Draft deals cooking (cont.)
Posted: Wednesday April 25, 2007 4:42PM; Updated: Wednesday April 25, 2007 7:56PM
A league source told me the Browns "are locked in'' on taking Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn in their No. 3 slot. Cleveland will bypass Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson, even though the Browns signed ex-Ravens rusher Jamal Lewis to just a one-year deal.
While Cleveland owner Randy Lerner has been in favor of Quinn for a while now, Browns general manager Phil Savage is now said to be firmly on board with the pick, even though he and head coach Romeo Crennel are entering a potentially pivotal third season running the organization. In some ways, drafting Quinn, a rookie franchise quarterback, buys Savage and Crennel more time to turn around the Browns' flagging fortunes.
Willis is a very popular prospect as the draft looms. Not only do the Lions want a crack at the Ole Miss linebacker who can run like the wind, there are at least three other potential suitors as well. They include Denver, San Francisco and Buffalo.
One rumored scenario making its way around the league this week has the No. 21 Broncos interested in trading up to No. 10 Houston if Willis is still on the board. Denver released middle linebacker Al Wilson recently and have a vacancy there that Willis would fill.
The scenario makes sense for the Texans, who at No. 21 could still pick one of the cornerbacks or receivers who are expected to be available at that slot. The Broncos have an extra third-round pick obtained in the Ashley Lelie deal, and given that Denver coach Mike Shanahan and his Houston counterpart, Gary Kubiak, have such a close relationship, something could be brewing.
The No. 11 49ers are thought to have Willis high on their list, as well as Nebraska defensive end Adam Carriker, and No. 12 Buffalo could use Willis as a replacement for the departed London Fletcher.
No. 6 Washington is another top 10 team that's willing to move down, and the best thing the Redskins have going for them is that Peterson might still be available when their turn comes. The Bills at No. 12 are one potential trade partner for Washington. Buffalo needs Peterson as a replacement for starter Willis McGahee, who it traded to Buffalo.
The Bills have an extra third-round pick obtained in the McGahee deal, and an extra seventh-round selection that they picked up from Philadelphia in the Kelly Holcomb deal.
If the Falcons, however, don't end up making a deal with Detroit at No. 2 for the right to take Johnson, they too could be tempted to move up to No. 6 to take Peterson. The thinking in Atlanta is that Warrick Dunn would probably be a Falcon just one more season, and then Bobby Petrino's backfield could feature Peterson, with Jerious Norwood used in a Reggie Bush-type role -- either split out or lined up in the slot at times. Atlanta's wish list reads Johnson, Peterson, LSU safety LaRon Landry, Penn State offensive tackle Levi Brown and Arkansas defensive end Jamaal Anderson, in that order.
No. 7 Minnesota and No. 10 Houston are two other potential trading partners for the Redskins if they control Peterson's fate, but sources I talked to said the Vikings may not be convinced that Peterson is a good fit for their West Coast offense from a mental aptitude standpoint and won't move up the board in order to take the OU star.