The 2014 NFL Draft had its share of surprises. The sense of urgency for some teams was very evident for a few teams. There were two things that stood out to me as surprises. No one would have expected the Buffalo Bills to be in position to select Sammy Watkins. Their trade partner, the Cleveland Browns were aggressive and came away with two top ten prospects.
Bills General Manager Doug Whaley knew that they had to make a splash. Their President & CEO Ross Brandon touched on that at their press conference. “We went into this draft saying we were going to be bold. Sammy was very high on our board and we feel he can contribute immediately.”
They have a young quarterback in EJ Manuel. Pairing him up with a receiver like Watkins will make things a bit easier for Manuel. Whaley was quick to point out what they got in Watkins when he said, “Dynamic playmaker. Sammy is an explosive guy. He can get in and out of his cuts. He’ll be able to separate with his quickness and burst. We think this guy is going to get us to the playoffs.”
The need for another weapon to help Manuel is what drove them to make the trade. Whaley cited the way Watkins attacks the ball and is open even when he’s covered as a way for him to be a target for Manuel. They gave up next year’s first round pick along with next year’s fifth round pick in order to get Watkins so things will need to work out quickly on Buffalo.
The Browns capitalized on the Bills desire for Watkins. They made another by moving up one spot from the ninth pick that they acquired from Buffalo. It cost them the 145th pick to switch with the Minnesota Vikings. With that pick, they selected Justin Gilbert from Oklahoma State.
Gilbert is considered to be one of the best cornerbacks in this draft. He had a feeling that he would get selected by the Browns. Gilbert said that the Browns had a meeting with him the day before he left to go to New York City. He said that kind of gave it away.
The Browns made the right move on grabbing Gilbert. He’s looking forward to getting the chance to work alongside Joe Haden. Haden had a lot of good things to say about Gilbert when he watched him at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine.
Gilbert appreciated the endorsement. “This is a dream come true. I became friends with him not too long ago and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from him. We are going to turn it around. It starts with defense. We will continue to build and work for it.”
The Browns made their third trade in the first round when they sent picks 26 and 83 to the Philadelphia Eagles for their 22nd pick. They selected Johnny Manziel with the 22nd pick.
The Browns needed a jolt and Manziel will bring energy to that franchise. The buzz that he created at Radio City Music Hall was proof. He’s a dynamic quarterback that can push the ball down field very well. He is a perfect match for the vertical ability that Josh Gordon brings also.
Manziel spoke about the changes he will need to make in the NFL and what he’ll bring to Cleveland. “I know moving forward I need to put in the time to be the best player that I can be. I’m competitive and I want a guy (Brian Hoyer) who’s competitive. I wouldn’t expect anything less. I will just play with the weather at hand and deal with it. I can play way bigger than 5-11 and you don’t have to be a certain height to be successful.”
The best part of his press conference was when he said that the bigger the stage brings more energy and more passion out of him. He is exactly what the Browns franchise and their franchise brings. He feels that when the lights come on, it’s time to go play. The Browns already sold 15,000 tickets.
The Bills and Browns made some aggressive moved to improve their teams. They both secured some major pieces that will help them make strides towards the playoffs.
More stories you might like
One Response to “First Round Suprise”