Bleacher Report – (B+)

All the offseason tumult settled down for the Cleveland Browns, and Ray Farmer was left sitting in the general manager’s seat when the dust settled. He had plenty of work to do if he was going to turn the Browns from perennial pariah to contender anytime soon. He got off to a hot start in the first round.

The Browns made a great move to trade down, nabbing future first- and fourth-round picks from the Buffalo Bills to move down five spots. Then they pulled a bit of a head-scratcher to move up one spot and take cornerback Justin Gilbert out of Oklahoma State when it was unlikely the Minnesota Vikings would have selected him. Of course, the big news—at least out of the first day of the draft—was Farmer’s move to nab former Aggie Johnny Manziel, the most electrifying and polarizing quarterback in the draft.

The Browns announced season-ticket sales soared after the first round, which is proof positive that some players do sell tickets. The rest of the draft, however, was no picnic.

Just before the second round started, bombshell news broke that Josh Gordon is facing a yearlong suspension, per T.J. Quinn and Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN.com. Speculation immediately sprung up that Cleveland would take a receiver or two. Instead, Farmer avoided the position altogether.

Outside of snagging talented small-school cornerback Pierre Desir out of Lindenwood, the rest of the draft was a letdown for Farmer and Browns fans.


SI.Com – (B+)

The first day of the draft may have been among the most exciting stretches in franchise history, what with a trade down and then two trades up, netting the Browns CB Justin Gilbert and QB Johnny Manziel. There was talent found after that, as well, namely versatile OL Joel Bitonio and CB Pierre Desir — the latter a remarkable value at No. 127 overall. RB Terrance West is a sleeper. But Desir was Cleveland’s final pick, and there was nary a receiver to be found among the previous five choices.


SBNation.com (B-)

The Browns were the story of the first day of the draft, trading three times in the first round. The Gilbert selection was the pick head coach Mike Pettine wanted. Manziel was likely the one general manager Ray Farmer and owner Jimmy Haslam wanted. Those picks give Cleveland some identity. But the Browns needed a wide receiver even before the news about Josh Gordon came out. To pass on the position was puzzling. There were some very good options when Kirksey was the pick in the third round. West is a perfect backup for Ben Tate. He wins with power running and vision. Desir has upside and will push Buster Skrine.

CBSSports.com (B-)

I loved the move to go up and get Johnny Manziel in the first, but why pass on receiver with the Josh Gordon situation? I don’t get that at all. They took a corner with their first first-round pick Justin Gilbert instead of a receiver. That drops the grade for me. They did get a 2015 first-round pick from Buffalo.


YahooSports.com (A)

Yahoo Sports Browns 2014 Draft


WalterFootball.com (C+)

Goals Entering the 2014 NFL Draft: The Browns haven’t made the playoffs since the 2002 season. They also haven’t had a franchise quarterback since their franchise reentered the NFL in 1999. It’s time for that to change. They have to find a signal-caller who can transform them into a perennial playoff contender. Otherwise, they need to find another offensive play-maker, upgrade the offensive line and bolster a couple of positions on the defense.

2014 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Cleveland’s draft is very difficult to grade. On one hand, the Johnny Manziel selection was excellent. No one would have been too upset if the team had taken him at No. 4, but being able to secure him with the second choice was brilliant. The Browns sold 2,000 season tickets within the first 48 hours, and their franchise was in the national discussion for the first time in more than a decade. Manziel is the play-making superstar Cleveland desperately needed.

On the other hand, what the hell are the Browns going to do at receiver in the wake of Josh Gordon’s impending suspension? They shouldn’t have taken Sammy Watkins at No. 4 because they were able to obtain a 2015 first-round choice in the process – another terrific move – but why not grab Marqise Lee at No. 35? How about moving up from No. 71 to obtain Allen Robinson, Davante Adams or Jordan Matthews? Or, what about Martavis Bryant, Donte Moncrief, Cody Latimer or Paul Richardson at other junctures? It’s impossible that the Browns didn’t like a single wideout in this loaded class. Other teams took receivers, so why didn’t Cleveland, considering the circumstances?

Again, this is a tough grade. I was ready to give the Browns an “A” after the first day, but they bombed the rest of the process. They found some nice players like Terrence West and Pierre Desir, but they’ve ensured that their rookie signal-caller will struggle because he won’t have anyone to throw to.

Filed under Feature Articles


  1. Pete DelMonico says:


  2. Sam says:

    Tell all these so-called ‘pundits’ to stop wagging their tails. Did they not all predict that the Browns will not select Johnny Football? Yes, the loss of JG is a blow and no one in the draft can replace him. Is this insurmountable? No. Can the Browns minimize the impact? Yes. GM Ray Farmer has shown his propensity to be gutsy and I think, in the final analysis, he will come up with a solution that we can be pleased with. He has shown me more in one day than all other Browns GMs put together

  3. Mark says:

    Mark Maske of the Wash. Post gave them an A. The rest of the AFC North all received Bs.

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