The Browns stay the Browns.
Just when you think the Cleveland Browns might have turned a corner as an organization, they go and make a mess of the NFL draft. While Justin Gilbert is one of the best cornerbacks in the draft, his selection at eighth overall was a major shock, especially since the Browns were the team making the pick.
The team tweeted out a welcome to its newest draft pick:
Gilbert isn't lacking in confidence, commenting after his selection that his success was predetermined at birth:
Gilbert: “I was born with the ability to make plays.” #Browns2014Draft— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) May 9, 2014
Thursday night has been an active one for the Browns. CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported that Cleveland traded out of the fourth overall pick and moved back to nine, receiving a first- and fourth-rounder in 2015 from the Buffalo Bills. The Browns then moved into eighth after a trade with the Minnesota Vikings:
Cleveland got a 1st and 4th in 2015 in that trade— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 9, 2014
Wow, Cleveland moves up one spot.— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 9, 2014
Although some were taken aback by the selection, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that the team had envisioned drafting a corner with its first pick, so nabbing a future first- and fourth-rounder next year is a cherry on top:
Justin Gilbert #CLEPick Draft plan was to get CB with ball skills to pair up opposite of Joe Haden. Ended up with that plus 2015 1st & 4th— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) May 9, 2014
Pro Football Focus pointed out how bad Buster Skrine was in 2013 to help illustrate why the Browns needed to upgrade at cornerback:
For the Browns, Buster Skrine was our 5th lowest graded CB in 2013 - easy to see why they went CB first.— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 9, 2014
Despite the fact that Gilbert undoubtedly fills what was a defensive void for Cleveland, many fans wondered if he was the best pick, especially with Johnny Manziel still on the board. Awful Announcing did bring up the fact that the team signed Vince Young earlier in the offseason:
Are we all forgetting that the Browns just signed Vince Young?— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) May 9, 2014
Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer was a bit disappointed to see all of Cleveland's wheeling and dealing ending up with the Oklahoma State star:
I admit, I was hoping for something else besides Justin Gilbert after 2 trades. He is a good CB...but....— Terry Pluto (@terrypluto) May 9, 2014
WWE pro wrestler and Cleveland native The Miz was also apoplectic at the team's decision:
Well I'm lost in what the @Browns are doing. Anyone else?— The Miz (@mikethemiz) May 9, 2014
The Plain Dealer's Zack Meisel is at least having some fun:
LOL— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) May 9, 2014
Between the draft and Miami Heat game, Matt Norlander of CBSSports.com thinks that Cleveland fans might want to stay away from the ESPN family of networks for the time being:
On ESPN, the Browns are doing … that. On ESPN2, LeBron is playing toward a three-peat. Apologies, Cleveland.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) May 9, 2014
Dennis Manoloff of The Plain Dealer thinks that Browns fans may be attacking the pick a bit too much. You do wonder if somebody else other than Cleveland drafted Gilbert at No. 8 and collected a first-rounder for next year in the process whether it would be lauded as a result:
Between Gilbert and Joe Haden, the Browns have a lethal one-two combo at cornerback. Stopping the opponent's passing game is becoming harder and harder to do, so Cleveland could be at a major advantage if Gilbert follows through on his massive potential.
But it wouldn't be a Cleveland Browns draft if the fans weren't up in arms.