Breaking Down the Impact of 2014 NFL Draft-Day Player Trades

Dan GriffinContributor IIIMay 17, 2014

Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) breaks up a pass for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson (13) but is called for pass interference in the first quarter of an NFL football game Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
David Richard/Associated Press

Steve Johnson, Wide ReceiverTraded from Buffalo Bills to San Francisco 49ers

Over the course of his career, Johnson has become famous for his big-play ability as well as his sometimes controversial antics. Case in point:

However, his talent is undeniable. He had a breakout year in 2010, posting 1,074 yards and 10 touchdowns. He became the primary receiving threat for the Bills, posting three 1,000-yard seasons and 26 touchdowns over the past four years. Johnson's time in Buffalo came to an end following the acquisitions of Mike Williams from Tampa Bay and Sammy Watkins in the draft.

Buffalo traded the polarizing wide receiver to the 49ers for a 2015 conditional fourth-round pick. The 49ers were in the market for a wide receiver to complement Michael Crabtree, despite the re-signing of Anquan Boldin. Johnson comes in and makes an already stacked 49ers team even more so.

Johnson brings an explosive run-after-the-catch ability to the Niners offense, a trait that can be seen below numerous times, especially at about the 2:27 mark. By acquiring Johnson, it will allow the 33-year-old Boldin to kick into the slot position, where he excels over the middle and on third down. 

One thing that was probably in the minds of the 49ers execs when making this deal was how Johnson played against the Seahawks in 2012. Despite losing 50-17, Johnson posted eight receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown against the vaunted "Legion of Boom."

With Johnson now in the mix, the 49ers receiver corps is the best it has been in years. Johnson was brought in to help attack the Seattle secondary that has thinned out a bit during the offseason. The 49ers have been on the brink of a Super Bowl title three years in a row, and Johnson could be the last little push they need.  


Bryce Brown, Running BackTraded from Philadelphia Eagles to Buffalo Bills

The Bills were at the center of many trades during the draft process. They made headlines by trading up for Watkins in the first round and then again trading Johnson to the 49ers. The last major move they made was trading a conditional fourth-round pick for the Eagles second-leading rusher from last year, Bryce Brown. 

Brown, a seventh-round pick in 2012, spent his tenure as LeSean McCoy's backup, totaling 878 yards on 190 carries and six touchdowns. The Eagles decided to trade him as he was going to have trouble getting carries in a crowded backfield consisting of McCoy, Darren Sproles and Chris Polk. He has shown flashes of star potential in his limited action, which explains why the Bills were willing to give up what could become a third-round pick for him.

As you can see below, Brown has a good combination of speed, elusiveness and toughness. He has a knack for breaking tackles and gaining yards after contact. He will join an already explosive backfield of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. Last year, the two backs combined for over 1,800 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. 

Brown likely was brought in as an insurance policy in case either Spiller or Jackson get injured. Brown also figures to be Jackson's eventual replacement as the eight-year pro enters the 2014 season at the ripe age of 33. If Jackson shows any signs of slowing down, Brown may play an even more prominent role, something his former teammate McCoy foresees happening:

If Brown can more consistently flash the ability he does in the video above, he and Spiller look to be a dangerous combo for the Bills for years to come. Buffalo has all the pieces in place now to have a strong core of players, the likes of which they haven't seen since their dominance in the early 1990s. With the Patriots run of dominance expected to take a hit once Tom Brady retires, Buffalo looks to be in a good position to take the reins.