Jimmy Haslam backs Ray Farmer
Jimmy Haslam will not interfere with what promises to be a vital draft for the Cleveland Browns.
More from ESPN.com
It appears clear that the Browns will take a quarterback high in the draft, but will it be at No. 4, and will it be Johnny Manziel, Pat McManamon writes. Story
Haslam concluded a draft meeting Tuesday with the Browns' major decision-makers by telling new general manager Ray Farmer, "At the end of the day, this is your call."
Farmer confirmed Haslam's closing statement to ESPN.
Haslam has often said he will let the people he hired make the choices. That statement reinforced his position, and it was made with many Browns scouts and front-office types in the room.
"This is Ray Farmer's draft," first-year head coach Mike Pettine told ESPN.
Many options remain open to the Browns with the fourth overall draft pick -- including quarterback Johnny Manziel, or a trade out of the No. 4 slot.
"Our board is wide open," Pettine said. "Everything is in play."
Pettine made the statement when asked specifically about the idea that Manziel was not a consideration. Neither Pettine nor Farmer would go into any more specifics.
If the Browns decide to trade down, they would not necessarily target a receiver, but a cornerback, sources told ESPN.
One player the Browns like very much is Justin Gilbert, a 6-foot, 202-pound corner from Oklahoma State.
Gilbert has excellent cover skills and has speed to return kickoffs. Drafting him would give the Browns another talented cornerback opposite Joe Haden, a necessity in a blitzing defense like Pettine's.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Repetitive Lynch: Here so I won't get fined
- McDaniels: Pats must be smart vs. Sherman
- Browner stands by comments on targeting
- Kraft expects apology if NFL can't find culprit