner in his former team. He spent 19 years with the Eagles, the last 12 as their president.

The Eagles picked Lewis, 22, in the fifth round (No. 149 overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft. He has played 24 games with no starts, compiling 36 carries for 171 yards (4.8 average) and two touchdowns to go along with three catches for 21 yards.

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2013 NFL Draft: DT Sheldon Richardson, OLB Barkevious Mingo, QB Matt Scott visiting Browns today

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 10, 2013

Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, Louisiana State outside linebacker/defensive end Barkevious Mingo and Arizona quarterback Matt Scott have pre-draft visits with the Browns today, league sources confirmed for the Beacon Journal.

Each NFL team is permitted to host a maximum of 30 national prospects for visits until one week before the draft, which runs April 25-27. The Browns plan to meet their allotment.

Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner and Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley had visits with the Browns on Tuesday, sources said.

Mingo’s visit with the Browns is scheduled to continue Thursday, and Scott is set to leave Northeast Ohio Thursday morning for a visit with the Denver Broncos, sources said. Oklahoma wide receiver Kenny Stills is flying to Cleveland today and will visit the Browns on Thursday, a source said.

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Former Browns safety, Kent State product Usama Young signs with Raiders

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 9, 2013

The Oakland Raiders signed former Browns safety and Kent State product Usama Young, the team announced today.

Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.

Young, 27, spent the past two seasons with the Browns before being cut April 2 along with linebacker Chris Gocong. The Browns signed Young as an unrestricted free agent from the New Orleans Saints in 2011, but he never secured the starting free safety job on a full-time basis like the organization had hoped.

In his two seasons with the Browns, Young started 19 of the 29 games in which he appeared and compiled 118 tackles, four interceptions, 1½ sacks, eight passes defensed and a fumble recovery. Last year in Week 16, Young suffered a thumb injury that ended his season and required surgery. He was due to make a base salary of $2.15 million with the Browns next season.

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Browns strike one-year deal with former Bills slot receiver David Nelson

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 8, 2013

The Browns signed former Buffalo Bills slot receiver David Nelson to a one-year contract today, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported a deal had been struck. Nelson visited the Browns this past Thursday at their headquarters in Berea.

“Hey Cleveland …” Nelson wrote on Twitter this evening.

Nelson, 26, spent the past three seasons with the Buffalo Bills and became an unrestricted free agent last month after the team chose not to offer him a $1.323 million qualifying offer that would have made him a restricted free agent. The 6-foot-5, 214-pound Nelson suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament Sept. 9 in the season opener last year and had knee surgery shortly after.

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Kickers Matt Weller, Kevin Harper among prospects with local ties to work out for Browns

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 8, 2013

Kickers Matt Weller and Kevin Harper will work out for the Browns on Friday along with other prospects who either grew up in or played college football in the Cleveland area, their agent, John Perla, told the Beacon Journal this afternoon.

Weller is a product of Ohio University and Twinsburg High School. Harper graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and Mentor High School. Both players are eligible for this year's draft, which runs April 25-27.

In 2011, Weller was named the Mid-American Conference Special Teams Player of the Year. He received second-team All-MAC honors as a senior and a junior and first-team honors as a freshman. Last season, he made 23-of-31 field goals and 49-of-49 extra-point kicks.

Last season, Harper made 20-of-27 field goals and 40-of-40 extra-point kicks. He also earned an invitation to the NFL Super Regional Combine, which will conclude today at Cowboys Stadium.

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Ezekiel Ansah, Sharrif Floyd, Kyle Long visiting Browns today; Matt Barkley, others on way

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 8, 2013

Brigham Young defensive end/outside linebacker Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, Oregon offensive lineman Kyle Long and San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar will have pre-draft visits today with the Browns, league sources told the Beacon Journal.

Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley is also traveling today to visit the Browns and Buffalo Bills, he announced via Twitter. Barkley will visit the Browns on Tuesday, a source confirmed.

Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner is scheduled to visit the Browns on Tuesday, and Arizona quarterback Matt Scott is set to do the same Wednesday, sources said. Louisiana State outside linebacker/defensive end Barkevious Mingo will visit the Browns on Wednesday and Thursday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported today.

The Browns have the sixth overall pick in the draft, which runs April 25-27. They’re allowed to host 30 national prospects until one week before the draft, and most of the high-profile players will surface at the team’s headquarters in Berea by then.

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Browns notes: WR Mohamed Massaquoi agrees to join Jaguars

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 5, 2013

Former Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi has agreed to a two-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to reports.

The Florida-Times Union first reported the move this afternoon. The deal is worth a maximum of $4.7 million, including incentives, NFL Network reported.

Massaquoi, 26, spent the past four seasons with the Browns after they drafted him in the second round (No. 50 overall) in 2009. He compiled 118 catches for 1,745 yards and seven touchdowns during his time in Cleveland.

Massaquoi struggled to stay healthy the past two seasons and was not courted by the Browns’ new regime led by CEO Joe Banner and General Manager Mike Lombardi. Massaquoi missed seven games because of hamstring and knee injuries last season and finished the year with 17 catches for 254 yards and no touchdowns.

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Browns' 2013 preseason schedule unveiled

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 4, 2013

The NFL announced the preseason schedules for all 32 teams this afternoon. Exact dates and times for all of the exhibition games will be released in the near future.

Here is the Browns’ 2013 preseason schedule:

*vs. the St. Louis Rams, Aug. 8-11

*vs. the Detroit Lions, Aug. 15-19

*at the Indianapolis Colts, Aug. 22-25

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2013 NFL Mock Draft: What will Browns do if Alabama CB Dee Milliner isn't available at No. 6?

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 4, 2013

In our first mock draft, Ryan Lewis and I both predicted the Browns would take University of Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner sixth overall.

Yes, it’s boring when we both come up with the same pick for the Browns, but Milliner seems to be the most logical choice by far, considering the team’s failure to secure a bona fide starting cornerback in free agency.

But what if Milliner is not available when the Browns are put on the clock early in the first round April 25?

In our second mock, I explore such a scenario while Ryan remains steadfast.

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BYU DE Ezekiel Ansah, San Diego State TE Gavin Escobar to visit Browns, according to report

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 3, 2013

The Browns will host Brigham Young defensive end/outside linebacker Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah and San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar during pre-draft visits, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net reported today.

Ansah is visiting the Philadelphia Eagles today and has subsequent visits lined up with the Browns and Arizona Cardinals, according to the report. Most draft analysts project the 6-foot-5, 271-pound Ansah as an early first-round pick.

“Ziggy Ansah is going to be a top-five guy,” ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. said today during a conference call. “At the worst, top 10.”

Ansah, a Ghana native, has played football for only three years, but his natural ability allowed him to stand out at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine. Last season, he had 62 tackles, including 13 for loss and 4 ½ sacks.

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2013 NFL Draft: Mel Kiper Jr. thinks Browns will have 'great opportunities' to trade down from No. 6

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 3, 2013

No one should be surprised if the Browns trade down from the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft.

It doesn’t mean they will, but ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. certainly wouldn’t be caught off guard if they do. After all, he believes the Browns will have chances to pull off such a deal.

Kiper doesn’t expect Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner to be available when the Browns are put on the clock at No. 6 on April 25 because he believes the Detroit Lions will grab Milliner at No. 5. If that’s the case, Kiper thinks the Browns will either select a pass-rushing outside linebacker like Oregon’s Dion Jordan or swap picks with a team hungry for an offensive tackle like the San Diego Chargers, who are slotted at No. 11.

“They’re going to have, I think, great opportunities to move down because that pick is going to represent either Eric Fisher, possibly, the left tackle from Central Michigan, or Lane Johnson, the left tackle from Oklahoma,” Kiper said today during a conference call. “So that’s going to be a valuable pick that somebody’s going to want. So, yeah, I think they could move down.

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Former Browns QB Colt McCoy says he has 'no hard feelings' after being traded to 49ers

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 2, 2013

Former Browns quarterback Colt McCoy participated in a conference call today with the media, including reporters who cover the his new team, the San Francisco 49ers.

On Monday, the Browns traded McCoy and a sixth-round draft pick (No. 173 overall) to the 49ers in exchange for one selection in the fifth round (No. 164) and another in the seventh round (No. 227). McCoy became expendable last week when the Browns signed Jason Campbell to push Brandon Weeden, who’s in line to retain his job as the team’s starting quarterback.

Here are excerpts from the conference call with McCoy:

Did the Browns keep in you the loop when they were looking for trades and did you know the 49ers were interested?: “Not exactly. I actually showed up in Cleveland yesterday to start the offseason. I didn’t really know what was going to happen. I think there was a lot of speculation. But at the end of the day yesterday, I was a 49er, and I couldn’t have been more happy.”

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Browns cut linebacker Chris Gocong, safety Usama Young; team also signs kicker Brandon Bogotay

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 2, 2013

The Browns continued their busy offseason today by cutting linebacker Chris Gocong and safety Usama Young and signing kicker Brandon Bogotay, the team announced.

Gocong and Young, both of whom were acquired by the organization’s previous regime, are trying to rebound from injuries. Bogotay is the first kicker the Browns have acquired since Pro Bowler Phil Dawson signed with the San Francisco 49ers two weeks ago.

Gocong, 29, suffered a torn Achilles tendon during training camp this past summer and missed the entire 2012 season. Gocong started all 32 games for the Browns at outside linebacker in 2010 and 2011.

The Browns awarded Gocong with a three-year, $16.8 million contract in September 2011. He was set to make a base salary of $4.45 million during the 2013 season.

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2013 NFL Draft: Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib to conduct private workout with Browns

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 2, 2013

Syracuse University quarterback Ryan Nassib is scheduled to conduct a private workout for the Browns on Thursday, a league source confirmed today for the Beacon Journal.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the workout this afternoon.

NFLDraftScout.com projects Nassib as a second-round pick in the draft, which runs April 25-27. The Browns don’t have a second-round selection but could acquire one in a trade-down scenario.

The 6-foot-2, 227-pound Nassib started every game for Syracuse during the past three seasons. Last season as a senior, he completed 294-of-471 passes for 3,749 yards and 26 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.

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Reports: Former Bills WR David Nelson, West Virginia WR Tavon Austin to visit Browns

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 2, 2013

The Browns remain in the hunt for a wide receiver.

Former Buffalo Bills wide receiver David Nelson is scheduled to visit the Browns on Thursday, Tim Graham of the Buffalo News reported today, and West Virginia University wide receiver Tavon Austin is set to visit Cleveland next week, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported this afternoon.

Nelson, 26, was eligible to become a restricted free agent this offseason. But the Bills decided not to offer him a tender, and he became an unrestricted free agent as a result.

The 6-foot-5, 214-pound Nelson suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament Sept. 9 in the season opener last year and had knee surgery shortly after. Before missing nearly all of this past season, Nelson established himself as a solid contributor for the Bills.

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Sixty-one players, including Colt McCoy, attend first day of Browns' offseason workout program

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 1, 2013

Sixty-one of 63 players who were on the Browns’ roster this morning reported to the team’s headquarters in Berea for the first day of the organization’s offseason conditioning program, a league source told the Beacon Journal.

Quarterback Colt McCoy, who was traded to the San Francisco 49ers today, was at the Browns’ training facility for the workouts, the source said. Two players did not attend the first day of the voluntary program because of personal reasons, the source said.

“It was great to see the guys as a group for the first time,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said in a statement. “I was extremely pleased with the turnout -- we had more than 60 players participate. I believe that the program [strength and conditioning coach] Brad [Roll] and our strength staff has devised will greatly benefit our players. These next two weeks will be an opportunity for the players to get acclimated to our offseason program, spend some time getting to know each other and also to have some meeting time with their position coaches before having our first organized on-field work on April 16.”

The Browns will have their first minicamp under Chudzinski April 16-18.

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Browns trade QB Colt McCoy, 6th-round draft selection to 49ers in exchange for two picks

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 1, 2013

The Browns have traded quarterback Colt McCoy and a sixth-round draft pick (No. 173 overall) to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for one selection in the fifth round (No. 164) and another in the seventh round (No. 227), league sources told the Beacon Journal today.

McCoy attended the first day of the Browns' offseason conditioning program today, a source said. News of the trade broke this evening when Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports first reported McCoy was heading to the 49ers. The Browns later announced the deal but did not disclose the exact draft picks involved.

McCoy became expendable last week when the Browns signed veteran quarterback Jason Campbell to a two-year contract. The Browns acquired Campbell, 31, to push incumbent starting quarterback Brandon Weeden, 29, who enters the offseason No. 1 on the depth chart.

McCoy, 26, started eight games as a rookie after being drafted in the third round (No. 85 overall) in 2010. In 2011, he started all 13 games before suffering a season-ending concussion as a result of a helmet-to-face mask blast from former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison.

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2013 NFL Draft: Rutgers cornerback Logan Ryan works out for Browns

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 1, 2013

Rutgers cornerback Logan Ryan had a private workout with the Browns last week, a league source told the Beacon Journal today.

The 5-foot-11, 191-pound Ryan started all 26 games the past two seasons for the Scarlet Knights. NFLDraftScout.com projects him as a second- or third-round pick.

Last season as a junior, Ryan compiled 94 tackles, 17 pass breakups, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries. As a sophomore, he had 67 tackles, 13 pass breakups, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

The Browns need a cornerback capable of starting opposite Joe Haden and have not landed one in free agency. They signed Chris Owens and Kevin Barnes this offseason, but both of them have served primarily as backups throughout their careers.

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2013 NFL Draft: Kentucky guard Larry Warford works out for Browns

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 1, 2013

University of Kentucky guard Larry Warford conducted a private workout with the Browns last week, a league source told the Beacon Journal today.

The 6-foot-3, 332-pound Warford started all 37 games at right guard during the past three seasons. NFLDraftScout.com projects him as a second- or third-round pick.

Last year, Warford was named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press. He become the first Kentucky offensive lineman to receive the AP honor since Warren Bryant in 1976.

This past season, Warford did not allow a sack, graded out at 90.3 percent on blocking assignments and tallied 48 knockdown blocks, according to Kentucky. He also received second-team All-SEC honors in each of the past three seasons.

The Browns are in the market for a guard partly because they are uncertain of Jason Pinkston’s status for next season. Pinkston, the team’s starting left guard, had his 2012 cut short after a blood clot was discovered in his lung. Pinkston tweeted last week that a blood clot in his right leg is gone, and he expects more updates after he meets with a specialist Thursday.

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