North Notes: Browns, Ravens, Vikings, Bears

Browns GM Ray Farmer has lauded receiver Sammy Watkins, but Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio thinks those comments are simply a smoke screen, and suggests that the team could be angling to select an offensive tackle in Thursday’s draft. Cleveland could be interested in Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, or Taylor Lewan, any of whom would play right tackle (an increasingly important position, says Florio) with the Browns due to the presence of Joe Thomas on the left side of the line. In such a scenario, incumbent right tackle Mitchell Schwartz would presumably move to guard. Florio’s theory makes sense, especially when considering that the receiver class is extremely deep. Selecting an offensive tackle at pick No. 4, a quarterback at No. 26, and then potentially a corner and a receiver in rounds two and three might be exactly what the Browns brass is hoping to pull off.

More notes from the North divisions:

  • Farmer and the Browns, as noted, hold the fourth and 26th overall selections in the draft, the same picks that Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome inherited when took over as Baltimore’s GM in 1996. Per Greg Bedard of, Newsome offers Farmer some advice on how to handle the scenario: “Just to trust the information that he has. Let the information make your decisions,” said the veteran executive. “If you spend nine months preparing for a draft and you set your board, why are you going to get to game day and then change? That never works, whether you’re calling plays, calling defenses or drafting players.”
  • Speaking of Newsome, he is glad the Ravens aren’t in the market for a starting quarterback, and hopes many QBs are taken before Baltimore picks at No. 17, according to Clifton Brown of “If as many as three, four, or five quarterbacks go before 17, that means other players from other positions will slide down to us,” Newsome said. “There will be more players for us to choose from.”
  • Vikings GM Rick Spielman tried to dispel the media’s notions that the team would draft a quarterback with the eighth overall selection, but noted “there are lots of possibilites,” tweets Ben Goessling of
  • In a series of tweets, Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star Tribune opines that Spielman cautioned there could be a “surprise” at pick No. 8, and that linebacker was the first position mentioned by the Vikings GM.
  • The Bears’ defense has already been infused with talent this offseason, with player additions ranging from Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, and Willie Young, to coaching upgrades like Paul Pasqualoni (defensive line) and Reggie Herring (linebackers), but as Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune writes, the job isn’t done, and the draft will be critical if the Bears wish to contend in 2014.
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