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Cleveland/Canton One of the Finalists for the 2019 or 2020 NFL Draft

Canton, Ohio is the place where football was invented and of course is the home for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Now it’s one of the finalists for the NFL Draft in 2019 or 2020.

“Being selected as one of five finalists to host either the 2019 or 2020 NFL Draft in Cleveland and Canton is a great testament to our fans and the immense passion for football in Northeast Ohio,” Browns executive vice president/chief financial officer Dave Jenkins said in a statement.

The NFL also announced that Tennessee, Kansas City, Denver and Las Vegas are on the list, it’s now known when the league will make the announcement as to if the event will come to the home of the Hall of Fame.

This year’s NFL Draft will be held at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Browns Gab 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Penn State RB Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley is a dynamic player who some have going as early as #1 to the Browns in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft. Today we give you a look at what this big-time player has to offer wherever he ends up in the draft.

NFL.com Scouting Report by Daniel Jeremiah

What I liked: I’ll do my best to condense my thoughts here. I pretty much like everything about Barkley’s game. He has patience, vision and power as an inside runner. He can step through tackles or drop his shoulder and run through them. He is very quick laterally to avoid defenders in the hole. He has an excellent burst to the perimeter on outside runs. Once he gets the corner, he’s elusive in space and has the speed to go the distance.

He’s very dependable in pass protection. He’s assignment aware and does a nice job squaring up blitzing linebackers to stall their charge. He also has very strong, reliable hands. He can pluck the ball away from his frame and he’s explosive after the catch. He gets rave reviews from teammates and coaches for his tireless work ethic. His weight-room accomplishments have been well noted this offseason.

Where he needs to improve: There aren’t many areas where Barkley needs to improve. There have been a few occasions where he gets “bounce happy” instead of staying inside and taking a 2-3 yard gain. He has some negative plays as a result of his eagerness to hit the homerun. I’d love to see him used in a more diverse way in the passing game. He has the ability to split out and run routes like a receiver, but his opportunities were limited last year. Hopefully that will change this fall.

Biggest takeaway: Barkley is everything you’d want in a modern-day running back. He can run with power, generate explosive runs and contribute on passing downs. As a player, he reminds me a lot of Ezekiel Elliott coming out of Ohio State. I thought Elliott was one of the best pass-protecting college running backs I’d ever evaluated and Barkley is right on that level. Both guys have that ideal blend of size/speed and they are very instinctive football players.

Walter Football’s Take on Barkely going #1 to the Browns

Another Scouting Report on Barkley:

Strengths

Everything? Yeah, just about everything. Before we even get to his game, it’s worth noting that everyone who knows Barkley describes him as high character guy, including current Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead, describing him as “Smart, humble. He’s the rare guy whose humble attitude supersedes his talent.” On the field he is a powerful and explosive runner between the tackles, showing great vision on cut backs and the ability to run through someone if needed. He also has the ability to get outside on sweep plays and is extremely elusive in space. He has good hands and really improved his receiving game in 2017, contributing 54 catches. Add in that he is a great pass protector, something that can keep rookies off the field, and you are looking at one of the most complete running backs to ever enter the draft. Bonus: want to see someone power clean almost twice their body weight?
Weaknesses

There are basically no holes in Barkley’s game. He can get a bit indecisive in the hole at times and try to make too much happen, but those tendencies are due to him being better than everyone on the field. With his graduation to the NFL, I expect those bad habits to go away. He has a little room to improve on his pass catching as he dropped a couple easy balls over the year, but these critiques are splitting hairs.
Grade: A+

Saquon Barkley is a generational type running back. He’s an athletic specimen with a well-rounded game that will make an instant impact for an NFL team. How well he does immediately in the pros will be much more a function of where he lands than his skill set, he can do it all.

Albert Breer for SI saying that ‘Barkley is the Future of the NFL’

The Titans, built sturdy and tough up front, rushed for 195 yards on the vaunted Seahawks defense on Sunday. The Ravens spent the last two offseason getting younger and quicker on defense, and that group kept the Bengals and Browns out of the end zone in Weeks 1 and 2. Then in London, a Jaguars offense reworked this offseason with size in mind ran for 166 yards on them.

This is how the NFL works. Teams spent the last decade building around quarterbacks and receivers, and defenses are now stocked with 220-pound linebackers and 250-pound pass rushers. And now we’re getting the zig to that zag—personnel czars like Jacksonville’s Tom Coughlin and Tennessee’s Jon Robinson capitalized by building jackhammer offenses to run at those defenses, while creating better environments for their young QBs.

“That’s been going on since the 1970s,” said one NFC personnel exec. “It’s not a new trend, it’s the same cycle. New people rise in the football world, history repeats itself.”

Browns to Bring Sooners QB Baker Mayfield in for a Private Visit

There’s still plenty of long term questions about Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield, and if he’s going to be a solid NFL player and if his reported demons off the field will follow him to the NFL.

Evidently the Browns are willing to find out, as SI reports that the Browns are a team that will bring Mayfield in for a private visit, taking a look look at him before they make any decisions in the NFL Draft.

Here’s the report from SI on the Browns chatting with Mayfield:

In the quest to land a franchise quarterback, the Browns are doing their homework. Less than three days after the final whistle blew on a monstrously entertaining Super Bowl, the Browns requested a private visit with Baker Mayfield, his first such invite, two league sources tell The MMQB.

New general manager John Dorsey and head coach Hue Jackson are continuing the seemingly perennial search for the player who will lead the Browns out of a more-than-two-decade stretch without a playoff victory. Mayfield figures to be a topic of intense scrutiny for not only the Browns, but a handful of other teams working to evaluate one of the 2018 NFL draft’s biggest wild cards.

Browns Looked to Deal for Chiefs QB Alex Smith Before He Was Dealt to Washington

The Browns interest in Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was real for sure, but in the end the Chiefs decided they would rather deal with a team from the NFC, trading him Tuesday night to the Washington Redskins.

Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer reported after the deal to the Redskins was done that indeed the Browns attempted to get Smith, but the Chiefs decided to deal with the Skins instead.

This last season was the best for the 33-year-old Smith, who started the season 6-0 before falling on hard times but still winning the AFC West.

Smith threw for career-highs in passing yards (4,042), touchdowns (26) and passer rating (104.7), throwing just five interceptions this past season for the Chiefs.

The move for the Redskins to get Smith could mean the door is open for Kirk Cousins, who obviously won’t be back in D.C. after the Redskins also agreed on a four-year extension with Smith.

Video: Tiki and Tierney of CBS Discuss Josh Allen Wanting to Be Drafted by the Browns

Tiki and Tierney discuss the comments of NFL Draft prospect Josh Allen on wanting to be the next franchise quarterback for the Browns.

Browns Coach Hue Jackson Says No One Forced Him to Hire an Offensive Coordinator

SI.com

Todd Haley was announced officially toady as the new Browns offensive coordinator, and with it comes the hope that he can take the play calling duties off the plate of head coach Hue Jackson.

Many felt it was time that Jackson brought in someone to help with the dreadful Browns offense, but if you ask the coach who has gone 1-31 in two season if he was forced to make a hire of an OC, he will flat out tell you no – the very thing he said today to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer.

“No, let me say this and let me go on record and you guys can write this: No one ever told me I needed to hire an offensive coordinator,” Jackson said via Cabot. “I could still be calling the plays for the Cleveland Browns. That is what I thought was best for us.

“I made a decision that I thought the best thing for me to do was to become the CEO of this organization in that way. No one forced me, no one asked me and no one told me I had to. This was my decision and what I thought was best for us moving forward. Did I lean on people to ask them advice? Yes, I did. Was John Dorsey one of those people? Yes, he was. Was Jimmy Haslam one of those people? Yes, he was. That is what you do. You use your resources, but nobody, no one, whether it is John or Jimmy, ever told me that this is what I needed to do. Nobody.”

So you can debate if Jackson simply wanted to have someone else to take the fall if the offense goes south, or he’s lying. Either way, Haley is aboard so the team will have someone to give their input as to how to make the Browns better once the 2018 season begins.

Baker Mayfield Doesn’t Want to Be Compared to Former Browns QB Johnny Manziel

Baker Mayfield has no plans to show anybody the money here at the Senior Bowl, Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer reports.

He’s also not here to talk into his money phone, float on an inflatable swan or masquerade as Billy Mayfield.

The Oklahoma product is determined to shed the inevitable comparisons to fellow Heisman Trophy winner and former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, who’s out of the NFL and trying to make a comeback in the Canadian Football League.

?Like Manziel, Mayfield has been arrested and this season taunted the Kansas sidelines with his infamous crotch grab. Both incidents went viral on the Internet, including the arrest in Fayetteville, Ark., for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and fleeing and resisting arrest. Mayfield was ultimately tackled hard into a wall by a police officer during the arrest.

“(I want to show) the type of guy I am,” he said. “Everybody wants to portray the bad boy, the Johnny Manziel stuff, but I love the game of football. There’s no doubt about that. Emotional player. I’ll do anything it takes to win. I love being around my teammates and I love leading and having responsibility.”

Is it annoying and frustrating to get lumped in with Manziel?

“It is what it is,” he said. “If I paid too much attention to it, then I’d be focusing on the wrong things. But I came down here to play the game and show them that I love playing it.”

Browns OT Joe Thomas Still Not Sure About His Future in the NFL

After missing a good chunk of 2017 due to injury, Browns fans might have to get use to not seeing Joe Thomas line up at tackle anymore, as the future Hall of Famer still isn’t 100 percent sure he’s coming back in 2018.

Thursday night at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel Downtown, Thomas spoke about trying to come back from injury, and both the physical and mental issues that go along with it.

“Had a lot of time to think and spend some time with the family but not ready definitively to make a decision one way or the other just yet,” Thomas said.

But is he leaning one way or the other?

“I wouldn’t say so. I think there’s some days you go back and forth,” Thomas replied. “I think it’s just kind of as I’m starting to work myself back into shape, it’s just kind of how you feel.”

Thomas said he recently had a 12-week checkup on his surgically repaired left triceps tendon. His legendary consecutive snap streak ended at 10,363 and he missed the final nine games of the 2017 season after the tendon ruptured Oct. 22 against the Tennessee Titans.

As of now, Thomas does not know when he may or may not make the final decision to either come back again in 2018 for the Browns, or walk away from the game all together.