Thursday, April 21, 2011
Colt McCoy hosting player workouts
ESPN.com news services
BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy has organized workouts in Texas for a few of his teammates during the NFL lockout.
Several of the wide receivers are joining him in Austin to throw the ball around.
By this time next week, he may have new targets.
With the No. 6 overall pick in next week's draft, the Browns may have the chance to add a top-flight wide receiver like Georgia's A.J. Green or Alabama's Julio Jones, considered the top two prospects at that position. It's possible one or both could be available when it's Cleveland's turn on the clock.
Since trading Braylon Edwards to the New York Jets in 2009, the Browns have lacked a home-run-hitting wide receiver, the kind of player who can turn a 10-yard reception on a slant pattern into a 70-yard touchdown. Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie are suitable, and both made significant strides in their second seasons as pros.
However, the Browns need more to develop McCoy, who will be running a new West Coast offense installed by first-year coach Pat Shurmur.
Green or Jones would fill a gaping hole.
General manager Tom Heckert said Thursday there is little difference between the two SEC stars.
"They are both very talented guys," he said. "They are both good football players. They both can run and catch and all that stuff. I think some people might like something else about one guy than the other guy. If you talk to 32 teams, you'll probably get 16 answers to why one guy might do something better.
"At that position it's a little hard because they are both kind of the same size and maybe one runs a little faster but they are very similar players. There's not much difference as an overall package."
Asked which was better suited for the West Coast offense, Heckert said, "either one is fine."
Heckert was pleased to hear that McCoy was rounding up a few of his teammates for some informal practices while the league's labor dispute drags on.
Massaquoi posted a message on his Twitter page saying that he was headed to Austin for "for some pitch & catch" with McCoy, Josh Cribbs, Carlton Mitchell, Jordan Norwood and "the rest of my Browns brothers!"
"I think it's great," said Heckert, the Eagles' GM from 2006 to 2009. "When we were in Philadelphia, that happened anyway. It happened right before we had offseason conditioning, and even during the offseason conditioning when guys didn't want to come back to Philadelphia, they would go and they would hang out in Arizona. It's probably more publicized now.
"Obviously, it's nice here. If they do it, great. If they don't, I don't think it's a big deal. They'll be ready when they come back. We'll have time."
Players are not permitted to work out at team facilities during the lockout, which began on March 11.
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Thursday that the Browns were fined $50,000 for improper contact with McCoy and other players on the team before the lockout began. The newspaper reported that the Browns appealed the fine and believe they will prevail.
As for the upcoming draft, Heckert didn't tip his hand as to what the Browns will do with their top pick. In his first draft with Cleveland last year, Heckert took cornerback Joe Haden at No. 7, added safety T.J. Ward in the second round (No. 38) and grabbed McCoy (No. 85) after he slid to the third.
Heckert addressed several draft-related topics.
• On Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers' surgically repaired knee; Bowers could be an option for the Browns, who are shifting to a 4-3 front: "Our doctors have looked at him 100 times," Heckert said. "We've done our due diligence. We think his knee is going to all right."
• On the Browns taking a QB -- even in the first round -- despite their public support for McCoy: "I wouldn't say that's one of our top needs, but if there's a legitimate Hall-of-Fame-type quarterback, then we would do that."
• On North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn being a high risk after his one-season NCAA suspension for receiving gifts and travel accommodations: "Obviously, it's a thing you'd rather not have to deal with. You'd like to see him play this year, and unfortunately you can't. ... You have one less year to look at for him. You just have to kind of use your judgment."
• On the possibility of trading up: "It's probably unlikely, but I have talked to some teams ahead of us just to see. That's probably a tougher thing to do from our situation. We'd hate to give up picks to do something like that."
• On LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, considered by many a can't-miss pick: "Size and speed. He's a rare guy, a rare athlete and he's a very good football player."
• On whether Browns president Mike Holmgren has veto power on quarterbacks; Holmgren allegedly was the one who persuaded Heckert to choose McCoy: "That's completely not true. Colt McCoy was the guy that was there when we picked. He was our highest-rated guy. Did Mike like him? Yes. Did I like him? Yes. Did Eric [Mangini] like him? Yeah. That's blown a little bit out of proportion."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.