Is Blackmon a smokescreen for Browns?

April, 17, 2012
4/17/12
9:50
AM ET
How interested are the Cleveland Browns in Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon? No one will truly know until the Browns are on the clock on April 26.

Sources recently told Sports Illustrated's Peter King that Browns general manager Tom Heckert "loves" Blackmon. There is logic behind this: the Browns need a wide receiver, and Blackmon is the top one in this year's draft class.

But what if the Browns want to make everyone think they are more interested in Blackmon than they really are? As one of our blog followers, Kovacs from Dallas, pointed out to me, the Browns have great motivation to create such a smokescreen.

Browns president Mike Holmgren made it clear he felt the St. Louis Rams didn't play fair when they traded the second overall pick to the Washington Redskins and not Cleveland. The Rams, who now have the sixth pick, are reportedly very interested in drafting Blackmon.

So, in the spirit of gamesmanship, the Browns could be floating misinformation that they are thinking of taking Blackmon with the fourth pick. This might force the Rams to use one of those valuable picks acquired from the Redskins and move ahead of Cleveland for Blackmon.

I can see why the Browns would be interested in Blackmon. He has great hands (and the Browns finished tied in the NFL in the most drops in 2011) and has a competitive style of play that is valuable in the red zone.

But I also see why the Browns wouldn't be interested in taking him so high. He lacks the elite speed the Browns need at that position.

Of course, we all could be reading into this too much. Maybe the Browns are crazy about Blackmon and think he is this year's A.J. Green. But part of the fun about this time of the year is trying to figure out what is fact and what is fiction.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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