Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is working with the Cleveland Browns' next quarterbacks coach, Kevin O'Connell, leading up to next week's Scouting Combine, Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer reports.
Cabot reported last month that O'Connell will join the team's staff, but that he has not officially been hired. Because he is not a member of the team yet, O'Connell is allowed to work closely with prospects leading up to the NFL draft. O'Connell worked with Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel before last season's draft.
Mariota, the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner, is training with O'Connell at Prolific Athletes in San Diego alongside Florida State's Jameis Winston and Baylor's Bryce Petty.
Cleveland finished 7-9 last season and owns the No. 12 pick in the draft. In his latest mock draft, Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke projected the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will select Mariota with the No. 1 pick.
The Browns have selected a quarterback in the first round of two of the last three drafts, picking Brandon Weeden in 2012 and Manziel in 2014. After Manziel and original starter Brian Hoyer struggled last season, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said the team is unsure if its starting quarterback is on the roster.
Earlier this month, Manziel entered a treatment facility. A release from his agent did not specify why he is in treatment. Browns general manager Ray Farmer said the team will continue to support Manziel.
- Paul Palladino