BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns have kicked around the possibility of taking a quarterback in next week's NFL draft.
Maybe the best one.
Browns general manager Tom Heckert said Thursday that the team has talked to the St. Louis Rams about a trade that would give Cleveland the No. 1 overall pick, which it would use to take Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford.
"We've actually played a little phone tag," Heckert said. "We've talked to them throughout the process and have been at workouts with the Rams' people and kind of mentioned stuff to them. Just talks. We've talked to all the teams ahead of us and all the teams immediately behind us"
Bradford is the cream of a quarterback crop that includes Texas' Colt McCoy, Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen and Florida's Tim Tebow. Bradford was the only one of those four who didn't visit the Browns, but only because he had previously scheduled visits and couldn't fit them into his travel itinerary.
The Browns attended Bradford's pro day on campus and, like everyone else who was there, they came away impressed with everything they saw.
"He's the whole package," Browns president Mike Holmgren said. "Whoever gets him is going to be a lucky team."
Fearing he might raise the expectations of Cleveland fans to feverish levels, Holmgren tossed some cold water on the possibility of a deal to land Bradford. Holmgren warned that he wasn't ready to make any historic move like the one then-New Orleans Saints coach Mike Ditka did in 1999, when he sent 11 picks to the Washington Redskins for running back Ricky Williams.
"I don't want to then pull the rug out from everybody in our first draft," Holmgren said. "He's a coveted young man. To be able to go up and change somebody's mind ahead of us, you'd have to mortgage the ranch. Remember when coach Ditka did that with 11 picks, then he went and played golf.
"Absolutely we love the player, as do a lot of people, but in the real world, we're probably going to go in a different direction there."
The Browns likely would have to part with two first-round picks -- this year's and next's -- plus one or two more high-round picks to satisfy the Rams, who need a quarterback after releasing Marc Bulger earlier this month. The Browns aren't desperate for a quarterback after signing free agent Jake Delhomme in March and acquiring backup Seneca Wallace in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks.
Holmgren has shown a propensity for drafting quarterbacks. In the 17 drafts he was involved with as a coach in Green Bay and Seattle, he has selected a quarterback 11 times, but none of them before the third round. He would like the Browns to pick a quarterback this year, too, but he isn't sure the one he wants will be available.
"I would still like to do it, but I'm not sure it's going to happen, quite honestly," Holmgren said. "As we look at it, there are some people that we like very much, but I don't think we're in a position to get him. I think they're going to be gone, and then you couple that with other needs on the football team and then you add the fact that I don't think we're in panic mode at the quarterback position this year. We can play the game.
"The quarterback situation is going to be very interesting in this year's draft. While we'd like to do it, I'm not sure we'll do it this year."
After Bradford, there are other options for the Browns, including Clausen and McCoy. Holmgren had glowing reports on both and tried to clarify a previous remark about Clausen. At the owner's meetings, Holmgren said "I wish I liked him more," when referring to Notre Dame's quarterback.
"Prior to any draft, I'll say any number of things for any number of reasons," Holmgren said with a grin. "It was important that he and I talked about that in case he misunderstood or in case he wanted to know exactly what I was trying to do. And we did that. We had a very good conversation. He's a fine young guy, and he's a good football player.
"I would not read too much into that statement."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press