Mitch Trubisky

Latest On Browns’ Mitch Trubisky Interest

Earlier today, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported the Browns were still mired in a Myles Garrett-vs.-Mitch Trubisky debate despite the former being the consensus top talent in the draft. More came out of Cleveland on Friday night to support the Browns are legitimately considering the North Carolina product.

The team is both pondering a trade-up for the former Cleveland-area high school quarterback and selecting him at No. 1 overall, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. Cabot adds that the pro-Garrett vibes coming out of Sashi Brown‘s Wednesday press conference do not mean the team is going to take the defensive end, noting the Browns are “strongly considering” bypassing the Texas A&M sack artist and selecting Trubisky.

Cleveland’s line of thinking here is believed to be that the pro-Trubisky contingent within the Browns’ decision-making structure is uncertain he will be there at No. 12 and isn’t sure the team will be able to swing a trade back into the top 10 to select him. Sources informed Cabot the team is ready to select its quarterback of the future.

During the second-year GM’s pre-draft presser, Brown said the Browns have “just about finalized” their decision at No. 1. While that was believed to be interpreted as a sign the team was ready to take the best player available, sources told Cabot that Brown may have meant Trubisky is the emerging consensus choice.

Cabot also hears the 49ers are a threat to take Trubisky at No. 2 overall, and that the North Carolina-honed signal-caller won’t last past the Jets at No. 6. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported earlier this month some Jets officials are high on Trubisky, and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report noted the team could serve as a trade partner for the Browns if they wanted to get back into the top 10.

If the Jets are entertaining the thought of using another high pick on a passer, the Titans hold the No. 5 pick. Tennessee had to surrender a 2016 third-rounder and 2017 second-round choice to Cleveland in order to move from No. 15 to 8 to select Jack Conklin. The price could be similar for the Browns, who have been more known for stockpiling draft picks than trading up for talent since the Brown- and Paul DePodesta-led front office took over.

The Browns have turned down offers for the No. 1 pick, Cabot reports, but after the team traded out of No. 2 last year and passed on Carson Wentz, it’s now poised to make that quarterback pick this year. Cabot adds that the Browns missing out on Trubisky would result in them moving on to Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes — presumably with their No. 12 pick. Of course, a GM told NFL.com’s Charlie Casserly he believes two quarterbacks would go in the top nine selections. In that scenario, the Browns would have to trade back into the top 10 if they wanted to draft the second-best quarterback on their board.

This would wrap up another complex Browns pre-draft process. Reports about the Browns’ astronomical grade on Garrett and team brass being awed by his Combine showing eventually leading to a Trubisky pick would be quite interesting. As would the possibility that owner Jimmy Haslam, who was possibly connected to having made the decision to trade up for Johnny Manziel in 2014, being involved in the decision-making process, as La Canfora suggests he could be.

Draft Notes: QBs, Foster, Ross, Cook, Mixon

Although the 2017 rookie quarterback pool has been heavily scrutinized this offseason, teams are warming up to select signal-callers as the draft nears. While this shouldn’t be unexpected, given the position’s scarcity at the sport’s highest level, Charlie Casserly of NFL.com and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) hear two QBs could well be taken in the top 10. A GM told Casserly he expects two quarterbacks to be taken in the top nine picks, meaning the Bills — who have been linked to passers at 10 — could have to look elsewhere if they don’t trade up. Miller points to Mitch Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes as the players most likely to be those top-nine choices, while a 22-team survey from Casserly produced Trubisky or Deshaun Watson as the quarterbacks teams identify as this draft’s best.

Here’s more from this draft pool, with the three-day event less than six days away.

  • Reuben Foster has been linked as high as No. 2 overall to the 49ers, but since, the former Alabama linebacker has run into off-field trouble on multiple fronts. And Miller hears a Myles Jack-like fall could be in store for the talented ‘backer. Viewed as a top-five talent in 2016, Jack plummeted to the Jaguars at No. 36 last year because of a severe injury he suffered while at UCLA. Foster falling out of the first round based strictly on character issues would stand as a surprise. A failed drug test and his forced exit from the Combine indeed raise red flags, but Foster has been viewed as the top off-the-ball linebacker in this draft throughout the process. It would take a lot of linebacker-needy teams to pass on him for this freefall to commence. PFR’s Zach Links asked whether Foster was going to fall out of the top 10 earlier today; slinking out of the top 32 would be something else entirely.
  • Regarding other possible falling stocks, Miller hears John Ross and Dalvin Cook may fall out of the first round as well. The Florida State back has not seen much momentum since the Combine, with a low SPARQ score accompanying a past that includes some troublesome signs. Ross underwent surgery after the Combine to repair a torn labrum but did set the event’s modern record with a 4.22-second 40-yard dash time. This isn’t the first time Miller’s warned about concerns around Ross potentially causing a slippage for the Washington-developed speedster.
  • Ross’ agent, Brad Cicala, attempted to address concerns that there’s more to Ross’ medical history. Ross underwent two surgeries to correct knee problems in early 2015, per Cicala, but did not undergo two ACL procedures. “Despite recent reports, John Ross III has never sustained 2 ACL injury’s (sic) nor has he had 2 ACL surgeries,” Cicala wrote (via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Facebook link) “In January of 2015 he endured surgery on his right lateral meniscus and in April of 2015 he had surgery on his left ACL.” Cicala adds that Ross has been deemed “ahead of schedule” in his recovery from the labrum surgery, with the wideout expected to be ready by training camp.
  • Miller is hearing Mixon’s name connected to the second round. One team to meet with the runner has a need at running back but is connected to a higher-profile name. The Raiders met with the Oklahoma product who grew up in the Bay Area, and Reggie McKenzie was satisfied with the embattled running back’s answers. “We thought he was a really good kid,” McKenzie said Friday, via Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “He came off really well. He explained each and every thing. The questions that we had, he had an explanation. He was upfront about everything.” Mark Davis is associated with having a “zero tolerance” policy on domestic violence, and the Raiders are currently negotiating with Marshawn Lynch. So, this would be an interesting fit, to say the least.
  • Former USC wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster said the Rams and Cowboys have shown the most interest in him, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The Los Angeles-based wideout said he would like to play for the Chargers last month.

Browns Owner Wants QB At No. 1?

Complicating the divide between the Browns’ coaches and their front office regarding the No. 1 overall pick: Jimmy Haslam is believed to be weighing in on this process.

The team’s owner “badly wants” a quarterback, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). As the draft nears, Haslam has been asking about this draft’s quarterback class and wondering why there hasn’t been much clamoring for a passer at No. 1 overall among the team’s decision-makers (Twitter links, via La Canfora).

While this would seem to open up a bigger issue for the Browns, who have seen Haslam make quick decisions regarding previous head coaches during his tenure, the team still has a chasm between its coaching staff and new-era front office about which player to select first overall.

The coaching staff continues to prefer Myles Garrett, with La Canfora echoing what we’ve heard before about Jackson’s preference for the Texas A&M defensive end. But the front office, per La Canfora, is leaning more toward Mitch Trubisky as the pre-draft process enters its final week.

Trubisky has evidently made a late push for a Browns team that has probably experienced the biggest trouble at the quarterback spot of any team during the 21st century. The Cleveland-area native, though, could be viewed as a reach at No. 1 overall due to his one year of starting experience and the constant scrutiny about this year’s quarterback class having been present throughout the pre-draft months. But the Browns are also believed to be pondering a move up from their No. 12 spot to select the North Carolina-developed passer.

The owner weighing in on the process would certainly appear to throw more weight behind Trubisky. Haslem wanting to leave the draft with a surefire starting signal-caller doesn’t necessarily mean the Browns are going to pass on Garrett, but it might mean the team will trade up from No. 12 or use multiple picks as currency in a trade. La Canfora tweets a trade scenario would be welcomed by Browns brass, as it would “appease” Haslam and allow the franchise to select Garrett. The Browns have been linked to Jimmy Garoppolo throughout the offseason, but the Patriots have shown increased reluctance to unload Tom Brady‘s backup.

Of course, Browns GM Sashi Brown said earlier this week the team doesn’t envision a trade for a veteran quarterback. So, the complicated offseason — one that has the Browns still trying to work a trade to get Brock Osweiler off the roster — continues in Cleveland.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Bills, Browns, Patriots

The Bills will send representatives to Clemson to meet with quarterback Deshaun Watson on Friday, reports Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Bills general manager Doug Whaley is supposedly “in love” with Watson, but there’s a belief that the team’s highest-graded QB prospect is North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com said Thursday on NFL Network (via Conor Orr of NFL.com). The problem for Buffalo, if it looks to draft a first-round passer, is that Trubisky might not be on the board when it’s on the clock at No. 10. Cleveland, which owns the 12th pick, may be angling to move ahead of the Bills to ensure it grabs Trubisky.

More on Buffalo and two other AFC clubs:

  • Shortly after Cleveland acquired Brock Osweiler from Houston last month, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported the Browns were willing to eat around half of the quarterback’s $16MM base salary for 2017 in order to trade him. It turns out the exact number is $10MM, tweets La Canfora. It seems likely that the Browns will eventually cut Osweiler if they’re unable to trade him, but given that he’s still on the roster, both executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and head coach Hue Jackson have said that they expect him to compete for the team’s starting QB job. Of course, the Browns will probably add another signal-caller in the draft (be it Trubisky or someone else), perhaps lessening Osweiler’s chances of making the club.
  • The Patriots ventured to the University of Connecticut on Thursday for a meeting with safety Obi Melifonwu, according to Ryan Hannable of WEEI. New England’s not slated to pick until the third round, No. 72 overall, and Melifonwu should be long gone by then. However, trading cornerback Malcolm Butler to the Saints for the 32nd pick could put the Patriots in position to select Melifonwu.
  • Austin Knoblauch of NFL.com offers more details on a bizarre incident involving Bills offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio this week. Police in Elma, N.Y., responded to a 9:22 a.m. call on Wednesday regarding a suspicious man in a field, which turned out to be a partially undressed Kouandjio. Firefighters then had to administer first aid to Kouandjio for an undisclosed condition. And though Kouandjio screamed “Shoot me!,” he was cooperative with deputies and was not arrested. Kouandjio did go to Erie County Medical Center for further evaluation, however.

Chargers Putting In “Due Diligence” On Mitch Trubisky

The Chargers are doing “due diligence” on North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com.Mitch Trubisky (Vertical)

The drum beat signalling a possible Los Angeles quarterback draft pick has gotten louder in recent weeks, as both franchise owner Dean Spanos and head coach Anthony Lynn have expressed their willingness to bring in a young signal-caller behind Philip Rivers. The Chargers are reportedly “serious” about finding a successor to Rivers, and have been linked to DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame), Davis Webb (California), and Joshua Dobbs (Tennessee) thus far.

Overall, the Chargers are putting in “ample work” on the 2017 quarterback class, but it’s unclear if the team will use the seventh overall pick on a passer. Los Angeles has other needs on its roster, and if, for example, a safety such as Ohio State’s Malik Hooker or LSU’s Jamal Adams is still on the board, the Chargers may be hard-pressed to pass up an immediate contributor in favor of a long-term prospect.

Los Angeles is far from the only team with interest in Trubisky, as Matt Miller of Bleacher Report indicated earlier today the Browns could trade up from No. 12 to No. 5 or No. 6 in order to land the UNC quarterback. In that scenario, Cleveland would not only be moving ahead of the Bills, who reportedly are intrigued by Trubisky, but in front of the Chargers at No. 7.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Considering Trade Up For Mitch Trubisky?

The Browns may be mulling a trade up from pick No. 12 in order to select quarterback Mitch Trubisky, according to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter links). The Titans at No. 5 and the Jets at No. 6 could be potential trade partners as Cleveland seeks to jump ahead of the Bills at No. 10.Mitch Trubisky Instagram

Speaking to the media earlier today, Browns general manager Sashi Brown indicated he isn’t totally averse to the idea of trading up, but noted he isn’t interested in converting multiple picks into a single selection on a regular basis. “Open to it,” said Brown. “Positioned to do it. Don’t want to make a habit of it.” Peter King of TheMMQB.com recently speculated Cleveland could move up — perhaps as high as No. 2 — in order to acquire a quarterback after selecting Myles Garrett first overall.

Multiple reports have linked Trubisky to the Browns, and the club was reportedly considering him with the No. 1 pick at one point. But even if Cleveland goes with Garrett with the draft’s first pick, the club has enough ammunition to move back up in the first round. In addition to No. 12, the Browns own picks No. 33 and No. 52 in the second round and No. 65 in the third round. In 2018, they have two extra second-rounders, an extra fourth-rounder, and an extra sixth-rounder.

Tennessee, sitting at pick No. 5, doesn’t need a quarterback, and is in an excellent position to trade back if it so chooses. Notably, the Titans traded the first overall pick in 2016, sending the top selection, a fourth-round pick, and a sixth-round pick to the Rams in exchange for a first-rounder, two second-rounders, a third-rounder, a 2017 first-rounder, and a 2017 third-rounder. New York, meanwhile, could use a signal-caller, but may prefer to amass draft capital as they begin a rebuilding process.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Rumors: McCourty, Pats, QBs, Fins

Several connections between the Patriots, Titans and Jason McCourty point to the recently released cornerback having a logical route to New England. Bill Belichick‘s relationship with Tennessee GM Jon Robinson, along with McCourty having played for Belichick friend Greg Schiano at Rutgers help Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (video link via CSNNE.com) see a reasonable chance the parties unite. Of course, the obvious driving force here is twin brother Devin McCourty residing in the Patriots’ secondary. The Pats looked into trading for McCourty at the 2015 trade deadline. Due to these relationships, and the fact that Jason McCourty will be much cheaper, makes him a better fit for the Patriots than expensive trade-block defender Richard Sherman in Breer’s eyes.

Here’s more from the AFC East.

  • McCourty would be an insurance policy if the Patriots traded Malcolm Butler, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. He would become the Pats’ No. 2 corner if Butler ventured elsewhere as a restricted free agent, Reiss notes. We’re at a bit of a standstill on the Butler-to-Saints discussion, but Breer noted earlier this week there’s a slightly better chance the RFA corner ends up on the Saints than Patriots in 2017.
  • Butler’s RFA price — a first-round tender — will make a Jason McCourty/Pats union unrealistic, Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com writes. Hannable expects Butler to play on that $3.91MM tender after signing it, believing no team will give up its first-round pick for a cornerback who isn’t a lock to re-sign. Of course, the Saints’ talks are believed to be based on the premise the sides would work out a different deal than New Orleans forking over its No. 11 overall pick. Other teams are almost certainly going to pursue the 29-year-old McCourty as well.
  • Some Jets brass are intrigued by Mitch Trubisky, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. But Mehta doesn’t envision Mike Maccagnan taking a quarterback in Rounds 1 or 2, believing the GM will save his franchise-passer pick for 2018 if necessary. However, if the Jets do bring in another high QB pick in addition to Christian Hackenberg, Mehta sees Bryce Petty being the odd man out. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report is also skeptical of any Jets/Trubisky talk, believing the franchise would love for a team to offer picks to move up to the No. 6 window to take the North Carolina passer.
  • The Dolphins hosted cornerback Teez Tabor on a visit, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Tabor met with the Dolphins on Monday at their facility, according to Jackson. Miami is in need of cornerback help, but Jackson places that need below front-seven assistance. Miami did not add to its cornerback stable this offseason, leaving a higher-end need there.
  • As for the Bills‘ reported interest in Deshaun Watson, Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News is betting that’s a smokescreen tactic. The Bills are indeed sending some strong signals Watson’s way, it appears, but Carucci believes the Tyrod Taylor adjusted contract will allow them to keep an eye on future prospects as opposed to developing one now. Buffalo can again escape from Taylor’s deal a season after authorizing it.

Miller’s Latest: Trubisky, Mahomes

We took a look at some fresh draft rumors earlier Friday. Here are several more, courtesy of Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller:

  • While Browns head coach Hue Jackson wants the team to select Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett first overall, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, that doesn’t mean he’s against taking North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Jackson “likes Trubisky a lot,” writes Miller, who notes there’s a chance the signal-caller will still be on the board when the Browns make their second first-round selection at No. 12 (assuming Garrett’s their initial pick, of course).
  • The Jets have met with Trubisky on multiple occasions, but Miller’s not quite buying their interest. They “would love” if someone traded ahead of them at No. 6 and chose Trubisky, Miller contends.
  • Both the Cardinals and Chiefs “really like” Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, two sources have told Miller. The Cardinals are reportedly interested in trading up from No. 13 for Trubisky, but they could perhaps stay where they are and grab Mahomes. As for the Chiefs, who own the 27th pick, Mahomes visited them last month.
  • The Titans are likely to draft Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore if he’s still available at No. 5, according to Miller; in the event he’s gone by then, Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams will garner consideration. The club met with Lattimore earlier this month, and it subsequently created a need at corner when it released Jason McCourty on Thursday. Tennessee hosted Williams on Tuesday, and has done its homework on the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder.
  • Lattimore may well end up with the Bears at No. 3 overall. Whether it’s him or someone else, one executive is “99 percent sure” the Bears will wind up with a defensive back in Round 1.
  • The Saints “would love” to select Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster at No. 11, per Miller. Otherwise, New Orleans is a possible destination for one of Foster’s college teammates, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, as are the Titans and Ravens.
  • Ohio State running back/wide receiver/return man Curtis Samuel might come off the board before Florida State RB Dalvin Cook, a scout told Miller. Samuel’s ability to impact games in all of those areas is improving his stock, with teams mindful of the damage Kansas City’s jack-of-all-trades weapon, Tyreek Hill, did last season.
  • Like Samuel, Michigan defensive lineman Chris Wormley is a candidate to go earlier than expected. Miller pegs Wormley as a Day 1 starter in a 3-4 defense, adding that he’s unlikely to last beyond the top 50 picks.

Hue Jackson Wants Browns To Draft Myles Garrett

While some members of the Browns organization want the team to select North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky with the first pick in the draft, head coach Hue Jackson isn’t among them. Jackson has thrown his support behind Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett, reports Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com.

Myles Garrett Browns

Considering both Jackson’s offensive background and the Browns’ lack of ideal quarterback options, it perhaps speaks volumes that he’d rather grab a defender No. 1 overall. He’s hardly alone in preferring Garrett over Trubisky, though, with one NFL personnel executive telling Cabot that “it’s not even close between Garrett and Trubisky.” However, Trubisky isn’t without his supporters – another personnel man informed Cabot he has more upside than Eagles signal-caller Carson Wentz, who went second overall last year after the Browns traded out of that spot.

The Browns have a second first-rounder, No. 12 overall, though it’s doubtful Trubisky will still be available when the time comes for them to make that pick. That means their bigwigs are going to have to make a choice between Garrett or Trubisky, which could be a problem. There’s “some discord” among the team’s decision-makers, with a clash potentially occurring between the old- and new-school members of the organization, multiple sources have told Cabot. Led by general manager Sashi Brown and chief strategy officer/former baseball executive Paul DePodesta, the Browns’ front office heavily emphasizes analytics. It doesn’t seem that everyone in Cleveland is on board with that, which bears watching for a club with a franchise-altering call to make in two weeks.

Photo courtesy of Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

Draft Rumors: 49ers, Jets, Fins, Mixon,

The 49ers are willing to trade the second pick in the draft, which has been the case since at least February. They’ll “listen to anything,” said general manager John Lynch, who revealed that teams have shown interest in acquiring the selection (via Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area). Regardless of whether they trade the choice, the 49ers won’t have top prospects like Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett, Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas or Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey in for pre-draft visits. “I think we know those guys pretty well,” stated Lynch (Twitter link via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com). They did work out Cal quarterback Davis Webb on Tuesday, per Wagoner. Webb is gaining momentum as a potential first-rounder.

More on the draft:

  • The Jets worked out North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky on March 30, but they’ll take another look at the 22-year-old Thursday in the form of a pre-draft visit, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. There are some members of the organization who are quite bullish on Trubisky, Mehta writes. The quarterback-needy Jets, who are set to pick sixth, have also met twice with Texas Tech signal-caller Patrick Mahomes.
  • With their first-rounder, No. 30, the Steelers plan to select the best defensive back available, says Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com (video link). That could be Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, whom GM Kevin Colbert “loves,” according to Kinkhabwala. Head coach Mike Tomlin said last month that the Steelers need DBs capable of playing man coverage, noting that New England quarterback Tom Brady roasted their secondary in January’s AFC championship game.
  • The Dolphins’ previously reported visit with Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton took place Wednesday, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.The team also hosted Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis, who, like Charlton, is a prospective first-rounder. PFR’s Dallas Robinson currently has Miami taking Charlton at No. 22 overall.
  • Speaking of the Dolphins, they’ll meet with Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt this week, and he’ll also visit the Saints, 49ers and Broncos in the coming days, relays Jeremy Bregman of NFL.com. The brother of Texans superstar J.J. Watt may end up coming off the board in Round 1.
  • Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is “absolutely in play” for the Vikings in Round 2 (No. 48 overall), Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller told Matt Vensel, Andrew Krammer and Michael Rand of the Star Tribune. Along with Minnesota, the Saints, Bengals and Raiders have shown the most interest in Mixon, per Miller. The Raiders seem like a curious fit, though, given Mixon’s past and owner Mark Davis’ zero tolerance policy regarding domestic violence.