2014 Draft Day: Round One Review
By Cody Roche
This was a very interesting draft, outside of the first two picks. I don’t think many people saw it falling the way that it did, with Blake Bortles going to the Jaguars. It seems like a great fit albeit a bit shocking Bortles went before Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins. The Dolphins grabbed Ja’Waun James at No. 19, which was also a shock.
However, the most interesting development was the masterful manipulation by the Browns GM Ray Farmer.
With the fourth overall pick, the Browns could’ve drafted Sammy Watkins, Jake Matthews or a slew of other highly touted prospects. Instead, they chose to trade the pick to the Bills, who moved up to get Watkins. By doing this trade, the Browns took the Bills' first-round pick next year. Judging from the Bills’ recent fortunes, this could easily be a top 10 pick in 2015.
The Browns then decided to swap their newly acquired pick (No. 9) with the Vikings, moving up to No. 8 and only parting with a fifth-round pick in the process. They then selected Justin Gilbert, who they felt was the best cornerback in the draft. The Browns have a very solid defense on paper, with Gilbert teaming up with the talented Joe Haden and newly signed Donte Whitner.
With one more pick at No. 26 and a need at quarterback, the Browns decided they weren’t done trading and moved up to No. 22 in a trade with the Eagles to select Johnny Manziel. Despite all of the flaws that Manziel has, he offers the Browns' fan-base something they’ve been missing for years: hope.
Manziel is polarizing with his celebrity status, but he will bring attention to a franchise that has become a punch-line of late. Coming into a talented offense that features Josh Gordan, Jordan Cameron and Ben Tate, Manziel could find quick success playing with Cleveland’s revamped defense under new head coach Mike Pettine.
Credit must be given to Farmer for his brave trading, as well as his patience in waiting for the player he sees as his franchise quarterback. At the end of the day, Farmer collected a lockdown corner, his quarterback of the future and a 2015 first-round pick from a habitually lousy team. It truly was a Kevin Costner "Draft Day" for the Browns.