The Cleveland Browns, who are a goddamn mess, have found themselves a nice little loophole in the NFL rule book that they might be able to use to get an edge in the upcoming draft.
The Browns have not yet officially hired Kevin O'Connell to be the team's new quarterbacks coach, but it's been reported far and wide that O'Connell will be joining the coaching staff this upcoming season. Before he does that, though, he's going to finish personally training top prospect Marcus Mariota, a quarterback whom the Browns are reportedly interested in drafting.
The problem here is that all of the other NFL teams are forbidden from directly contacting any draft prospects before the combine. O'Connell is allowed to do this because he's not "technically" a member of the Browns' coaching staff, but in reality the team has a man on the inside who can either get a jumpstart on coaching Mariota up on the Browns' system, or feed them a more complete scouting report than any other team will have. Naturally, rival execs are going to be pissed about this. From Pro Football Talk:
"So let me get this straight," a high-level executive with another team told PFT on Wednesday morning. "The Browns can have their quarterbacks coach in waiting work with a player, teach him the entire offense, etc., but we can't even talk to any potential draft pick until the Combine per league rules? Something is wrong here."
Other teams probably shouldn't be too worried about the Browns getting a leg up, though. The most likely outcome is that this apparent advantage will somehow blow up in their faces, because this is the Browns we're talking about.