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Grading the Browns Draft
May 10, 2014 - Al Stephenson
All the top sportswriters are in the process of giving grades to each NFL team on the 2014 draft. How did the teams fare? They will analyze and reanalyze and then tell us why each team did well, or messed up entirely. I'm not going to do that, because quite simply you cannot determine the success of a draft until years down the road. On the other hand, you can give your thoughts on what it might be - and that is exactly what I am going to do.
On paper, the draft seemed to fall nicely into place for the Browns. They swapped their fourth overall pick to Buffalo for the Bills ninth and next year's #1. That gives the Browns two first round picks again next year. They watched as the Bills grabbed Sammy Watkins, a player rumored to be on the Browns wish list. The Brownies then traded up one spot to presumably address their ongoing search for a quarterback, but no....
Everyone was shocked when the Browns selected Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert. Most Browns fans were going - who? Now drafting 26th, the Browns swapped picks again and moved up to 22nd to select Johnny Football. Cleveland was rocking. Fans are excited, though with the hint that WR Josh Gordon may be facing a season long suspension for yet another failed drug test, the festive mood dropped a little.
So what to make of this draft - and no, I am not going to even consider the second round and later. The Browns got a cornerback, a quarterback and an extra first round pick next year. Is this good, so-so or bad? Well, let's see.
If Gilbert can't tackle as some say he can't and Manziel turns into another (pick one from Tim Couch, Charlie Frye, Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy or Brandon Weeden) and Buffalo goes to the playoffs and the pick turns out to be a late first rounder - then this will be another in a long line of poor drafts by the Browns.
Then again - if Gilbert and Joe Haden give the Browns a stud pair of shut down corners and Johnny Manziel becomes the next Fran Tarkenton or RGIII (sans injuries) and Buffalo has its typical sub 500 season and next year's pick turns out to be another (again pick one from Jim Brown, Paul Warfield, Ozzie Newsome or even Josh Cribbs) then this may go down as the best Browns draft ever!
The view from my seat suggests that we will just have to wait and see. One thing's for sure though. Browns fans are pumped. Let's hope it is justified.
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