BEREA, Ohio -- Wild rumors are flying around about the Cleveland Browns' plans in next week's NFL draft.
"There's a lot of mis-stories out there that I like right now, and I want to keep a lot of them where they're at," Browns general manager Tom Heckert said Thursday.
As he prepares for a critical draft that could finally push Cleveland's franchise out of its depressed state, Heckert tried not to tip his hand, which is stacked with 13 picks, including the Nos. 4, 22 and 37 selections.
Heckert acknowledged the Browns would like to keep the No. 4 pick and that the team has narrowed that choice to two unidentified players. He added there's agreement between himself, president Mike Holmgren and coach Pat Shurmur over the pick.
"We're all on the same page," Heckert said. "We know we're getting a really good player, no matter what happens at No. 3. We know we're getting one of two guys, we just don't know who is going to go at three (to the Minnesota Vikings)."
Alabama running back Trent Richardson and Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon are expected to be available, and both would make an immediate impact on a Cleveland offense that's desperate for playmakers, having scored a mere 218 points last season.
Although the trend in recent years has been for teams to pick running backs later in the draft, Heckert said he wouldn't hesitate to take one at No. 4. Richardson, who rushed for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns last year, is the highest-rated back in this year's class and would fill a major need after the Browns decided not to re-sign Peyton Hillis as a free agent.
Heckert downplayed a report that he favors Blackmon over other possibilities at No. 4.
"Everything you've heard is complete nonsense," he said. "It's that time of year, and I understand that. Everybody is on the same page here with who we are considering."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press