July 23, 2016

Mostly clear

NFL scouting combine update: WR A.J. Green in mix for Browns, was mentored by Mohamed Massaquoi

INDIANAPOLIS — Georgia receiver A.J. Green is a popular choice for the Browns to draft with the sixth pick in April. They have an obvious need for a game-changing wideout, and Green fits the bill at 6-foot-3½, 211 pounds with great athleticism.

General manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur said Friday that Green will be in the mix, although the depth of receivers in the draft could hurt his chances. The Browns may decide to go defense with the first pick, and come back with receiver at No. 37.

Green would have a good friend in receiver Mohamed Massaquoi if he joined the Browns. Massaquoi was a second-round pick out of Georgia in 2009.

“Mo, he’s my mentor since I stepped foot onto Georgia’s campus and I turn to him for advice,” Green said Friday at the NFL scouting combine. “It’d be nice to play with him. My freshman year he took me under his wing and showed me the ropes.

“When I’m talking to Mo, we don’t really talk football. He doesn’t like to talk football unless I ask him a question or something.”

Green is expected to be the first receiver drafted and should go in the top 10, if not the top five. Alabama’s Julio Jones is considered his main competition to be the first wideout off the board.

“I want to be the No. 1 receiver out of school and be mentioned with the best,” Green said. “My work ethic, I’m not going to settle for being an average receiver. I take that to the heart to be one of the best.”



Rams general manager Billy Devaney said Shurmur will make a good head coach. Shurmur spent the last two years as offensive coordinator in St. Louis and has never been a head coach.

“You know, you hear the stuff about players and coaches ‘getting it.’ More than anything, Pat gets it,” Devaney said. “He’s got a great way with players, relating to ‘em, understanding. Knowing when to push, when to back off.

“He’s got a really good offensive mind, but besides that, just the way he relates with players I think is fantastic.”

Shurmur’s work with Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford in 2010 stood out to Devaney.

“The way those guys just hit it off and the way they worked well together the whole season, I think was really impressive,” he said.



Bears coach Lovie Smith was sad to lose special teams assistant coach Chris Tabor to the Browns. Tabor replaced Brad Seely as Cleveland’s special teams coordinator after Seely took the same position with the 49ers.

“Chris Tabor did a super job,” Smith said. “Our special teams as a whole each year, we’ve been one of the best around. You’re in an assistant’s role and then you move up and you do your own thing and move up. Chris will.

“He has the system down. He can coach the specialists. Great personality. He’ll fit in with their staff. I hated to see him go but am excited for this opportunity for him.”