Mingo was 'absolutely' targeted by Browns

May, 13, 2013
5/13/13
4:15
PM ET
It's a draft day tradition for every NFL decision maker to proclaim the team got the player it wanted. In the Cleveland Browns' case, they really did with LSU pass rusher Barkevious Mingo.

While most of the epic piece in Grantland focused on how reporter Chuck Klosterman was denied access, he was able to hang around the Browns' war room long enough to know that the team targeted Mingo before the draft began.

"Mingo is absolutely the man they want to draft," Klosterman wrote. "They describe him as 'always relentless.' They identify him as the type of player who 'represents everything' they aspire to as a franchise."

Klosterman paints a very closed-door organization under CEO Joe Banner and general manager Mike Lombardi. Before an IT worker is allowed to enter the war room and check the cable connection, Lombardi erased Mingo's name from the white board. Klosterman was then kicked out of the war room 2 1/2 hours before the draft began when owner Jimmy Haslam arrived.

"I've never witnessed this level of institutional paranoia within a universe so devoid of actual secrets," Klosterman wrote. "I don't even know what they don't want me to know."

Here are some other pieces of information from the Grantland article:
  • Lombardi talked the most in the war room but Banner ran it.
  • About 5 1/2 hours before the draft began the Browns had a deal in place with the St. Louis Rams. The Browns would trade the No. 6 overall pick to move back to No. 16 and pick up picks in the second and seventh rounds. The deal hinged on Mingo not being there at No. 6, which he was.
  • The Browns also considered trading the No. 6 overall pick in exchange for a second-round pick this year, a first-round pick in 2014, another first-round pick in 2015 and two other future selections. This deal obviously never happened, and Klosterman didn't reveal the potential trade partner other than to describe it as a "a marquee franchise."

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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