November 27, 2014

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NFL Draft notes: Players talk to coaches, then get locked out again

BEREA – Defensive lineman Brian Schaefering said Friday morning at Browns headquarters “felt like the first day of school.”

Well, the kids are back on vacation.

An appeals court granted the NFL a temporary stay of the injunction that ended the lockout Monday. A decision on whether to extend the stay throughout the appeals process is expected next week.

Friday was the first day players across the league were allowed to work out at team facilities, get medical treatment, meet with coaches and pick up the playbook. Schaefering was joined at the facility by quarterback Jake Delhomme, receiver Jordan Norwood and punter Reggie Hodges.

“I got a good workout it and talked to the coaching staff,” Schaefering said by phone. “It felt good to be there today. Working out in a comfortable surrounding and getting ready to play football.”

Shurmur had planned to officially start the offseason workout program Monday, until the latest court ruling. He said the coaches spent time with the four players Friday and handed out “coaching material.”

“I think we took advantage of it because we were allowed to talk and communicate with our players,” he said. “Now we’re back to lockout status, so we’ll just deal with it like we’ve been until the last couple days.”

Schaefering had met Shurmur and defensive line coach Dwaine Board previously, but sat down with coordinator Dick Jauron for the first time. He said they talked for 10-15 minutes.

Schaefering spoke to The Chronicle before the lockout was reinstated. He was hoping to return to Browns headquarters Monday.

“It’s starting to get late in the spring,” he said. “Everyone wants to get back to work.”

MEANS TO AN END

General manager Tom Heckert drafted Pittsburgh defensive end Jabaal Sheard with the No. 37 pick, but isn’t done addressing the position. He said he could add more in the final four rounds today, and his top priority is re-signing free agent Jayme Mitchell.

Heckert traded for Mitchell on Oct. 5, but ex-coach Eric Mangini didn’t activate him for a game the rest of the season. Mitchell spent four-plus seasons in Minnesota, playing end in a 4-3 defense. The Browns are making that switch in 2011.

Marcus Benard played outside linebacker in the Browns’ 3-4 scheme the last two years, and Heckert isn’t sure where he fits in the 4-3.

“That’s the worst thing for the coaching staff,” he said. “They haven’t seen the players up close and on the field.

“He could be a Sam linebacker or a defensive end — I’m used to undersized guys. There’s no doubt he can rush the passer.”

FRIENDLY CONNECTION

A longtime friendship helped the Browns and Falcons work out the trade that was the talk of the first round of the draft.

Heckert and Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff go way back and share a history. Their fathers were scouts in the NFL, missing each other in Cleveland by a year in the mid-1980s. The younger Dimitroff was a scout for the Browns for four years, beginning in 1998.

“It helps. You know no one is trying to screw anybody else and it is what it is,” Heckert said. “If you don’t agree with (the proposed deal), you can talk about it and it just makes it a lot easier.”

Heckert told si.com’s Peter King he looked at past drafts to find a comparable swap to the No. 6 for No. 27 the Browns and Falcons pulled. In 1995, Bill Belichick and the Browns traded the No. 10 pick to San Francisco, which had the 30th pick and wanted receiver J.J. Stokes.

The Browns got first-, third- and fourth-round picks in 1995 and a first-rounder in 1996. Belichick, running his last draft in Cleveland, chose linebackers Craig Powell and Mike Frederick with the first two 1995 picks. The Ravens took linebacker Ray Lewis with the first-round pick in 1996 after Art Modell moved the franchise.

In the 2011 trade, the Browns received second- and fourth-round picks this year and first- and fourth-rounders in 2012.

CLEVELAND’S NO. 1

ESPN.com’s John Clayton ranked the Browns’ first round Thursday night No. 1 among the 32 NFL teams. The Browns made two trades, adding three draft picks, and took Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor at No. 21.

“Sure, it would have been nice to add a big, fast threat for (quarterback Colt) McCoy and the offense,” Clayton wrote. “But the Falcons feel they might be one offensive player from a trip to the Super Bowl, while the Browns have to rebuild an entire roster. The Browns had to take that offer.”

Clayton ranked the Jaguars and Saints second and third. Jacksonville traded up to get Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, and New Orleans took California defensive end Cameron Jordan and Alabama running back Mark Ingram.

OUTSIDE VIEW

Greg Cosell, who works for NFL Films, has been giving personal scouting reports throughout the draft process. He weighed in on Taylor.

“Liked Taylor on film,” he tweeted. “Played with athleticism of a smaller man. Chance to develop into inside pass rusher.”

EXTRA POINTS

Taylor is the first defensive lineman drafted by the Browns in the first round since Gerard Warren in 2001. He is the third defensive tackle picked by the Browns in the first round, joining Warren and Doug Atkins in 1953.

** Browns Hall of Fame receiver Paul Warfield announced Cleveland’s two second-round picks. The Browns didn’t have a third-round pick after trading it to Kansas City on Thursday.

** Dwight Clark, Cleveland’s GM during the first years of the expansion era, made the 49ers’ pick at No. 36. He was a star wideout for San Francisco.

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter and fan him on Facebook.