By: Will Burge | ESPNCleveland.com
Are you confused about what the Browns will do with the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft? Don’t worry, so is everyone else.
A league source told ESPN Cleveland today that Joe Banner is “in the driver’s seat” for the entire 2013 draft.
There has been a cloud of secrecy over the Browns’ organization for the past few months. No one can quite get a read on which direction the new front office will go when it is their turn to select. Over the past 72 hours there has been a flurry of rumors about who the Browns will select, their desire to trade up, their desire to trade down, and even their desire to acquire players from other teams.
“When Joe (Banner) came back into the league with (the Browns) everyone knew they were going to have to deal with him. I don’t think anyone expected it to be on this level,” said the league source. “He has every team thinking something different, he has every media outlet reporting something different, and he is loving every second of it.”
When Banner was with the Philadelphia Eagles, he was known for hardnosed contract negotiations and getting players to earn their money. Now it seems as though he is earning his.
“He has contacted almost every team in the draft about a multitude of different scenarios,” said the league source. “He is playing them like a fiddle.”
When Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi held their pre draft press conference one week ago, Banner admitted that he has talked to just about every team in the draft about possible trade scenarios. He indicated that as the draft moved closer, those talks would become more specific. Those “more specific” conversations seem to be the root of the rumors swirling around the team.
While the league source did praise Banner for his manipulation the likes of which he had not seen in over twelve years being involved in the league, he also cautioned that it does not necessarily translate into a successful draft class.
“You want to have all options open in this thing,” said the league source. “You want people on their toes. But in the end, if you don’t take advantage of the opportunities you have created, then it was all for naught.”
So while Joe Banner has dominated the pre-draft mystery competition, he still has to prove himself once the team is officially on the clock, no matter where and when that might be.
|Will Burge covers the Browns for ESPNCleveland.com and hosts 3 Deep, Monday - Friday from 7pm-9pm.|
Follow Will on Twitter @WillBurge
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