Browns zeroing in on No. 1 pick in 2017 NFL Draft

Browns zeroing in on No. 1 pick in 2017 NFL Draft

BEREA, Ohio -- For nearly 30 minutes, Sashi Brown kept Cleveland's draft plans close to the vest, deflecting some questions, dodging others.

The team's top football executive was intentionally vague on a number of subjects, including which player the Browns will select with the No. 1 overall pick, though it appears Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett is the choice.

But as he was wrapped up his news conference, Brown, who has spent the past year acquiring picks for this draft, finally gave a definitive answer. Asked if the team will trade for a veteran quarterback on draft weekend, he didn't mince words.

"No," Brown said firmly.

His comment would seem to ends months of rampant speculation that Cleveland is angling to acquire New England's Jimmy Garoppolo or Cincinnati's AJ McCarron to help solve their decade-old search for a franchise quarterback.

So there is no gray area, Brown was asked if a deal could happen before next week's draft.

"Could we in theory? Yes," he said after standing at the podium. "But are we planning on it or is that the plan? No."

And with that, Cleveland's seemingly endless quarterback quest took another twist.

But as the Browns prepare to pick a draft class he described as "momentous" for an organization still recovering from a 1-15 season, Brown feels the team is well positioned to add players that will "return to winning here in Cleveland."

Garrett appears to be the head of that rookie group.

Brown said the team has received calls about a possible trade for the No. 1 pick, but indicated the Browns will likely keep it, and that they've zeroed in on who they want.

"We feel really good about picking at one," he said, "and I'll leave it at that."

Both Brown and Andrew Berry, the club's vice president of player personnel, gushed when talking about the Aggies All-American, who has emerged as the consensus best player on the board in 2017.

Garrett could transform Cleveland's defense, giving it a ferocious edge rusher opponents will have to scheme to stop. The Browns don't have enough of those players on their roster.

The team has spent a lot of time getting to know Garrett over the past few months.

"We learned a lot about what makes him tick, what motivates him, how he spends his down time, how he spends his time with his teammates," Brown said. "You can learn a lot. He is an enjoyable young man, very bright. Whatever team gets him, particularly if it's us, would be proud to have him."

One of the only criticisms of Garrett is that it appeared he took plays off during his three seasons in college. Berry, though, said the Browns don't have any issues with Garrett's competitiveness.

"Sometimes those concerns are a little bit overstated," he said. "Every prospect is going to have his weaknesses. There is no such thing as a perfect player."

Or a perfect draft.

But with the No. 1 pick, No. 12 and six in the top 65, the Browns are in a commanding position to fill needs.

The biggest remains at quarterback, and Cleveland, which has started 26 QBs since 1999, could not only come away with Garrett but with the best young passer available as well. If they need to move up from 12, the Browns have the resources with 11 picks.

North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky is believed to be Cleveland's highest-rated quarterback, and his Northeast Ohio roots could make him irresistible to the team he grew up rooting for.

Trubisky started only 13 games for the Tar Heels, and his lack of experience could deter teams ahead of the Browns from taking him. A Garrett-and-Trubisky package would be considered a smashing success in Cleveland, where fans treat the event like the Super Bowl they've never gotten.

Brown isn't feeling any more pressure to get this draft right, but he knows it's vital not to get it wrong.

"We are not trying to take some approach where it is this draft or bust," he said. "My job is to make sure that our organization makes a series of good decisions. When you do that over time with a good plan, strategy and alignment, you are going to be good in this league. We have seen this in our division. The teams that we play against have all been together a long time and have those systems very right.

"That is what we are heading toward."

Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan will retain the role he held the past nine seasons in his first year as head coach of the 49ers.

Shanahan eschewed the formality of naming an offensive coordinator because he will keep those duties for himself. Still, Shanahan made it clear that he alone will not be able to fix the 49ers’ offense.

Shanahan has assembled a supporting cast that he said makes him comfortable to delegate responsibilities whenever his attention has to be focused on something other than the team’s offense.

“I mix it up,” said Shanahan, who previously held offensive coordinator roles with Houston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta. “Different guys have different attributes.”

Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur joined Shanahan after time together on the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive staff. McDaniel is the run-game specialist, while LaFleur, the wide receivers coach, is the pass-game specialist.

Tight ends coach Jon Embree, formerly the head coach at Colorado, is Shanahan’s assistant head coach. Shanahan said Embree has a vocal role on his staff.

Moreover, long-time NFL running backs coach Bobby Turner is a trusted assistant after spending 14 seasons in Denver and four more in Washington with Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father. Turner coached under Kyle Shanahan the past two seasons with the Falcons.

”Bobby Turner’s been an assistant head coach for our teams we’ve had in the past and anytime that I need him to take over, he does,” Shanahan said. “So it depends what period it is, depends what we’re talking about.”

The 49ers opened organized team activities last week. It was the first time the 49ers’ rookies and veterans were together on the field for offense vs. defense practices. Shanahan said it takes some adjustment for him to figure out how to best budget his time during the workouts.

“I’m used to knowing exactly where to go and what to do and I always did that from an offensive coordinator standpoint which I still do a lot of those responsibilities,” Shanahan said. “So, at times, I feel most comfortable when I go to do that because that’s something to do. But, when I pass it over to some other guys and let them do it, I find myself walking around a lot and I’m not used to that.

“It feels awkward, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think I should walk around and watch everyone and see it. I always see it on the tape, but that’s later at night. You want players to know you’re there and paying attention to everything and I usually try to cover that in meetings the next day also.”

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.