November 27, 2014

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NFL combine notes: Browns keeping draft options open

BEREA – With the Browns undecided on what to do at quarterback, general manager Tom Heckert left open all possibilities, including trading up from No. 7 to possibly draft Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford.

“I don’t think we’re closing the door on anything,” Heckert said Saturday at the NFL scouting combine. “We’re not shutting the door on moving up or even moving back. We’re listening to a lot of different teams.

“My job is to get good football players. If I think we can get a really good football player by moving up and if we have a chance to do that, we’ll do it.”

The Browns are still evaluating holdovers Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn and will explore trading for a veteran quarterback or signing a free agent. Then there’s the draft, where Bradford and Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen are considered the only first-round talents.

Bradford is coming off a shoulder injury that cost him nearly all of the 2009 season and required surgery. He said he’s at 85 percent and is “gonna put on a great show” at his pro-day workout March 25. He’s a candidate to go No. 1 to the Rams and likely won’t be on the board at No. 7.

“You never know,” said Heckert, who gave an abbreviated scouting report. “He’s a big kid, he’s accurate, he won a lot of football games. He’s a leader. That pretty much sums it up. He has all the tools to put it together.

“Everybody wants to say he’s a franchise (quarterback), but until he does it you never know.”

One year at a time

Heckert said the Browns are content to have their restricted free agents return under one-year contracts, and won’t explore long-term deals with them.

The key restricted free agents are running back Jerome Harrison, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, fullback Lawrence Vickers, safeties Abram Elam and Brodney Pool and linebackers Matt Roth and Jason Trusnik. Heckert said the team will announce which guys they’ll tender and the size of the tenders Wednesday or Thursday. Free agency begins Friday.

• Heckert said internal discussions continue on whether to offer contracts to unrestricted free agents Rex Hadnot (guard) and Mike Furrey (receiver/safety).

• Heckert and coach Eric Mangini said they don’t feel adding a veteran receiver is a necessity. Rookie Mohamed Massaquoi was the leading receiver last year with 34 catches.

“I’m not saying we wouldn’t do that,” Heckert said. “But I think we’ll be OK.”

• Heckert said nose tackle Shaun Rogers (broken leg) was at team headquarters last week and should be ready for minicamps. Inside linebacker Eric Barton (neck surgery) is scheduled to go back to the doctor, but should be OK for the season.

“We assume all of our guys are going to be back ready to go (for the season),” Heckert said. “I don’t think we’re going to miss anybody.”

Extra points

Bradford has a Native American heritage and declined to answer a question about the prospect of the Washington Redskins drafting him No. 4. “It’s not something I have to worry about right now,” he said. He won’t ask them not to draft him.

• Former Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith would like a trade out of Baltimore for a chance to start. Coach John Harbaugh said Smith has the talent to be a starter, but seemed open to a trade, as long as it would benefit the Ravens.

•  Texas quarterback Colt McCoy measured 6-foot-1¼, considered undersized for the NFL. “That’s how God made me,” he said.

• Clausen was pestered with questions about his leadership. He said the misperception comes from the “fish bowl” that is Notre Dame.

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com.