May 12, 2014

2014 NFL Draft Review: Cleveland Browns

#2 Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Cleveland Browns
Division: AFC North | Last Season Record: 4-12

What Needed to be addressed in the Draft: Cleveland had to find a way to come out of this draft with a quarterback. Fans want Johnny Manziel, but the Browns have been connected to every top quarterback in this class. At some point, the Browns needed to find a number two receiver, and at least one new starter on the offensive line. Maybe two.

To build on an already strong defense, finding a cornerback to pair with Joe Haden makes a lot of sense. Also, it would make sense to target a safety to pair with Donte Whitner, as well as an inside linebacker to pair with Karlos Dansby. They should also target a defensive lineman at some point.

Individual Draft Picks:

Round 1

8. (8) Justin Gilbert, CB
Experience: Senior | School: Oklahoma State
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 198 lbs.

22. (22) Johnny Manziel**, QB
Experience: Sophomore (RS) | School:Texas A&M
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 207 lbs.

Round 2

3. (35) Joel Bitonio, OG
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Nevada
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 305 lbs.

Round 3

7. (71) Christian Kirksey, ILB
Experience: Senior | School: Iowa
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 234 lbs.

30. (94) Terrance West*, RB
Experience: Junior | School: Towson
Height: 5-9 | Weight: 225 lbs.

Round 4

27. (127) Pierre Desir, CB
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Lindenwood
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 191 lbs.

Two Picks of Note:

Best Value Pick:

Johnny Manziel, QB (Round 1, Pick 22)
Experience: Sophomore (RS) | School: Texas A&M
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 207 lbs.

Analysis: When you potentially draft your franchise quarterback late in the first round, I think that's great value. Johnny Manziel is a top 10 talent, and it was definitely a smart idea for them to move a couple of spots and grab their guy.

Most Questionable Pick:

Justin Gilbert, CB (Round 1, Pick 8)
Experience: Senior | School: Oklahoma State
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 198 lbs.

Analysis: Moving back five spots in the draft and getting a first round pick in 2015 was big, but knowing that Josh Gordon would likely be out for the season (anticipated suspension), wouldn't it have made sense to grab Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans? Also, Gilbert may be the biggest gamble at cornerback this year. He's very talented, but needs work on his technique, and isn't physical.

Undrafted Free Agent Signings:

Most Notable

Isaiah Crowell*., RB
Experience: Junior | School: Alabama State
Height: 5-10 | Weight: 224 lbs.

Analysis: You could make a case that the most talented running back in this class is Isaiah Crowell. The former Georgia running back has second round talent, but went undrafted, likely because of some off the field stuff. Crowell should not only make the roster, but could compete for carries with Ben Tate and Terrance West.

Other Free Agent Signings

Willie Snead, WR, Ball State
Chandler Jones, WR, San Jose State
Ray Agnew, FB, Southern Illinois
Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama State
Blake Jackson, TE, Oklahoma State
Nickoe Whitey, S, Mississippi State
Alex Bazzie, LB, Marshall
Jason Hendricks, S, Pittsburgh
Greg Blair, ILB, Cincinnati
Calvin Barnett, DT, Oklahoma State
Jacques Washington, S, Iowa State
Anthony Dima, OL, Massachusetts
Christo Lisika, LB, South Nazarene
Corey Robinson, QB, Troy
K’Wuan Williams, DB, Pittsburgh
Taylor Gabriel, WR, Abilene Christian
Jonathan Krause, WR, Vanderbilt
Jacobbi McDaniel, DT, Florida State
Michael Philipp, OT, Oregon State
Kenny Shaw, WR, Florida State

Draft Review:

Analysis: I ranked Justin Gilbert as the number one corner in this draft. Even though I felt like this was a questionable pick, Gilbert is a ball-hawking play maker at the position, and they finally have a number two corner to pair with Joe Haden. Johnny Manziel has a very high ceiling, but many believe his floor is low. He's a hit or miss type of prospect, but I believe he's worth the gamble.

I wasn't a fan of the Joel Bitonio pick. I though he had a chance to sneak into the first round, but I had him as a third rounder. He's versatile enough to play any position on the offensive line, so it was a solid pick. I just feel like there were more talented prospects on the board.

Early in round 3, I thought it was a little early to select Christian Kirksey, but he will have a chance to earn the starting spot next to Karlos Dansby. He's a really good football player.

Terrance West may not be the perfect complement to Ben Tate, but the value was good, and chances are he ends up with more touches this season. Cleveland should have a strong running game this year.

You can never have enough corners, so nabbing Pierre Desir in the 4th round was a very good pick. Desir was expected to be a second round pick. The Browns now have a solid trio of corners.

The Verdict: The biggest problem with Cleveland's draft is the fact that they failed to draft a receiver. With Josh Gordon's season in doubt, not to mention Nate Burleson is out with an injury, it made absolutely no sense to not select a receiver. Other than that, it was a solid draft for the Browns, with one splash pick in the first round (Johnny Manziel). But, not drafting a receiver hurts their overall grade.

Overall Grade: C+