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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

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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.

For what it’s worth, Super Bowl-winning coach and ESPN analyst Jon Gruden mentioned the possibility of the Browns drafting Milliner or Mingo during a conference call Monday.

“I think Cleveland fortunately is going to be sitting in a position to get an outstanding outside linebacker,” Gruden said. “I love Barkevious Mingo at LSU. He’s one, one of my favorite players in this draft. I think he could convert to the outside linebacker position and be an every-down force rushing the passer. I’ve seen him drop in coverage. He has an electrifying inside move. I really think he’s got a huge upside.

“And to have Dee Milliner on the other side of [Joe] Haden would be outstanding as well. So Cleveland’s going to get a good player. I’m not saying they’re going with the outside ’backer or with the corner, but they’re going to get a really good player should they go that route.”

The Browns hosted Milliner and Mingo during pre-draft visits last week. They also conducted a private workout with Mingo, NFL Network reported.

With the draft set to begin April 25, there are plenty of smokescreens being set and misdirection is the name of the game. Still, it shouldn’t be surprising if Milliner or Mingo land in Cleveland.

Of course, the possibility of the Browns trading down from No. 6 certainly can’t be ruled out, either. And such a move would bring several other scenarios to the forefront.

Minicamp starts

The Browns begin their voluntary minicamp today. Practice is open to the media from 3-3:30 p.m. Coach Rob Chudzinski and players will be available at about 5:15 p.m.

The team announced the following three players will participate in this week’s minicamp on a tryout basis: defensive back Chris Rucker and wide receivers Seyi Ajirotutu and Legedu Naanee. Minicamp runs through Thursday.

Ongoing investigation

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported federal agents have served a second search warrant as part of an ongoing investigation into Pilot Flying J, the family business of Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.

FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents raided the company's headquarters Monday in Knoxville, Tenn.

No arrests have been made so far, according to the report.

Extra points

The NFL will release its 2013 regular-season schedule at 8 p.m. Thursday, league spokesman Greg Aiello announced. … The Browns worked out safety Troy Nolan, Adam Caplan of TheSidelineView.com reported. Nolan has played for the Houston Texans, Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins, starting seven of the 38 games in which he has appeared. … Former Browns tight end Alex Smith signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, the team announced. Smith spent the past three seasons with the Browns, compiling 28 catches for 184 yards and one touchdown in 29 games.

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