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News » Eric Mangini's turn on the clock with Browns


Eric Mangini's turn on the clock with Browns


Eric Mangini's turn on the clock with Browns
CLEVELAND (AP) - Since taking over as Cleveland's coach in January, Eric Mangini, who earned his NFL communication degree at the Bill Belichick School of Non-Broadcasting, has revealed very little about his plans to rebuild the beleaguered Browns.


On Saturday, he must open up.

With only five draft picks, and presumably looking for more, Mangini gets his first chance to bring an influx of young talent to the Browns. Cleveland began last season with enormous expectations and finished as a 4-12 embarrassment that didn't score an offensive touchdown in its final six games.

But Mangini may also shake up his roster.

Wide receiver Braylon Edwards' days in a Browns helmet may be down to hours. Same for quarterback Brady Quinn - or Derek Anderson.

"Draft day is a great day," new general manager George Kokinis said. "It's a funny day. A lot of things happen."

In Cleveland, they haven't always been good.

The Browns have the No. 5 overall pick and Mangini could use it to address a number of pressing defensive needs, such as pass rusher (Texas end Brian Orapko), ball-hawking outside linebacker (Wake Forest's Aaron Curry) or inside run stuffer (Boston College tackle B.J. Raji or USC linebacker Rey Maualuga).

"We've got to pick the right guy for this city, the right guy for this team, the right guy for the Cleveland Browns," Kokinis said.

Heard that before.

Dwight Clark, Butch Davis and Phil Savage all said something similar when they ran the Browns. But their inability to make a smart top pick - Tim Couch, Courtney Brown, Gerard Warren - since their 1999 expansion return has contributed to their current messy state.

The Giants and Browns have discussed several potential deals involving Edwards, any of which would allow the Giants to replace Plaxico Burress, who was released.

Edwards is Cleveland's biggest playmaker and arguably the team's most talented. But the former No. 3 overall pick wants to play in a major market so he can pursue outside interests. Last season, Edwards dropped passes - and some not-so-subtle hints he wanted out.

Mangini, who recently traded troublesome tight end Kellen Winslow for picks, covets players who buy into his team-first system. Edwards and his ego don't fit that mold.

If Edwards, who began working out away from the Browns' training facility recently, is dealt, Cleveland could quickly replace him with Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

Crabtree caught 231 passes for 3,127 yards and 41 touchdowns in two seasons for the pass-happy Red Raiders. He has great hands, good speed and craves the spotlight. What's not to love? Well, the 21-year-old underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot, an injury discovered at the combine.

His speed has been questioned, but the Browns seem satisfied that he's plenty fast.

"He separates and gets in and out of cuts and he gets into the end zone," Kokinis said. "That's good enough for me. When you put on the tape, he makes plays."

Which brings us to Cleveland's other major draft-day subplot: Will the team trade Quinn or Anderson?

Because he hasn't seen much of either QB, Mangini says he wants to have an open competition during training camp. The Browns might be better served to pick one and move forward. But which one?

Quinn has spent most of his two seasons as a backup, but he would appear to have higher trade value than the rocket-armed Anderson, who flopped following his 2007 Pro Bowl season. Quinn was reportedly upset the Browns were shopping him, but Kokinis said Cleveland's most popular player is happy.

"I haven't seen him change his work ethic," Kokinis said. "He has been upstairs working with (offensive coordinator) Brian (Daboll) every day. He always has a good smile on his face and he is learning the offense."

Mangini met with Southern California quarterback Mark Sanchez at the combine in February and attended his pro day on campus. There's a scenario where the Browns take Sanchez, trade Quinn for more picks and hope Anderson can handle the job until Sanchez is ready.

It could all be a smoke screen by Mangini, who learned well as an assistant under Belichick.

Kokinis, though, indicated the Browns have a quarterback in their sights.

"There is some philosophy that you should take a quarterback in every draft," he said. "I think if there's one available that we like, we could take him. I am going to keep that option open."



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 24, 2009

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