Richard Shiro/Associated Press
Original Pick: Trade down
Mulligan: Sammy Watkins, WR, Cleveland
Imagine if the Browns had taken Sammy Watkins just before news of Josh Gordon's year-long suspension broke. It would have been a big letdown for Cleveland fans, but at least the Browns would have mitigated the damage.
Instead, Cleveland took exactly zero receivers in the draft, eschewing what has become a big position of need in order to stick to their draft board. According to Vic Carucci of ClevelandBrowns.com, general manager Ray Farmer preached patience following the draft:
“I would tell the fans that are in panic mode because we didn’t draft a wide receiver that patience really tells the tale,” Farmer told reporters during a wrap-up news conference at the end of the draft.
That isn’t to say that Farmer saw no help in what was widely viewed as an exceptionally talented draft class of wide receivers. He recognized that that position, in accordance with most projections, accounted for five first-round choices.
It’s just that the Browns, based on their definition of need and value, were convinced they were better off making the choices they made at other positions, particularly once the draft entered its second day.
“When, in our opinion, the most talented of that (receiver) group was surpassed, we weren’t in a position to take the top-rated guys we had on our board; those guys had already been drafted,” he said. “To that end, we took the players that we thought best helped our football team at different positions.”
That may be fine and dandy, but the Browns are headlining Greg Little and Andrew Hawkins at receiver right now. They should have nabbed one receiver, and Watkins fits that bill here.