On “Draft Day” 2014 all the hype and talk in Berea, Ohio was about one rookie selected by the Cleveland Browns, quarterback Johnny Manziel. But after 9 games into the 2014 season he is the least productive rookie to play in his class.
Manziel has thrown one incomplete pass, caught another pass that was nullified by a penalty and done nothing else but serve as Brian Hoyer’s back up, and that’s OK. Manziel hasn’t had to play because Brian Hoyer is playing above average football at the quarterback position by not making mistakes, connecting on timely throws and leading the Browns to a (6-3) record and into playoff contention for the first time since 2007 this late in the season.
While Manziel has had no impact on the Browns success this season, six other rookies either drafted or signed as free agents by G.M. Ray Farmer have made major contributions to the Browns best start since 1994.
Here’s what they’ve done:
1st round pick – CB – Justin Gilbert – Has started a number of games – 23 tackles – 5 passes defended
2nd round pick – LG – Joel Bitonio – Has started all 9 games and solidified the left side of the line.
3rd round pick – RB – Terrance West – Leads the team in rushing through 9 games with 396 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus he’s caught 7 passes for 39 yards and another score.
3rd round pick – LB – Christian Kirksey – 41 tackles – 2 sacks – 1 tackle for loss – 2 passes defended
Undrafted rookie – RB – Isaiah Crowell – 297 yards rushing with a 4.6 yards per carry average that leads the team. He also leads the squad with 5 rushing touchdowns.
Undrafted rookie – WR – Taylor Gabriel – 24 catches for 435 yards and 1 touchdown. He’s averaging 18.1 yards per catch. He also has 1 kickoff return for 30 yards.
When you combine all of the offensive numbers from the rookies, they have accounted for 1,192 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns. On defense, 64 tackles – 2 sacks – 1 tackle for loss – 7 passes defended. Not bad considering “Johnny Football”, the most celebrated rookie of the bunch has added nothing to this team through 9 games.