Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has been invited to visit the Browns' complex in Berea next week. If their interest in Maclin is genuine, it could mean there are legs to the whispers the Browns will trade Braylon Edwards to the Giants before the draft.
Maclin is projected as a top 12 pick. Most draft analysts rate him a notch behind Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech in this year's crop of wide receivers.
"You try not to get caught up into that stuff too much, because you never know what happens on draft day," Maclin said. "You take Brady Quinn for instance not too long ago. That's something that I definitely don't want to experience. I'm going to let my numbers speak for themselves."
Quinn was projected as a top-five pick in 2007, but he stayed on the board until the Browns drafted him with the 22nd pick in the first round.
Maclin, 6-foot, 198 pounds, averaged more than 200 yards a game, totaling 5,609 all-purpose yards over 27 games at Missouri. The Browns have the fifth pick in the first round and then do not draft again until the fourth pick of the second round, the 36th selection overall, so if they want Maclin they would have to take him with their first pick.
Edwards' name has been linked to the Giants since before free agency and the trading season began on Feb. 27. Those rumbles grew louder when the Giants released Plaxico Burress.
Reportedly the Giants would be willing to trade a first-round and a third-round pick for Edwards, who is entering the last year of his first contract and might be difficult for the Browns to re-sign. The Giants have the 29th pick in the first round.
The Browns could take Maclin and keep Edwards. Their receiving corps has been seriously depleted; they released Joe Jurevicius, who was injured all of 2008 but caught 50 passes in 2007, they traded Kellen Winslow Jr. and Donte Stallworth is facing a suspension and possible prison time on a DUI manslaughter charge.
Maclin does not have blazing speed in the 40-yard dash (4.45), but the scouting report from NFLDraftScout.com says he is a threat to score on every play, and he catches the ball well in a crowd. He has no character issues and is described as "outgoing and warm-hearted. He has a work ethic even the most impatient coach will fall in love with."
Maclin, an underclassman who played only two seasons at Missouri, caught 102 passes for 1,260 yards and 13 touchdowns last fall. He also returns punts and kicks and carried the ball 40 times in 2008 while averaging 7.3 yards a carry.