Eleven months ago, the Browns used a first-round pick on then-28-year-old quarterback Brandon Weeden. Not surprisingly, he experienced rookie growing pains, but showed glimpses of potential during a mostly forgettable 5-11 season. But with a new owner, front office and coaching staff, Weeden's future in Cleveland is less certain than it was just a few months ago.
The team has made it clear on several occasions that the second-year QB will have competition in training camp.
A year after one of the best quarterback draft classes in recent memory, the 2013 version is considered something less than that. The Browns hold the No. 6 pick, but because there are no Andrew Lucks or Robert Griffin IIIs, team president Joe Banner says there are no plans to target a QB early, although he didn't rule out one in later rounds.
Still, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot reports that the Browns will hold a private workout for former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, ranked No. 1 at the position according to NFLDraftScout.com.
Maybe this is due diligence, or perhaps Banner really does have designs on taking a quarterback sixth overall. (This is the season for obfuscation and misdirection, after all.) More likely: the team would swing a trade for Ryan Mallett, the former Arkansas star who was a third-round pick of the Patriots in 2011.
Browns general manager Mike Lombardi has long been a Mallett fan, and two years ago referred to him as the best quarterback in the '11 draft. And last week, on the second day of the free-agency signing period, NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala tweeted this:
So this Mallett-to-Browns story won't go away. Asked Lombardi abt it straight up yest. He laughed. If it happens, don't think till April— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) March 13, 2013
For now, Banner declined to say if the Browns inquired about trading for Mallett, which was rumored to be the case.