Eyebrows were raised on draft night when the Cleveland Browns traded out of the number four spot to move down three spots and take Oklahoma State corner Justin Gilbert. While the Browns garnered an athletic defensive back and return specialist, they passed on the electrifying skills of wide receiver Sammy Watkins out of Clemson.
Now with Josh Gordon’s year-long suspension official, the move is even more dumb-founding. Why pass up on the special talents of Watkins for a corner who was getting mixed reviews? It’s clear the Browns graded Gilbert higher than most other NFL teams. The best part of the deal is Cleveland picked up Buffalo’s first round pick next year which could be a top-ten selection.
General Manager Ray Farmer and the Browns hierarchy had to believe the NFL would reduce Gordon’s season long suspension. They had to be even more sure of a reduction when Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was only suspended two games for battering his girl-friend. But, the collective bargaining agreement makes it clear, a third drug violation shall result in a year-long suspension.
Now the Browns are left without a number one target at wide receiver as they try to nurse Johnny Manziel into the starting line-up.
Gilbert may turn out to be a shut-down corner and a future star. But, having Watkins in the fold, especially with the NFL’s new secondary contact rules, certainly makes more sense. Most analysts are focusing on when Johnny Manziel will be given the starting reigns. The question to ask is wouldn’t it have been easier to bring Manziel along with a can’t miss mark in Watkins ?
The Browns, forever perplexing