There are two first-round draft picks from 2014 who aren’t in the NFL right now, and they’re the two players picked by the Browns.
That was something we noticed when we put together the fifth-year option tracker for the NFL draft class of 2014: Of the 32 players chosen, 30 are still in the league, heading into their fourth NFL seasons. Only Justin Gilbert and Johnny Manziel are not active NFL players.
Gilbert was selected eighth overall and Manziel was selected 22nd overall. Both were disappointments both on and off the field and both have been released by the Browns. Gilbert caught on with the Steelers last year but has since been cut by them, and Manziel hasn’t signed anywhere. Other than Gilbert and Manziel, every player chosen in the Top 50 in 2014 is still in the NFL.
Not every pick that year was a disaster for the Browns: Second-round pick Joel Bitonio is a starting guard who signed a five-year contract extension this year. And third-round pick Christian Kirksey started all 16 games at linebacker last year. But Gilbert and Manziel were the two worst players chosen in the first round of the 2014 draft, and they both went to Cleveland. Picks like those are why bad teams stay bad.