By Barbara Harrison

The NFL draft is just six days away — April 30 in Chicago — and the beat goes on about what the Eagles will do.

But a rumor that the Birds were targeting another woeful quarterback, Johnny Manziel, has been shot down.

Asked to respond to gossip that the team tried to trade passer Manziel to the Eagles, Cleveland Browns GM Ray Farmer told reporters: “No, that’s not true.”

At the same time, Farmer made it clear that Cleveland is open to drafting another quarterback.

“Sure, why not?” Farmer said — echoing coach Mike Pettine — when asked if the team might be willing to package their No. 12 and No. 19 picks for the chance to land Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.

“From the scouting side, there’s things to like about (Mariota) and those things that you like are the reasons why he’s being talked about in the draft,” Farmer said, adding: “We think we know who he is, we think we know what he’s capable of, we think we know where he would fit for us assuming that he was with us. No reason to take that any further.”

If the Browns do land Mariota, the team would drag a crowded house at quarterback into training camp. With so few clubs fielding three passers on the active roster, it’s fair to wonder if Manziel might head into the summer fighting for his job behind McCown and Mariota. Farmer refused to shed much light on Johnny’s place in the pecking order.

“Right exactly where we were before,” Farmer said of Manziel’s status. “We support the young man, that he took steps that he needed to take. And at the end of the day, we realize that he’s a part of our organization and we’re moving forward. He said it best, you know, he’s going to do his best to show and not talk about it. I’m probably in that camp as well. Let’s just see what happens.”

The Browns haven’t even invited Mariota for a private workout, but they might have a deeper read on the passer than anyone in the league with Kevin O’Connell — Mariota’s one-time private coach — now serving as Cleveland’s quarterbacks assistant. That placement only fuels speculation that the Browns might have something up their sleeve next Thursday night.


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