Only the Browns know for sure which prospects they’ll target Thursday through Saturday during the NFL Draft.
However, reviewing the team’s pre-draft visits and private workouts is a good starting point for gauging its interests.
Each NFL team is allowed to bring 30 national prospects to its facility for official visits. Some of the Browns’ visits have been kept secret, but nearly all of them have become public along with a handful of workouts.
If a prospect does not visit a team, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be excluded from the organization’s draft plans. Last year, the Browns selected Jabaal Sheard in the second round (37th overall) without bringing him to Berea for a visit. On the other hand, the team hosted defensive tackle Phil Taylor, wide receiver Greg Little and cornerback Buster Skrine before picking them.
Below is a list of prospects whom the Browns have reportedly hosted or worked out this year. All projections are from NFLDraftScout.com, and most of the evaluations are based on information compiled from two noted draft publications, Pro Football Weekly’s 2012 Draft Preview and Mel Kiper Jr.’s 2012 Draft Report.
Here is the list:
Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill (visit and workout)
Projection: First-round pick. Breakdown: Still raw after converting from wide receiver as a junior, but physical talent and prototypical size have convinced some that he could evolve into a franchise quarterback. Key stat: Went 12-7 in 19 starts as a collegiate quarterback.
Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden (visit)
Projection: Second-round pick. Breakdown: Former minor-league baseball player with an impressive arm and several team passing records, he turns 29 in October. Key stat: During collegiate career, completed 70.7 percent of his throws against ranked teams.
Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins (visit)
Projection: Second- or third-round pick. Breakdown: Touted more for leadership and intelligence than for his average arm. Key stat: Threw nine touchdown passes and five interceptions last season in red-zone opportunities against ranked opponents.
Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon (visit)
Projection: First-round pick. Breakdown: Two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award (nation’s best receiver), he lacks ideal size and elite speed, but compensates with tremendous play-making ability. Key stat: Set an NCAA record with 14 games in a row with at least 100 receiving yards.
Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd (visit)
Projection: First-round pick. Breakdown: Big, physical target who has tried to convince evaluators that he has overcome a history of off-the-field trouble involving alcohol. Key stat: Has caught at least nine touchdown passes in each of the past three seasons.
Baylor’s Kendall Wright (visit)
Projection: First-round pick. Breakdown: Has dynamic run-after-the-catch skills, but lack of strength and 16 percent body fat are concerns. Key stat: Finished collegiate career with 4,004 receiving yards, 1,300 more than any other player in school history.
Alabama’s Trent Richardson (visit and workout)
Projection: First-round pick. Breakdown: Blue-chip feature back and physical specimen who can run through or around defenders, dole out punishing blocks and serve as a formidable receiving threat. Key stat: Has not lost a fumble in his last 550 touches.
Boise State’s Doug Martin (visit and workout)
Projection: First- or second-round pick. Breakdown: Spent part of sophomore season as a defensive back and evolved into an offensive weapon by using rugged style, trademark strength and versatility. Key stat: Scored 47 touchdowns (43 rushing) in college.
Virginia Tech’s David Wilson (visit)
Projection: Second-round pick. Breakdown: Explosive, elusive athlete who can do damage as a back and a return man, but needs to improve blocking, hands and ball security. Key stat: Fumbled seven times last season and nine times in 499 career touches.
Cincinnati’s Isaiah Pead (workout)
Projection: Second-round pick. Breakdown: Small, dangerous outside runner with good hands and return ability who’s likely best suited to complement a powerful feature back. Key stat: Returned two punts for 98 yards in the Senior Bowl and was named MVP.
Georgia’s Cordy Glenn (workout)
Projection: First-round pick. Breakdown: Moves very well for a 6-foot-6, 345-pound man and has shown promise not only as a tackle, but as a guard, too. Key stat: Started 50 games in his four-year collegiate career.
Southern California’s Matt Kalil (visit and workout)
Projection: First-round pick. Breakdown: Premier pass blocker whose older brother, Ryan, is a Pro Bowl center for the Carolina Panthers. Key stat: Started all 25 games at left tackle during the past two seasons.
Stanford’s Jonathan Martin (visit)
Projection: First-round pick. Breakdown: Intelligent, finesse left tackle who might be a better fit on the right side in the NFL, but needs to improve strength. Key stat: Graded out at 96 percent on blocking assignments last season.
Ohio State’s Mike Adams (visit)
Projection: First- or second-round pick. Breakdown: Left tackle who must improve strength and mental toughness as he transitions to next level and possibly to the right side. Key stat: Missed 15 collegiate games with injuries and seven because of suspensions.
Midwestern State’s Amini Silatolu (workout)
Projection: Second-round pick. Breakdown: Dominant, small-school left tackle who might move to guard in the professional ranks. Key stat: Paved the way for an offense that produced a Division II-best 531.9 yards per game.
California’s Mitchell Schwartz (visit)
Projection: Third-round pick. Breakdown: Has experience at right and left tackle, plus NFL bloodlines — his brother Geoff is a guard for the Minnesota Vikings. Key stat: Started 51 consecutive games in college.
Oklahoma’s Donald Stephenson (workout)
Projection: Third-round pick. Breakdown: Didn’t become a full-time starter at left tackle until his senior season, so proving commitment will be vital. Key stat: Had a season-high 16 knockdown blocks last year against Texas A&M.
Louisiana-Lafayette’s Ladarius Green (workout)
Projection: Third- or fourth-round pick. Breakdown: Athletic receiving threat with questionable blocking technique, toughness and durability. Key stat: Finished four-year collegiate career with 149 catches and 22 touchdowns.
Louisiana State’s Morris Claiborne (visit)
Projection: First-round pick. Breakdown: Despite low score (reported four out of 50) on the Wonderlic test and recent wrist surgery, he’s the top-rated defensive player in the draft. Key stat: Compiled 11 interceptions during the past two seasons.
South Carolina’s Stephon Gilmore (visit)
Projection: First-round pick. Breakdown: Physical, well-rounded player who needs to polish coverage skills, but has the tools to become a reliable starter. Key stat: Led team with 79 tackles, including six for loss and three sacks, in 2010.
Virginia Tech’s Jayron Hosley (visit)
Projection: Second-round pick. Breakdown: Possesses solid coverage skills and a knack for making plays on the ball, though he needs to become more consistent and improve his tackling. Key stat: Had nine interceptions in 2010 and three last season.
Nebraska’s Lavonte David (visit)
Projection: Second-round pick. Breakdown: Best suited on the weak side in a 4-3 scheme, great instincts and intensity make him effective despite less-than-ideal size and strength. Key stat: Had 133 tackles, including 13 for loss and 5.5 sacks, last season.
Utah State’s Bobby Wagner (visit)
Projection: Second-round pick. Breakdown: Effective tackler with experience in the middle and on the outside who has a tendency to react a bit slowly. Key stat: Had 147 tackles last season and led the WAC in that category for three years in a row.
Nevada’s James-Michael Johnson (visit)
Projection: Third- or fourth-round pick. Breakdown: Showed versatility by producing on the strong side and in the middle, but inconsistent tackling and trouble getting off blocks are limitations. Key stat: Had 100 tackles, including 5.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks, last year.
Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus (visit)
Projection: First-round pick. Breakdown: Raw, athletic Garfield High School graduate trying to prove he’s more than just a one-year wonder after emerging as a top pass rusher last season. Key stat: Led the nation with 16 sacks and nine forced fumbles in 2011.
Southern California’s Nick Perry (visit)
Projection: First-round pick. Breakdown: Has stellar speed off the edge to go along with impressive size and strength, though his inconsistent performance against the run is a concern. Key stat: Compiled 21.5 sacks in the past three seasons, including 9.5 in 2011.
Syracuse’s Chandler Jones (visit)
Projection: First- or second-round pick. Breakdown: Brother of Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Arthur and UFC star Jon, he has the potential to become a pass-rushing force. Key stat: In 2011, had 4.5 sacks in seven games (missed five with injured knee).
Boise State’s Shea McClellin (visit or workout)
Projection: first- or second-round pick. Breakdown: Relentless rusher who has solid technique off the edge, but lacks ideal strength and might be better as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Key stat: Had 9.5 sacks in 2010 and seven last season.
West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin (visit)
Projection: Second- or third-round pick. Breakdown: Has character issues and will turn 25 on Nov. 1, but his excellent burst off the line of scrimmage makes him a formidable pass-rushing specialist. Key stat: Had 14 sacks in 2010 and 8.5 last season.
Southern California’s Armond Armstead (visit)
Projection: Undrafted (medical concerns). Breakdown: Two-year starter with experience at tackle, he was forced to miss the 2011 season after being hospitalized for chest pains last spring. Key stat: Finished with 17 starts, 59 tackles and two sacks.
Louisiana State’s Michael Brockers (visit)
Projection: First-round pick. Breakdown: Versatile, 6-5, 322-pound athlete who can disrupt while playing inside or outside, though some question his intelligence and maturity. Key stat: Had 54 tackles last season, including 10 for loss and two sacks.
San Diego State’s Brian Stahovich (workout)
Projection: Seventh-round pick or undrafted free agent. Breakdown: Unpolished directional punter with stellar leg strength and four years of starting experience in college. Key stat: In 2011, punted 61 times (43.8 yards average) with 17 inside the 20.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/browns.abj.