Published May 13, 2014
1 (8) - Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State; 1 (22) - Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M; 2 (35) - Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada; 3 (71) - Christian Kirksey, OLB, Iowa; 3 (94) - Terrance West, RB, Towson; 4 (127) Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
Top Picks Analysis: Trader Ray certainly made his money on draft weekend.
First-year Browns general manager Ray Farmer moved up and down three different times in the opening round, eventually snaring Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, as well as a 2015 first-round pick from Buffalo.
The good news is that Gilbert could be he best cornerback in the draft and should team with Joe Haden to give the Browns an impressive presence on the edges of their defense, while Manziel could be the answer at the game's most important position and is certainly an exciting face for the franchise.
The bad news is that by trading out of the No. 4 spot Farmer passed up on two of the four real blue-chip prospects in the is draft -- Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins and Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack -- and the team is also on the verge of losing superstar receiver Josh Gordon for the entire 2014 season due to a drug suspension.
Offensive lineman Joel Bitonio of Nevada was the team's second-round pick and could solidify the right guard position or kick out to right tackle eventually.
A pair of third-rounders -- inside linebacker Christian Kirksey of Iowa and running back Terrance West -- should also be contributors.
Questionable Calls: Passing on Watkins when Cleveland.com reported that several members of the organization knew about Gordon's impending suspension for at least a week borders on malpractice. The fact that Cleveland went through the entire draft -- perhaps the deepest WR draft in 20 years -- without taking a receiver is malpractice.
"I would tell the fans that are in panic mode because we didn't draft a wide receiver is that patience really tells the tale," Farmer said. "There are plenty of opportunities for us to address what everyone would believe is a need but in our opinion, there is plenty of opportunity to add players, to change the roster and to really make a difference."
Summary: Farmer deserves plenty of credit for pilfering the Bills for what could be a top-10 pick next year and if Manziel solidifies the QB position, this draft will be judged a success no matter what. That said, revisionist history can't mask the poor decision-making Farmer and the Browns exhibited in the wake of the Gordon news.
FINAL GRADE: C+
Undrafted rookie free agent signings: WR Willie Snead, Ball State; WR Chandler Jones, San Jose State; WR Kenny Shaw, Florida State; FB Ray Agnew, Southern Illinois; QB Connor Shaw, South Carolina; LB Carlo Calabrese, Notre Dame; RB Isaiah Crowell, Alabama State; TE Blake Jackson, Oklahoma State; QB Corey Robinson, Troy; LB Christo Lisika, South Nazarene; OL Anthony Dima, UMass; DL Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State; S Jacques Washington, Iowa State; LB Greg Blair, Cincinnati; S Jason Hendricks, Pittsburgh; LB Alex Bazzie, Marshall; S Nickoe Whitey, Mississippi State; WR Jonathan Krause, Vanderbilt; OT Michael Philipp, Oregon State; DT Jacobbi McDaniel, Florida State; DB K'Wuan Williams, Pittsburgh; WR Gerald Ford, Valdosta State; WR Taylor Gabriel, Abilene Christian; S Robert Nelson, Arizona State