Fifth-year options a sad reminder of Browns’ 2014 first-round picks

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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.

32 responses to “Fifth-year options a sad reminder of Browns’ 2014 first-round picks

  1. Former GM Rey Farmer never even vetted Gilbert before drafting him. He has love of football issues that could have been easily identified with a sit down with him. Thanks Rey.

  2. While totally accurate, it might be prudent to also state that those picks were made by a previous front office, the great Ray Farmer, who is no longer a GM elsewhere in the league either. Clearly the new regime is making a better effort in trying to improve this team. While their picks from last year have not panned out on the field as of yet, they have now had a full year to mesh ideas and perhaps put together a better draft. Time will tell.

  3. This is from
    BOTTOM LINE The most talented cover corner in this year’s draft class, Gilbert has size, speed and flexibility to blanket receivers at the next level. Also brings impact ability as a kick returner. Is capable of stepping into the starting lineup from Day 1 and playing at a high level if he adheres to a professional approach to the craft. Could stand to improve in run support.

    Gilbert was not a bad pick, although some thought he was picked too high. Sometimes the guy just isn’t as good as he’s cracked up to be. Manziel; well that was a bad pick. I’m convinced Haslem called that one and hopefully now knows to keep his mouth shut.

  4. As a Steelers fan, I do have to say it not fun anyone seeing the ineptitude that is the browns. They have wasted pick upon pick especially in the first round where those picks are extremely valuable.

    I mean, you would have to be a crazy person to look at Johnny Manziel and say to yourself, ” this guy is a franchise QB.” There was nothing he did in college that proved he was worthy of that moniker, “Franchise QB.” Or the lack of home work done on Gilbert that revealed the yes, this young man is talented but has a huge problem with Time Management. Or if they did know that, then why not put a structure in place to help him.

    This article says it all, if you want to know why some bad teams remain bad, just look at the way their organization is structured and how they waste their draft picks.

  5. I’m not a Browns fan but I don’t see the point. The Browns have a different coaching staff and front office from 2014. Maybe they won’t improve, maybe they will, but it won’t have anything to do with the guys who made bad choices in 2014.

  6. I honestly thought Gilbert would have been a solid CB. He earned a mulligan in Cleveland with that inept franchise but when he couldn’t at least maintain a roster spot with Pittsburgh who severely needed secondary help, the 1st round bust title was officially earned.

    The “dual threat” quarterback distinction is no longer a compliment. Back in the day when defenses were primarily 4-3 scheme and players didn’t have track down speed to catch a fast QB it was an elite skill (Steve Young, Randall Cunningham, Fran Tarkenton, Steve McNair, etc.). Current 3-4 and zone schemes can eliminate dual threat QB’s (RG3, Kapernick, Vick, Pryor, Tebow) by forcing them to stay in the pocket and make accurate passes. The only current QB’s that are successful running/throwing use there legs when WR’s are covered or the play breaks down (Rodgers, Wilson, Newton, etc.)

  7. The Browns didn’t meet with Gilbert at the Combine, go to his pro day, or bring him in for a visit. Farmer went and did a private workout with him days before the draft. On draft night, 15 minutes into the draft, the Browns trade back from 4 to 8 to let Buffalo take Sammy Watkins. It’s at this point Farmer says they should take Gilbert; it was the first time Pettine and Farmer had ever discussed drafting Gilbert. Pettine then, understandably, voiced his concerns and Farmer just said ”trust me.”

    “I think a lot would have been different had we taken somebody else there,” Pettine said.

    Couldn’t make this up if I tried.

  8. Yeah GM Ray Farmer totally screwed the Browns future in that 2014 draft.

    Just as Banner & Lombardi screwed the Browns future in the 2013 draft (NONE still on roster, 1st pick Mingo a backup on the Colts now).

    And just as Heckert screwed the Browns future in 2012 & 2011 with Richardson & Weeden, and Phil Taylor, Jabal Sheard & Greg Little.

  9. .
    In the redraft the Browns took Odell Beckham and Derek Carr who were both on the board when Cleveland chose.

  10. The same GM, Ray Farmer, also knew football better than Kyle Shananhan and made sure to (allegedly) text him with that knowledge during the game.

  11. I was thinking about this the other day. Cleveland failed on both of 1st rounders a few years ago. Manziel probably had red flags that you could question the Browns, but Gilbert seemed to be like a good prospect and it’s one of things where the player probably didn’t love the game that much.

  12. Gilbert was rated the top cornerback in the draft that year. The problem was GM Ray Farmer went along with everyone elses scouting report and never even met the kid before drafting him. It’s believed that owner Haslam influenced the Manziel pick to hype the franchise. What a cluster that was.

  13. Part of the problem is that whoever they drafted joined a train-wreck of a team with a losing mentality and no structure or plan to develop players or help them succeed.

    If Cleveland had drafted Beckham and Carr they’d have both been busts there too.

    Move the team, change the name, ditch the hideous colors and you have a chance (see Baltimore Ravens).

  14. Fortunately, the Browns have accumulated lots of draft picks to recoup from these mistakes.

  15. “As a Steelers fan, I do have to say it not fun anyone seeing the ineptitude that is the browns. They have wasted pick upon pick especially in the first round where those picks are extremely valuable.”

    What was your front office excuse when they signed him after the Browns sent him to the streets?

  16. That was back in 2014. THIS is our year. Myles Garrett at 1 and Mitch Trubisky at 12 will set us up for 10 years!

    (As a total homer Browns fan, even I have trouble believing this crap anymore.)

  17. They missed out on alot of players that have been exponentially better than Gilbert.

    Taylor Lewan(OL is the foundation of a good team, look at Dallas)
    Aaron Donald
    Kyle Fuller
    Jason Verett
    Zach Martin
    Bradley Roby(fell because of attitude and Jarred Abredaris torched him his final season)

  18. Has anyone ever watched Gilbert’s college highlights? Complete garbage for a Corner Back. Missed tackles and getting burnt. The interceptions he did get were all tip drills.

  19. Maybe Belichick will want a new challenge and just go back to finish what he started in Cleveland. If he does, I become a Brownies fan.

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