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Browns focusing in on the Draft

By Carlos "Big C" Holmes
Cox News Service

Now that the NFL Scouting Combine is officially a wrap, team scouts have begun the next leg of the draft process, making their rounds to universities to further evaluate prospects entering this year's draft at their school's Pro Day workout.

Cleveland Browns scouts kept themselves busy when they attended Nebraska's pro day on Wednesday. Nebraska has a number of talented draft prospects, but the Cornhusker who seems to be drawing the most interest from the Browns organization is DT Le Kevin Smith.

The 6-foot-2 1/2 -inch, 320-pound defensive lineman is steadily moving up some team's draft boards, mainly Cleveland. Smith took part in only the position drills during the workout, standing on the numbers he posted at the Combine less than two weeks ago. While at the Combine, Smith ran between a 4.99 and 5.03 in the 40-yard dash, and banged out 30 reps of 225 pounds on the bench.

Teams are most impressed with Smith's ability to both rush the passer and stop the run. Smith displayed that versatility this season when he recorded 43 tackles and 6 sacks while playing in Nebraska. He has topped 40 tackles in each of his four seasons with the Cornhuskers.

One dimensional he is not, Smith can play both heavy side end and nose tackle, which bodes well for the Browns, who play in a 3-4 defensive set.

The attributes scouts wanted to see from Smith were mobility, explosion and aggressiveness. All of which he demonstrated in his workouts. This year's class for D-linemen is strong and there are many who believe that Smith ranks near the top.

Smith is scheduled to visit Cleveland some time during the first week of April. However, the Browns could have some in-state competition where Smith is concerned. Cincinnati Bengals defensive line coach Jay Hayes was on hand for the workout on Wednesday, and Smith also interviewed with Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis at the Combine along with a number of other teams.

Another prospect who the Browns could have on their radar is Colorado punter John Torp. The team reportedly is in the market for a punter and Torp's agent, David Canter, feels that the club will give his client a look. No visit has been scheduled as of yet for the Ray Guy Award finalist.

Checking out a sleeper:

Cleveland Browns Quality Control Coach Marwan Maalouf is expected to travel to the University of Eastern Michigan on March 14 to work out defensive back Jereme Perry, who is an intriguing prospect. The 6-0, 200-pound Perry was clocked at 4.31 in the 40 by scouts last spring, and is said to be a special-teams demon.