Browns showing interest in Michigan State QB Connor Cook

The 2016 NFL Draft is eight months away, but it's never too early to start doing homework on a top prospect.

The Cleveland Browns are already doing their due diligence on Michigan State senior quarterback Connor Cook, according to Cook's high school coach, Gerry Rardin.

Rardin told CBS Sports that the Browns visited him earlier this month to discuss Cook. Rardin, who is retired after 35 years as a coach at Walsh Jesuit High School in Ohio, also said it was the first time an NFL team had paid him a visit to discuss a prospect.

"They feel like Connor is going to be one of the more important guys in the draft, for sure," Rardin said, per the report.

Indeed, Cook was already drawing comparisons to 2003 No. 1 overall pick Carson Palmer a year ago. He opted to return for his senior season rather than apply for entry into the 2015 NFL Draft after the 2014 campaign. NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein wrote earlier this summer that Cook likely would have been the third quarterback selected had he entered the 2015 draft. After Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota came off the board with the draft's first two picks, a third QB wasn't selected until the 11th pick of Round 3 (75th overall), when the Saints took Garrett Grayson.

However, Zierlein also wrote that Cook's decision to return to school should only help his stock.

In other words, with another strong season from Cook, the Browns, or any other team interested in the quarterback, will have to strike quickly to land the Spartans star in next year's draft.

The Browns signed veteran Josh McCown in the offseason and spent a first-rounder on Johnny Manziel in 2014, but barring a breakthrough from Manziel (McCown isn't a long-term answer at 36 years old), Cook could look awfully tempting to the team coming out of the 2015 season.

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